Our Director Reflects on 2017

2017 was a year of new openings and partnerships, abundant community engagement and tons of plastic bags. New momentum is building here at Artichoke Dance Company, informing our future growth. We are committed, more than ever, to creating experiences that entertain, engage and empower.

Our work surrounding environmental issues targeted a local superfund site, plastic bag legislation in New York, and water quality issues. Our 2017 Global Water Dances event focused on the Gowanus Canal, a toxic superfund site. Two area elementary schools, a recreational boating club, three environmental organizations and two government agencies were involved with us in making this work a reality, which was covered by both News12 and Channel 11 news.

A new collaboration with Brooklyn community members birthed Culture Club, a performing arts programming series that places artists from different cultures on the same stage and facilitates discussions among audience members to build bridges. Culture Club’s formative focus on Muslim and Jewish communities was focused on combatting Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism surfacing here early this year. Culture Club is a part of GetOrganizedBK, a post-election mobilizing effort. We are thrilled to be a host to this growing cultural movement.

As an Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellow, I continue my work with several colleagues on formulating best practices in community engagement in the arts. Together, we’ll be presenting a new model for engagement the upcoming conference in January. I’ll also be speaking on a panel about merging activist practices and the arts. This year I was also honored to speak about sustainability in the arts at the Dance/USA conference and on eco-arts practices at the Arts and Climate Change Incubator. This fall I created a new solo, Precipice, for the launch event of Climate Change Theatre Action, a series of performances leading up to the COP23 climate conference. This marked a personal hurdle, as I hadn’t danced in public since my total hip replacement last year. Precipice, pictured above, followed suit with other works featuring a plastic bag costume and set, my response to New York’s inability to implement a plastic bag fee law to date.  

This year we increased our free programming, offering 16 open community workshops and 8 free public performances. As our commitment to engaging communities in the arts grows, so does our budgetary need. 25% of our annual income comes from individual donations.

Please consider supporting our work in the community, the studio, and in performance. Now more than ever we need collective images of support and opportunities of community involvement like those created by Artichoke Dance.

Sending you peace, love, strength and conviction.

Lynn Neuman