ArtsLAB 2016

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ArtsLAB 2016 - Speakers from GBCA on Vimeo.

ArtsLAB 2016 - Panel Discussion from GBCA on Vimeo.



Topic: Citizen Artists: Arts Professionals and Civic Engagement
Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Time: 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Location: Chesapeake Arts Center, Brooklyn Park, MD
ArtsLAB 2016, MCA's fifth annual capacity building conference, will take place on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park, MD. 
The theme of this year's conference will be "Citizen Artists" and will feature presentations by, and conversations with artists who are actively engaged in a civic or social project with their art; be it the environment, arts education, criminal justice, healthcare, historic preservation, or other topics. Come and add your voice to the conversation about creating more Citizen Artists. ArtsLAB was created by MCA to provide a space for the nonprofit arts sector to come together to address concerns facing our field.
Cost: $15 per person, $12 per person for groups of 3 or more from one organization



9:30      Welcome
9:40      Overview of the Day
9:45      Speakers
                 Saida Agostini & Hannah Brancato: FORCE
                 Connie Brantner: Quilter
                 Lady Brion: Spoken word artist
                 Kurt Kolaja: Filmmaker
                 CJay Philip: Dancer
11:00    Interactive Panel Discussion
12:00    Networking Lunch Break
12:45    Workshop Breakouts - "Using Your Art for Civic Engagement"
2:00      Reconvene, Idea Presentations, Panel Feedback
2:55      Closing Remarks


"There should be no dividing line between artistic excellence and social consciousness. America's artists of today must take on the challenge of synergistically applying these two elements if the art forms we embrace are to continue to flourish and to communicate the human values that emanate from them."  -Joseph W. Polisi, The Artist as Citizen

Afternoon Workshops

Saida Agostini & Hannah Brancato with Kerry Holahan
       Nothing for Us Without Us: Art Interventions to Disrupt Culture

Connie Brantner with Karen Reckner
       Institutional Creativity:  A Win for Both Sides

Lady Brion with Diana Schenck
       A Voice for All: The Artist as Amplifier

Kurt Kolaja with Sarah Snyder
       Telling the Story Through Video

CJay Philip with Ryan Nicotra
        Voices & Choices: Discerning and Managing the Voice of the Community, the Voice of the Funder, and Your Own Voice


 Saida Agostini (co-presenter) is an advocate, movement builder,  and poet. She partners with communities to build peer driven  spaces dedicated to engaging in resistance and liberation work.  Her advocacy is grounded in laughter, unabashed tenderness and  intersectionality. Saida brings with her over a decade of experience  in program management, clinical work, and policy advocacy with  communities of color, LGBTQ folks, and survivors of violence. She has developed and directed community, statewide and national programs, including an emergency shelter for youth in crisis. Most recently, Saida coordinated the Youth Equality Alliance, a statewide coalition advocating for the rights of LGBTQ youth in Maryland. An adjunct professor at a local university, she lectures on human sexuality and gender. She has received fellowships in support of her activism and art from Core Align, Cave Canem, and the Leeway Foundation. She is the Chief Operating Officer at FORCE. 


 Hannah Brancato (co-presenter) is co-founder of FORCE:  Upsetting Rape Culture, an artistic collaborative founded based on  the idea that a  more difficult and honest conversation needs to  happen in  American to face the realities and root causes of sexual  violence.  To promote this necessary conversation, FORCE  organizers and a  team of volunteers create art actions to generate  media attention,  provide education and mobilize our communities to actively support survivors. Hannah is a 2015 Open Society Institute-Baltimore Fellow. She began creating healing space by and for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in 2008, when she established Advocate Through Art at the House Of Ruth Maryland. In addition to her work with FORCE, Hannah is currently a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Hannah earned her MFA in Community Art from MICA in 2011.


 Connie Brantner is a retired psychiatric nurse, having worked the  last 30 years of her career at a state of Maryland psychiatric  center. Connie started volunteering approximately 5 years ago at  Western Correction Center, where she helps inmates piece  together quilts that can be donated to different nonprofit  organizations in  their area.  What started out to be a one or two  time visit to demonstrate how to quilt has turned into a very rewarding long term experience.  Connie loves quilting, and sewing in general, and really enjoys showing others how to do the craft.  She does not consider herself a teacher, nor an artist, but rather a "wanna be" that enjoys sharing her love for her work. Connie resides with her husband in Cumberland, Maryland. She has one daughter and two grandchildren.

 Brion Gill a.k.a. Lady Brion is an international spoken word artist,  poetry coach, activist, organizer, and educator. Lady Brion is a  2016 National Poetry Slam Champion. In 2015, she was  Baltimore’s Grand Slam champion and represented Baltimore at  the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California and at the  Individual World Poetry Slam in Washington, DC, that same year.  Lady Brion is also the recipient of the Open Society Institute  Fellowship for her project  facilitating poetry workshops in prisons and group homes throughout Maryland. She received her B.A. in Communications from Howard University and is now pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Design from the University of Baltimore.

 Kurt Kolaja has been working in the film and video industry for forty  years.  While on assignment, he has been tear-gassed, threatened  with a baseball bat, and attacked by hookers in Paris. He has  carried his camera through the filth of hand-dug coalmines and into  the sterile environment of operating rooms.  He shot the launch of  the first Space Shuttle and trembled to place a wireless mic on  Sophia Loren. Kurt's independently produced documentary films  have screened nationally.  A fourth "The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague" is scheduled to enter film festivals in 2017: "We Are D3" (released:  2015), "Band Together" (released:  2013), and "Charlie Obert's Barn" (released: 2011).

 CJay Philip followed up a successful Broadway career with a  relocation to Baltimore where she formed Dance & Bmore,  an ensemble of singers, dancers and poets fusing movement,  original music and spoken-word to create interactive and socially  conscious performances pieces. Dance & Bmore also designs  innovative multigenerational programs that seek to stimulate the  imagination and strengthen relationships while building a sense of  community and wellbeing. The Forever Fit & Fun program uses memory-based movement, prompts and storytelling to capture the memories of senior citizens and encapsulate them in spoken-word, music and dance while FazaFam Family Jam focuses on a holistic approach to strengthening families through the arts. CJay is the recipient of a Baker Artists b-grant award, a Baltimore Social Innovators award and is currently a Robert W Deutsch Fellow and Citizen Artist Fellow for the Kennedy Center.



ArtsLAB 2016 is sponsored in part by: