CEC ArtsLink is very pleased to announce our 2013 ArtsLink Fellows in performing arts and literature and their host organizations throughout the US. This year’s seventeen participants in the ArtsLink Residencies program come from any of thirty-seven eligible countries, including newly-added Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
Artist—As an award-winning actress, director, educator and artistic director of ASHTAR Theater, Aoun deals with socio-political issues in Palestine to raise audience awareness and create social change. Since 2004, she has worked with community groups using Theater of the Oppressed techniques and has conducted specialized training workshops for theater students regionally and internationally. Among the numerous projects she has created, produced or directed is The Gaza Mono-Logues, which collected stories from thirty-three youth describing their experiences living under siege in Gaza. Aoun is interested in working with diverse ethnic communities in the US, particularly Native American communities, and in learning strategies to incorporate mythology and history into theater productions.
Arts Manager—Ayyash currently serves as stage manager for The (B)IM Project which recently produced 10,453 km2, a site-specific play about the problems of pollution and endangered coastlines in Lebanon. The performances took place on boardwalks in several cities and utilized recycled materials gathered by local communities for the sets, costumes and props. She has also been active as an actress and singer, producer of festivals, theater and music and a theater teacher and director. During her residency, she would like to take part in international and socially-conscious projects to gain new perspectives on theater management.
Arts Manager— Events manager, musician, band leader and composer, Bardun has contributed to various international music projects and has been instrumental in the development of the Ukrainian jazz scene. Together with the founders of Jazz Club Lviv, Bardun organizes workshops, jam sessions and lectures and participates in numerous jazz outreach projects. He has also organized concerts, a jazz summer school and rock festivals. His goal is to develop a music venue in Lviv into a center for jazz study, innovation and performance for local and international artists. He hopes to gain experience in developing and managing international music projects and to make contact with American musicians and organizations for future collaboration.
Artist—A playwright focusing on such topics as gender, memory and responses to the past, Basha has received recognition throughout Europe. Her plays have been staged in Kosovo and Macedonia, and published in Kosovo and France. Her most recent play, Gishti (The Finger), was awarded best socially-engaged contemporary play in the Western Balkans. From 2004 to 2006, she was invited by the United Nations Kosovo Office for Missing Persons to create pieces based on the challenging situation of families who suffered losses. The short plays were turned into participatory theater with family members performing. She is interested in bringing her work to the US to present human stories of the Kosovo war and to explore documentary theater writing.
Artist—Trained in opera and Western classical music at University Mozarteum in Austria, Devecioglu explores different sources of inspiration ranging from Turkish sufi and folk traditions to jazz and avant-garde forms. She has performed throughout Europe and Turkey and in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Carnegie Hall as part of the Bobby McFerrin Instant Opera! She wants to learn about the American new and experimental music scenes and share her voice and culture with communities in the US. She also hopes to discover inspiring resources and artists to build a network for future collaboration.Website>>
Arts Manager—As executive producer at Domino, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to independent arts and culture in Croatia, Dobrović is involved in a wide range of activities, including two international festivals and a European Union initiative focused on the arts and climate change. The EU project raises awareness of issues surrounding climate change through activities that generate community involvement. An effort with a local university and several organizations dedicated to biology involved community members collecting invasive plants and the preparation of a dinner based on invasive species. Dobrovic intends to research methods of community engagement, audience development, strategic planning and fundraising used by American organizations.
Arts Manager—El Attar is the founder and artistic director of the Studio Emad Eddin (SEE) Foundation, which offers rehearsal, training and performance spaces to independent artists. His work as a theater director, producer and playwright has been performed throughout the Middle East and Europe. The SEE Foundation is currently expanding from a single rehearsal and training space with one venue to an institution with two rehearsal and training venues, a 225-seat theater and an annual multidisciplinary festival. El Attar would like to learn about management models in the US that could be useful for the Foundation’s growth and share his knowledge of the cultural and artistic life in the Arab world.
Arts Manager—Currently serving as the project manager at the Art Academy of Latvia, Gailitis oversees multiple projects and has responsibility for finances, marketing and public relations for the projects. Previously, he curated and coordinated numerous local and international events including the Riga City Festival and Kultur Klash, a festival featuring alternative genres and approaches from artists throughout Europe. Gailitis also organized and secured sites for Stubnitz, a deep sea fishing vessel that has been transformed into a traveling venue for exhibitions and sound art events. He hopes to share ideas on the future of arts education and strategies for organizational restructuring in the face of challenges. He also wants to attend cultural events and expand his network of international contacts in advance of 2014, when Riga will be the European Capital of Culture.
Artist— Combining a background in fashion design with an interest in performance art and dance, Gemisheva creates innovative presentations incorporating unique apparel that explore how fashion is used as communication. In the performance Fashion Fire, for instance, professional models cast their designer garments into a bonfire as a gesture of collective liberation and purification. Gemisheva also teaches fashion design and fashion-related performance at the National Art Academy in Sofia. In the US, she would like to observe different practices in contemporary dance and performance and research the relationships between street and commercial fashion. Website>>
Artist—The author of four collections of poetry, Omar has won numerous competitions including the Shabyt International Festival in Astana. His poems have been published widely in literary magazines throughout Russia and Kazakhstan. With a degree in film and video directing, he has worked for seventeen years in television as a director, journalist, television host and producer and has won awards for his documentaries. He also teaches poetry seminars at the Open Literature School in Astana. Omar hopes to discover new American authors and cooperate on translations of their works into Russian and works of Kazakh poets into English.
Artist—As a playwright and director, Paun incorporates broadcast technology and behavioral experiments into theater productions to stimulate audience participation and critical thinking. She is a founding member of The Generosity Offensive which creates participatory projects that deal with sensitive and overlooked issues in the community. The collective has worked with diverse groups including people of Roma background, miners, cleaning ladies, farmers and unemployed teens. Paun would like to exchange ideas with artists who use experimental tools such as augmented reality, surveillance and other forms of technology. She hopes to investigate ways socially active theater artists in the US engage their audiences on topics that affect the community. Website>>
Arts Manager—A critic, tour manager, curator and lecturer, Popovici sees her role as that of a mediator, framing performances in a larger social and political context and making Romanian work more accessible to international audiences. Currently, Popovici is curating an independent performing arts festival organized by the National Theatre in Tǐrgu Mureş. She is a regular contributor to Romanian and European arts magazines and has worked with artists on socially-engaged theater projects. Popovici is interested in observing how American artists and managers use theater as a tool to engage communities and how they plan and develop festivals.
Arts Manager—Sekoyan is general manager and artistic director of Theater for Changes (T4C), an Armenian non-profit which uses interactive theater to heighten social awareness and civic responsibility. Working in cities and smaller communities throughout Armenia, T4C’s initiatives include forum theater plays for youth and adults, theater education for school children, international theater projects and training programs. Recently, T4C developed and staged interactive theater pieces to promote the rights of children with disabilities in cooperation with the Child Development Foundation. Sekoyan would like to expand his knowledge of arts management practice and theory and of non-traditional theater practices used for education and social change.
Arts Manager—Head of the production department at Nowy Theatr, Sienkiewicz has produced numerous international projects including the award-winning play African Tales by Shakespeare, which involved theaters from seven countries. One of Sienkiewicz’s main goals for the Nowy Theatr is to engage with the lives of citizens. He has opened the theater workshop space to the public so they can see the back stage and wardrobe and has created events to encourage community participation including cooking classes with a literature professor preparing meals from famous Polish novels. Sienkiewicz would like to experience new approaches to management and cooperation and attend cutting-edge and experimental performing arts events.
Arts Manager—Tiefbenkel is an executive director of Art November, an international festival that brings special exhibitions and performances to a range of locations across Moscow. For the 2012-13 season, Tiefbenkel has organized more than thirty-five concerts of classical and contemporary music with over seventy participating artists from Russia, Europe and the US. She also managed the Bach-Marathon, in which international soloists accompanied by the Moscow Conservatory Chamber Orchestra performed all of Bach’s concertos in one day. In addition, she has worked with contemporary groups such as the Klezmatics. During her residency, she hopes to learn new approaches to management practices and to share the work of lesser-known Russian composers and musicians with US audiences.
Artist— Topolski’s electronic compositions, improvised performances and projects incorporate field recordings, analog DIY hardware, sound and color exploration and new approaches to percussion. He also organizes sound walks, listening exercises and workshops to explore every day acoustic landscapes and topics such as the history and use of feedback. He was recently asked by the Krakow National Museum to create an interactive exhibition soundtrack which reconstructs sounds associated with historic objects on display. Topolski wants to expand his knowledge of the experimental and sound art scene in the US, including circuit bending, alternative computer interfaces and programming, acoustic ecology and similar topics. Website>>
Artist—Trained in set design, Volic has participated in the production of many theater and site-specific performances, contributing videos and video installations and performing live as a VJ. She uses projections to produce a transcendental atmosphere in which universal human emotions and themes can be explored. Recently, she created video for a production of Spring Awakening at the Belgrade Drama Theater and she is currently working with the National Theater in Belgrade on an upcoming project. She would like to engage with US artists exploring innovative theater and interdisciplinary practices and realize a site-specific performance in cooperation with a local community. Website>>