Black Artists Space to Create

The 2020/2021 Black Artists Space to Create Residency artists are Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Leslie Cuyjet, and Angie Pittman

About the Residency

The Black Artists Space to Create Residency is a pilot project offering three Black artists a residency at Modern Accord Depot in Accord, NY. The recipients are Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Leslie Cuyjet, and Angie Pittman. Each received a two-week residency with unlimited access to a dance studio and full living space. Residency schedules were determined by the individual needs of the artists, who also received a stipend of $2,000. New Dance Alliance (NDA) offers this space for resting, dancing, creating, healing, grieving, laughing, and breathing. There was no expectation of production and artists did not have to present new work at the end of this residency. Additionally, the artists have access to complimentary studio space at NDA’s loft throughout the 2021 season. The artists were selected by a core team consisting of NDA staff and board members.

Stay tuned for further information about the BASC 2021-2022 season.

The residency project was created in response to current movements within the dance community and the movements they are building upon. As an artist services organization and presenter, NDA has been guided by the core question: What does it mean to center and support Black artists in this field? NDA understands the stark reality that Black people are currently navigating not one, but two pandemics: one is new, and one is 400 years old. Covid-19 and racism are both disproportionately affecting Black life. In light of this, “we wish to radically reimagine what it means to serve Black artists right now and to do so in the specific spirit of reparations,” says NDA Board President Fernando Maneca. “We call in abundance as we reimagine modes of leadership and hand over the keys to Black artists as a way to confront the scarcity mindset currently afflicting non-profit organizations.

Residency Director, Angie Pittman

An NDA advisory board member since 2018, Pittman helped conceive of the residency project and will lead it into future iterations.

“While we are honored to offer this residency program, we understand that the ideas around it are not new and not ours,” says Pittman. “As a Black artist working with a white-led organization, I want to make sure we credit the countless Black, femme scholars and activists who have called for the equitable payment of Black folks. I also want to call attention to how Black artists have historically shaped our nation’s imagination, language, and humanity so we want to use this residency as a way to value and amplify that tremendous work.”

Press

This pilot project was made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor.

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