"When people dig into a work of art, they no longer have to ask about its value because they know it." --Eric Booth, Arts Educator & Author
University Settlement Artists-in-Residence are selected because of the quality of their work and the open, welcoming nature of their process. These artists believe that creativity is a skill set that can be shared and learned. They have also demonstrated a commitment to restoring the notion that everybody has an artistic birthright to reclaim and, in doing so, quality of life can be improved.
Our 2016-2017 Artists-In-Residence Were...
Marc Andrew Nuñez
Stefanie Batten Bland
Full descriptions of their work with us are below. Please be advised that these are past Artists-in-Residence and do not reflect current projects.
Alex Borinsky is a playwright, performer, teacher and director, interested in asking what theatergoing is, and might be. Most recently Alex directed his play, THE WITCHES. He collaborated on the 2014 Triangles Festival of Plays and Translations with Masrah Ensemble. A member of the 2016 Working Farm at SPACE at Ryder Farm, he has been a 2014-15 LMCC Workspace Resident and a member of Youngblood since 2010. His work has been presented by Target Margin, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Upstream Theater in St. Louis.
What happens to us in classrooms? Does the classroom make us someone else, does it shape us into who we are? Is there such a thing as a normal classroom? Is there such a thing as a weird one? Borinsky's new theater piece, Weird Classroom, poses these questions and more. It is inspired by Herbert Kohl's open classroom work and the box art of Joseph Cornell, and will include song and dance.
Alex will connect with young people and educators at University Settlement through a series of long table discussions and group activities, sometimes with the help of invited
guests. Topics to be explored include classrooms and aging, classrooms and race, classrooms and class, classrooms and gender, and classrooms and neighborhood. These regular conversations and what happens during open rehearsals will reveal potential new collaborators, deepen the script-in-development, and allow for regular visiting, talking, and hanging out.
Jody Wood is a New York–based artist utilizing video, installation, performance, and community organization to engage with socially-informed content. Her work has received grant support from the Brooklyn Arts Council, New York Council for the Humanities, Rema Hort Mann Foundation and residencies with Asian Arts Initiative, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2014, Wood was a Socially Engaged Art Fellow with A Blade of Grass and she has presented work internationally at venues including Parrish Museum of Art (Water Mill, NY), Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, and FIVAC Festival (Camaguey, Cuba).
Did you know that workers who care for trauma victims tend to absorb the pain of those they seek to help and often display symptoms of PTSD? Choreographing Care is an interdisciplinary experimental exploration of Secondary Trauma Exposure. Rather than the typical self-help responses to compassion fatigue, this project turns to the body to collaboratively form solutions that address the intangibles related to care and empathy. Choreographing Care will take the form of an open, optional workshop for care providers and culminate in a series of live public conversations, performances and video installations. It seeks to inspire institutions to establish community practices that prioritize and promote the self-care of social workers and other community care providers.
Jody Wood and her core collaborators applied theatre scholar Jan Cohen-Cruz and social worker Dionisio Cruz will design and facilitate workshops for University Settlement's
staff. Additional workshop leaders will be announced at a later date. These workshops will explore pressure release, connection, and communication, and will share the artistic practices of dancers and actors that are used to promote community building, trust and healing. After piloting this curriculum at University Settlement, it will be taken nationwide to various caregiver groups in order to promote institutional practices that value self-care for workers. A preliminary prototype for Choreographing Care was held in Kingston, NY in 2016, led by Theater Director Maggie Lally, and supported by Esopus Foundation.
Marc Andrew Nuñez
Marc Andrew Nuñez is the director and co-founder of Gotham Dance Theater (GDT) with Mitchell VanLandingham. GDT is dedicated to producing urban contemporary dance and multidisciplinary performance art with social purpose, strengthening the community of emerging artists and representing the diverse cultures that reside in New York City. Nuñez is a Swiss-born, California-raised Filipino-American living in New York. Among Marc's favorite credits are touring internationally as a Lost Boy in Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan, and dancing in Mike Esperanza's BARE Dance Company (OC/LA), Entity Contemporary Dance (OC/LA), Broadway Bares (NYC), Donald McKayle's Etude Ensemble (Irvine, CA), Common Ground Hip Hop (Irvine, CA), Funkanometry NY Dance Company, and as background dancer for Rihanna (MTV VMAs). Marc has taught at numerous studios from coast to coast, including Broadway Dance Center (NY), Peridance (NY), El Puente (NY), Icon Dance Complex (NJ), Harbour Dance Centre (Vancouver, BC), and Jayvee Dance (CA). Marc is also the dance curator at The Tank NYCt.
What do we really need to know to gain citizenship? When does America begin to feel like a true home? What are the social, political and economic hurdles that must be climbed, leaped or avoided? Through stories, interviews and an athletic dance fusion of contemporary, hip-hop, and street jazz, Transient explores the American dreams of documented and undocumented immigrants.
Gotham Dance Theater will connect and collaborate with University Settlement's new immigrant participants. Stories, gestures, movements and cultural practices will be exchanged, shared and honored. Some community members will also be invited to co-create and perform in Transient.
Stefanie Batten bland
Stefanie Batten Bland is a choreographic artist and artistic director of Company Stefanie Batten Bland (Company SBB). New York Resident Magazine in 2012 wrote, "When it comes to tackling demanding subject matter, there are few choreographers as intellectually ambitious as Stefanie Batten Bland." Through the dance arts, she creates performances rooted in community, highlighting the delicate threads that connect us to one another and to our planet. Based in contemporary dance theatre, Batten Bland constructs futuristic environments with installations ripe in poetic theatrical flavors that are emotionally driven. In 2008, while head choreographer of the Paris Opera Comique in France, Batten Bland founded Company SBB so that she might better investigate the human condition and relationships within our natural world. Company SBB is a 2016 Bessie Schonberg Fellow, 2015 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists Choice Awardee, Camargo/Jerome Foundation Choreographer for Zenon Dance Company (France), 2015/14 Alvin Ailey Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab Fellow, 2014 Joffrey Ballet Choreographer of Color, and 2010-12 Baryshnikov Arts Center/Jerome Robbins NEW Fellow.
Bienvenue is an interdisciplinary, immersive performance that examines the willingness to welcome and share space with incoming immigrants to the United States. It also delves into the paranoia of terror and competition that is currently influencing our citizenry to prohibit access to our borders. Bienvenue has been commissioned by La MaMa Moves and will premiere there in May 2017.
Stefanie Batten Bland plans to connect more deeply to University Settlement's Early Childhood Programs (she is already the parent of one of our preschool students). Throughout her residency, she will deepen her interactions with teachers and parents, most of whom are either first- or second-generation immigrants. She will lead workshops that will culminate in a community-produced open house festival in early spring.
Superhero Clubhouse is a New York-based collective of artists and scientists working at the intersection of environmentalism and theater. They create fictional performances rooted in complex environmental questions, practice ecological production, and collaborate across disciplines and communities to enact a thriving society. They believe theater is an essential tool for evolving our consciousness in the face of global environmental crises.
The Living Stage combines theatrical design, permaculture, and community engagement to create a recyclable, biodegradable performance space that doubles as a community garden. The NYC version of The Living Stage will feature a lush, living stage situated at University Settlement's Meltzer Tower Older Adult Center on the Lower East Side. This space will be inhabited by performances made for and by all generations of our community.
Superhero Clubhouse is working closely with the Tenant Association of Meltzer Towers, a NYCHA Senior Housing Facility, to envision how this living stage can enhance their
courtyard. The older adults will also create a performance inspired by this project with neighborhood youth from our afterschool programs. The stage will become a space for our young artist community to curate a summer season.