Joyce Foundation Presents Artists As Connectors: Building Racial Solidarities in the Twin Cities

In the wake of a brutal and brutalizing year of violence, pandemic, and racial injustice, how can the arts and artists invoke racial solidarities, inspire dialogue and healing, and foster collective acts of joy, grief, and resistance?

The Joyce Foundation invites you to explore this question with them on Wednesday, July 7, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. CST through a virtual panel entitled Artists as Connectors: Building Racial Solidarities in the Twin Cities.

Spanning dance, theater, literary, and multidisciplinary arts practices, the panelists will discuss current perspectives and projects that seek to catalyze connections within and across communities of color. Moderated by Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director for Penumbra Theatre Company, the panel will feature four Twin Cities-based artists and past recipients of the Joyce Foundation’s annual Joyce Awards including Ananya Chatterjea, Marlina Gonzalez, Seitu Ken Jones and Bryan Thao Worra.

This event is presented in partnership with The Jerome Foundation, which seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by early career/emerging artists.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be hosted on Zoom. Real-time captioning in English will be available. A link to join will be emailed to those who register prior to the event.

SARAH BELLAMY is Artistic Director for Penumbra Theatre Company. She has designed several programs that engage patrons in critical thinking, dialogue, and action around issues of race and social justice, including Penumbra’s RACE Workshop and the Summer Institute, a leadership development program for teens to practice art for social change. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Bellamy also holds an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. She has taught at Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and served as Visiting Professor of Theatre and Culture at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Bellamy is a leading facilitator around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion and has led coalition building efforts to address inequities in philanthropy and theatre. She serves on the Board of Directors for Theatre Communications Group, The Jerome Foundation, and is a 2015 Bush Fellow. In 2016, as Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre, she received a Joyce Award to commission Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Urzuri to stage, GIRL Shakes Loose Her Skin.

ANANYA CHATTERJEA is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer of Ananya Dance Theater. She is a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow, a 2012 & 2021 McKnight Choreography Fellow, a 2018 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow, and a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. Her work has toured to the Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival (Palestine), Aavejak Avaaz Festival (Delhi), Dance Place (Washington DC), Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan), Addis Ababa, (2015), Harare International Dance Festival, Zimbabwe (2013), New Waves Institute of Dance and Performance, Trinidad (2012), and other national and international venues. Ananya is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique. She received a 2016 Joyce Award to develop and stage a new production called “Horidraa” in collaboration with The O’Shaughnessy, at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

MARLINA GONZALEZ is a multi-disciplinary arts, theater & media curator, writer, producer who has created and produced numerous international film festivals, multidisciplinary art exhibits and performances for the Walker Art Center, the former Intermedia Arts, Pangea World Theater, University of Minnesota Katherine E. Nash Gallery, among others. She has been part of The National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation and presenter for Asian American Directors in Conversation and Practice with the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists in 2021. As Community Engagement Specialist for Twin Cities PBS, she produced participatory online events and community convenings for Stories From Asian America. In 2012, through a Joyce Foundation-supported commission with Pangea World Theater and Teatro Del Pueblo, Marlina wrote Isla Tuliro, a 3-Act allegorical play about language and colonialism, written in Tagalog, English and Spanish.

SEITU KEN JONES is a multidisciplinary artist, advocate and maker based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Working between the arts and public spheres, Jones channels the spirit of radical social movements into experiences that foster critical conversations and nurture more just and vibrant communities from the soil up. In his public art and events, Jones pushes beyond traditional art spaces to reach people in the context of their lives and communities. In 2013, Jones co-founded Frogtown Farm, a five-acre urban farm in a St. Paul city park created with and for neighborhood residents. Jones holds a BS degree in Landscape Design and a MLS in Environmental History from the University of Minnesota. In 2013, Jones received a Joyce Award to develop CREATE: The Community Meal, a dinner for 2,000 people at a table a half a mile long that focused on access to healthy food. “My work is a testament of radical love for our Beloved Community — the local community, our ancestral community, and the community of innate humanity.”

BRYAN THAO WORRA is the Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate and the author of 10+ books. He received a 2019 Joyce Award with the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota to present a historic exhibition of multi-generational stories of the Lao refugee community to mark the 45th anniversary of migrating to Minnesota. He holds over 20 national and international awards for his writing and community leadership. He has presented at the Smithsonian and the London Summer Games on the role of the imagination and memory in creative writing as a poet and prose writer, focusing on the creative journeys of Southeast Asians.

About the Joyce Awards

The Joyce Awards is the only regional program dedicated to supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities. Since its inception in 2003, the competition has awarded more than $3.7 million to commission 72 new works and collaborations between emerging and mid-career artists and cultural organizations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Each award of $75,000 supports an artist in the creation and production of a new work and provides the commissioning organization with the resources needed to engage potential audiences, new partners, and their surrounding communities at large. To learn more about the Joyce Awards and see a list of past winners, click here.

About the Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin). The Foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in five areas: Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, Democracy, and Culture.

About the Jerome Foundation

The Jerome Foundation was founded in 1964 by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972). In honoring his legacy, it awards multi-year grants to vocational artists in all disciplines in Minnesota and New York City at early stages in their careers and to those nonprofit arts organizations that serve, develop and/ or present such artists (whether through publication, exhibition, performance or screening). The Foundation centers its grantmaking and its own practice in three core values of humility, innovation/risk, and diversity.

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