Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week 2015

19248e54b2774efc9069f03bb3b8b328_400x400The Hurston/Wright Foundation will present a week of writers’ workshops on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, July 18 – 25, 2015. Workshops will cover fiction, poetry, biography and novel writing, and will be taught by award-winning writers.

For a complete listing of workshops and to apply, visit the Hurston/Wright Foundation online.

Surprising Findings in Three New NEA Reports on the Arts

Three reports from the National Endowment for the Arts reveal new findings about the impact of arts and cultural industries on GDP, as well as how and why Americans participate in certain arts activities. The data for the three reports is all from 2012, so for the first time the NEA can show a comprehensive view of a single year in the life of the arts and cultural sector from three different angels: supply, demand, and motivations for consumer behavior. The new information will help arts providers and others more effectively understand and develop strategies to engage individuals and communities in the arts.

The reports are available online.

Why I create wordless puppetry

[A guest post from FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) Grantee Cecilia Cackley]

All puppets talk, right? Most of the puppetry I grew up with, such as Sesame Street, was very talkative. It wasn’t until I saw a particular piece called The Rose at the O’Neill Puppetry Conference, that I considered the possibilities of wordless puppet theater. Aki, a visiting puppeteer from Japan, created a story with just her two hands. She told us who the two characters were at the beginning, but otherwise, the show was completely silent, without music or anything to cue the audience into what was going on. We were enthralled. Her movements were so precise and poignant that I was nearly in tears by the time the short piece was finished. Today, as I create my own puppet work, I’m constantly thinking about how to tell a powerful story without words.

One reason I have chosen to create wordless puppet plays is that it puts the focus on the visual, an aspect of puppetry that truly sets it apart from other kinds of live theater. Puppets are artwork brought to life by the puppeteer, and taking words out of the equation allows the audience to focus on what they are seeing.

Cecilia Cackley

As a person who grew up in a multi-lingual family, I have firsthand experience with the frustrations of not understanding or being understood in another language. Wordless puppetry allows everyone into the story. I created my first wordless puppet show Elle Lit/She Reads to take to the Avignon Off Festival in France in 2009. It was a tabletop puppet play about a little girl who gets lost inside the worlds of the books that she reads. This February, my show Saudade, a shadow play about the immigrant experience in DC, will premiere at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival. These shows are able to reach a much greater audience because, as wordless theater, they remove a barrier for audience members who speak different languages.

Another reason I love wordless puppetry is because it provides more space for the audience to bring their own ideas and interpretations to the story. When Wit’s End Puppets performed The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet, it was intended for an all ages audience. We had children sitting with their parents who narrated the entire play for the adult next to them, making their own decisions about who the characters were and what was going on. It was beautiful to see them so enthralled.

Puppeteer Gabriela Cespedes likes to say “The puppeteer creates the piece but the spectator recreates it.” Wordless puppetry lets you decide on your own ideas about the story—and gives the audience that extra space to focus on the visuals, enjoy a story outside of a familiar language, and above all, enter a space of theatrical magic.

— Cecilia Cackley, FY15 AFP Grantee

Saudade at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Intersections Festival
Saturday, February 28 at 2:00 pm
Saturday, March 7 at 7:00 pm

College Board Seeks Applications for 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts

logoThe College Board is accepting applications for the 2015 College Board Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts. The annual award recognizes the achievements of member institutions which have implemented an arts program in grades 6 to 12 that promotes student learning and creativity in exemplary and innovative ways.

Awards will be given to programs in three categories. Within each of these three categories, one award in the amount of $5,000 will be given to winning schools to support the continuation and growth of their arts programs. Among the three winning schools, one will be named the national winner and will be awarded an additional $2,500.

More information at the Philanthropy News Digest.

DC’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels; Friday, February 20 – Sunday, February 22

Check out this weekend’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels from CultureCapital, your link to the Arts in Metro DC.

MethuselahBack to Methuselah
Washington Stage Guild at Undercroft Theatre.
One of the first works of science fiction ever put on stage, with George Bernard Shaw’s celebrated wit and a touch of satire.


LaserCatLaser Cat
Washington Project for the Arts at The Yards.
Lasers! Video Art! DJs! Laser Cat is a giant cat head with lasers for eyes that uses high-powered projectors to beam crowd-sourced personal art onto public buildings, in this case, the interior of the historic 200 Tingey Street Building.

BlackHistoryMonthBlack History Month February 2015 in Metro DC
Various Locations.
Black History Month is celebrated throughout Metro DC in theatre, dance, music, visual arts and the spoken word. Check here for arts and culture events commemorating, honoring and focusing on the history and contributions that Black Americans have made to the United States.

CultureCapital. Your Metro DC Arts Alliance for over 30 years.

Calling All Artists!  Art Hop arts fest in Takoma April 24-25, 2015

The Art Hop arts fest transforms Takoma’s main street into a neighborhood arts district.  The work of over 70 of artists is installed in the shops, restaurants, galleries and on the streets of Takoma – from Takoma Park, MD to Takoma, DC. We are looking for a broad range of artists working in a variety of media at all ranges of pricing, both established and emerging.  We welcome the unconventional!  We also are looking for artists who may want to display outdoors all weekend (you’ll need a tent!) or create live art for the public over the weekend. Application:
Application Deadline:March 20th, 2015 5pm

Protecting Art and Cultural Property Through International Law

American University Washington College of Law Presents
PAaCPTILFebruary 18, 2015, 1:00PM – 7:00PM

Please note the event will be held at
Tillar House
2223 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008

Art and cultural property have held a special significance for humankind for centuries. Collectors derive pleasure from the art or cultural property’s aesthetic and emotive value. Creators see the art or cultural property as an expression of their thoughts, feelings, creativity and personality, as well as a means of income. Finally, states and communities perceive such works as a documentation of their heritage, history, and legacy. In granting artists moral rights, and protecting art and cultural property from theft and destruction, we are preserving the value these actors place on these works.

More information here.

AFP Spotlight: Noah Getz

This is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Noah Getz, a concert saxophonist in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: I moved here in 2003 and lived in Foggy Bottom.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and Florida State University.

Noah Getz

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: A recent story by a jazz bassist who said he has a morning ritual of waking up and practicing before his children go to school.  One of his kids mentioned that he wanted to grow up to be like his dad because he is always happy.  The advice I took away from this story is that success is organizing each day in a meaningful and artistic way.

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A: 14th Street

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: Seafood, Blacksalt.

Q: Favorite time of the year?
A: Summer which marks the start of new artistic projects for the upcoming year

Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: Designing Sound by Andy Farnell.

Q: What is your motto?
A: The prize is in the practice.

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: John Coltrane, Dylan Thomas, Chuck Close

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Invites Applications for 2015 Artists Fellowships

American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artists are invited to apply for the 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) Artist Fellowships before the 5 p.m. P.S.T., Monday, April 6 deadline. The national award honors artistic excellence in the fields of performing arts, music, film, literature, traditional arts and visual arts.


The NACF is a national, Native-led organization dedicated to promoting American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures.

Create an account to review eligibility criteria and to submit an application at: