QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP (http://queerartmentorship.org/), the multi-disciplinary, inter-generational arts program that pairs and supports mentorship between emerging and established queer artists in NYC, has announced its third round of Fellows.
Founded in 2011 by filmmaker Ira Sachs and Pilobolus Co-Executive Director Lily Binns, the program has quickly established itself as a core nucleus of conversation and development for queer artists in the NYC-area and beyond. QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP is one of several ongoing programs run by the larger Queer/Art organization that also includes the popular QUEER/ART/FILM series in both NYC and Los Angeles.
QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP was founded on the belief that the more vibrant and supported the queer artistic community is, the more porous its boundaries will become, thereby cultivating superior artistry and sustainable creative careers. Honoring the differences between the generations within the queer artistic community and the diversity of choices, values, esthetics, and opportunities in artists’ lives, the program supports a rich communion, working against a natural segregation between generations and disciplines. Its goal is to build an interconnected web of queer artists of all generations and mediums who know each other and each other’s work. Queer/Art/Mentorship was created to support artists in the process of creating this community.
The program is a year in length. It is largely driven by the unique character of each of the mentor/fellow pairs according to their respective needs and habits of communication, although once-a-month meeting commitments will be suggested. The program coordinators engage in an ongoing dialogue with the mentors and fellows in an effort to ensure that the program best serve its participants.
The entire group of mentor/fellow pairs will also convene for three short meetings throughout the cycle. The goal of the limited group-wide meetings is to encourage dialogues between all levels of participants and between all disciplines. It has been shown in a variety of fields that implement mentor programs that the mentor-to-mentor dialogue that occurs in mentor programs is as significant to the program’s success in developing the field as any that occurs directly between mentor and mentee.
Fellows apply to QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP with a specific project that they would like to undertake during the course of the mentorship. Projects may be in-progress, and they do not need to be “finished” by the end of the program. Proposing a project is a way to introduce oneself to potential mentors, and working on that project in dialogue with a mentor is a way to focus the development of the relationship. Keeping Queer/Art/Mentorship project-based will also provide a manner by which to assess, and modify if necessary, the program’s long-term effectiveness in facilitating and supporting the actual creation of new work.
Queer/Art/Mentorship is an outgrowth of the Queer/Art/Film series presented monthly at the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan. Both were inspired by the lack of support for queer content in mass media, the absence of mentors of who would have been in the generation most strongly affected by AIDS, and the dearth of examples of sustainable alternative careers.
Queer/Art/Mentorship does not expect any kind of specific content in terms of artists’ work or how queerness manifests within and around it, but it gives space and support for conversations about what it means to generate and curate queer work in New York City and America. The program aims to give a sense of the value of queer work and cultivate a collection of voices that amplify the queer artistic experience. As New York City is a locus of creative capital in the US and abroad, the work encouraged by the program will radiate out and impact the broader culture as well.
Mentorship is for professionally established, New York-based, mid- to advanced-career artists who work within at least one of the six disciplines of literary, film, performing, visual, music, and curatorial arts. Participation in mentorship is by invitation.
The program is for artists who are (1) self-identified queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender New York City-based (2) early-career and professionally focused, with a body of work already behind them (3) Artists must be working at a generative level within at least one of the following disciplines (3) literary (writers of fiction, poetry, nonfiction) (4) film (screenwriters and directors) (5) performing arts (performance artists, playwrights, directors, choreographers) (6) visual (visual artists of all kinds) (7) Curatorial arts (using any kind of medium—e.g. books, festivals, exhibits, etc. and (8) Fellows must apply to Queer/Art/Mentorship with a specific project that they would like to undertake during the course of the mentorship.
Each Fellow accepted has been paired with an established New York-based artist within their field for a yearlong mentorship. The relationship that develops aims to support the artistic and professional practice of the Fellow, as well as to develop community-wide conversations about what it means to generate and curate queer work in New York City and America.
Collectively, those selected represent a snapshot of a new generation of openly queer artists making work today. The Fellows chosen in five artistic disciplines are ELLA BOUREAU, XEŇA SEMJONOVÁ and COLIN SELF & LAIN KAY in Performance; NICOLE GOODWIN and PETER KNEGT in Literary; SEYI ADEBANJO and NATALIA LEITE in Film; TROY MICHIE and BRIDGET DE GIRSIGNY in Visual Arts; and RICK HERRON in Curatorial.
The Fellows were selected after a two-month application and review process from over 100 applicants in all fields. The consistent volume of applicants received during the three years of the program speaks to the role Queer/Art/Mentorship has quickly taken in the arts community, as well as to the need of such programs in face of the continued lack of traditional institutional and economic support for the creation of queer work.
THE QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP FELLOWSHIP: 2013-2014 ARTISTS DESCRIPTIONS and MENTOR PAIRING
SEYI ADEBANJO, is a Queer, gender-non-conforming, Nigerian artist living in the South Bronx. As a media artist Seyi raises awareness around social issues through digital video, multimedia photography and writings. Seyi’s work is the intersection of art, media, imagination, ritual and politics. Seyi has been an accomplished artist, performing with Sharon Bridgforth and performing at the Walker Art Center. Seyi’s work has recently been screened at the Bronx Documentary Center and the Sydney Transgender International Film Festival. Seyi has been a Project Involve Fellow and City Lore Documentary Institute scholarship recipient. Seyi is currently artist in residence with Allgo working on The Orita Project, an international film and performance endeavor. Adebanjo will be working with Mentor, documentary filmmaker YORUBA RICHEN on a film experimenting with ritual, the erotic and gender through the Yorùbá religion as both a culture and spiritual practice.
ELLA BOUREAU, is a writer, teacher and translator living in Brooklyn. She runs the online magazine and reading series: In the Flesh. You can see her work there, on The Rumpus, and on Fullstop. Boureau will be working on a play entitled Helps to Hate you a Little with Mentor, actor and playwright MOE ANGELOS.
NICOLE GOODWIN, was the recipient of City’s College’s The Riggs Gold Medal Essay Award for 2011 and finalist for the Poets House’s 2013 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellowship Program and a fellow of the North Country Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color. She is the former editor of the Escriba/Write, winner of the 2006 CCHA Eastern Region Small Journal Award. A single mother, she earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Anthropology from City College of New York in June of 2011. Recently, she published an article “Talking with My Daughter…” for The New York Times Parents Blog, and will be featured in the upcoming documentary film “Tough Love.” Goodwin will be working with Mentor, writer JAIME MANRIQUE on a poetic project exploring gender and race identity and homeless LGBTQ youth.
BRIDGET DE GIRSIGNY, is a South African visual artist based in Brooklyn, working primarily in video, installation, and sound. Having grown up under apartheid and experiencing the ripping shift from oppression to democracy in her teens, made her super aware of the space between impassioned belief and error. A place where fundamental ideologies collided. She creates interactive multimedia installations, bringing to consciousness aspects of those things, like looking at very long histories or different ways of relations of how things exist and shape our perceptions. Her work engages in the intersection of the queer community and other communities. Bridget is a 2013 ICP-Bard MFA graduate and holds a BA (Hons) degree from the University of Cape Town, in Psychology and Literature, and Art from University of South Africa. Girsigny will be working with Mentor, visual artist CARLOS MOTTA, on a project that explores queer history and cultural difference in Brooklyn.
RICK HERRON, is a curator, artist, writer and museum worker from Plattsburg, MO. He has participated in projects with Visual AIDS, Elmgreen & Dragset, Michael Alan Alien, palissimo, Dis Magazine, and many others. He recently curated queer performance for The LGBT Center at the Ideas City festival including artists such as
Buzz Slutzky, Ann Liv Young, Becca Blackwell and Dandy Darkly. Since 2007 he has worked at the New Museum where he is Assistant Manager of Visitor Services. Herron will be working with Mentor, curator PATI HERTLING, on an exhibition about the legacy of Keith Haring for the Spirit Museum in Stockholm.
PETER KNEGT, is a writer, filmmaker and blogger born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He was worked primarily and extensively as a film journalist, most notably for New York-based online magazine Indiewire, where he’s worked since 2006 and currently serves as their Senior Writer. His first book, About Canada: Queer Rights — a historical account of LGBT activism in Canada — was released in 2011. He is also the co-founder and artistic director of Picton Picturefest, a film festival for youth in rural Canada, and recently completed work on his first short film, “Good Morning.” Knegt will be working with Mentor, actor, novelist, and playwright JAMES LECESNE on a literary work based on his experience at “The Pilgrimage”, a portable-film-festival odyssey in the Scottish Highlands organized by TILDA SWINTON and MARK COUSINS.
NATALIA LEITE, is an artist and filmmaker, born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She began her career showcasing art films in galleries in Sao Paulo and San Francisco. Since moving to New York in 2006, she has directed music videos, docs, and short films which have screened in numerous festivals internationally. She is currently working on her first feature film, Bare, produced by Derrick Tseng (Prince Avalanche, Party Monster), Alexandra Roxo, and Dahlia Heyman. She is also co-directing a documentary called Shooting Serrano, produced by VICE, the comedy web series, Be Here Nowish, and a pilot for a VICE Series called Every Woman. She is a recipient of the Kodak Student Grant Award and a Sundance Screenwriters Lab Finalist. Her work can be seen on: www.gotpurplemilk.com. Leite will be working with Mentor, narrative filmmaker ROSE TROCHE on her first feature length film about a young woman living life to the fullest in Nevada.
TROY MICHIE, is a visual artist who was born and raised in Southwest Texas. Utilizing the methodologies of collage and assemblage, he investigates the boundaries between race and sexuality. His work has been exhibited at Anna Kustera Gallery, The Stedelijk Museum s-Hertogenbosch, and will be included in “Outside the Lines” an upcoming group exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. He received his BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and his MFA from Yale School of Art. Michie will be working with Mentor, visual artist GEOFF CHADSEY on a series of sculptures and mixed media works inspired by Jean Genet’s Querelle of Brest.
COLIN SELF, composes and choreographs new trajectories for Global Queer Consciousness. His performances explore aesthetic temperament between vocality, violence, popular culture, and sincerity. Spanning a transdisciplinary lifestyle, Colin seeks to embellish diverse cultures with queer presence and develop a highly stylized language of transnational communication. Through his performance work, community organization, and personal life, Colin exhibits the power and beauty of feminized identities as a constant praxes of collective resistance.
LAIN KAY, is a cross disciplinary artist focused in the mystique of identity branding. Graduate of California College of the Arts with a BFA in Painting and Drawing, his senior work portrays multiples of himself acting out appropriated cliches within art history and nationalistic propaganda. Indicative of a tounge-and-cheek punk attitude; these aesthetics inform and modify more recent performance works. Through mostly collaborative, music driven projects, Lain Kay positions himself as faux pop star with a tabloid tragicness. This playful hypocrisy of ethics invites commodification, but intends to perform a mockery of class values in our culture, and the timelessness of power and spectacle. Self and Kay will be working as a collaborative pair on a multimedia installation and performance on gendered pop culture and consumerism with Mentor, BIG ART GROUP founder CADEN MANSON.
XEŇA STANISLAVOVNA SEMJONOVÁ, is a poet, artist, and translator originally from Slovakia, now living in NYC. Xeňa has performed in venues such as the Poetry Project, Dixon Place, Interstate Projects, Bowery Poetry Club, Michelle Tea’s RADAR, Panpoly Performance Laboratory, SPECTRUM NYC, Strange Maine, the Lynn Redgrave Theater, Page 22 Poetry Parlor, Happy Endings, GRRRLS on FILM, the Leslie Lohman Gallery, and many others. She is a Poets House 2013 Fellow; and is the Editor of What Now, an audio anthology of poetry. Her project SHE is upcoming as both a book and a performance in 2014. Semjonová will be working on writings focused on trans voice and experience with Mentor, performance artist and musician GEO WYETH.
The 2013-2014 QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP FELLOWS follow the participants in the successful previous years whose projects were lauded and presented at venues such as MoMA, MoMA PS1, Monya Rowe Gallery, Brooklyn Rail, Grey Art Gallery, Recess Gallery, NURTUREart Gallery, Brooklyn Book Festival, Anna Kustera Gallery, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, The Bushwick Starr, Studio Museum, Dodge Gallery, The Duplex, among many others. For more information about this and past years’ Fellows and Mentors, visit the program’s website at Queer/Art/Mentorship.