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A conversation celebrating the release of Remapping Performance: Common Ground, Uncommon Partners, featuring author Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director of Field Research for ABOG’s Fellowship program; Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark; Pepón Osorio, artist; and Diya Vij, Digital Communications Manager, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.
Completing a trilogy of works by Jan Cohen-Cruz, Remapping Performance focuses on the work of artists and experts who collaborate across fields to address social issues. The book explores work of a range of artists who employ artistic training, methodologies and mind-sets in their work with experts from other sectors such as medicine and healthcare and from other disciplines, to draw an expanded map of performance platforms including university/community partnerships, neighborhood-bases, and cultural diplomacy. Case studies include ArtSpot Productions/Mondo Bizarro’s Cry You One about climate change in southern Louisiana, incorporating theatrics and organizing; Michael Rohd/Sojourn Theatre’s social and civic practices; Anne Basting’s University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-based integration of performance and creative aging; and the collaborative cultural diplomacy experiment, smARTpower. Short companion pieces add expertise from Helen Nicholson, Todd London, Julie Thompson Klein, Nancy Cantor, Maria Rosario Jackson, and Penny Von Eschen. Jan Cohen-Cruz ends with suggestions for fully integrating performance in cross-sector initiatives. This latest book by a leading figure in engaged/applied theater and performance builds on its predecessors by offering a future-oriented perspective, a vision of art and performance interacting with a range of social sectors and with an emphasis on HE in such partnerships, and will be a ‘must-read’ for all students and scholars working in this field. (Palgrave Macmillan)
Jan Cohen-Cruz is senior editor and co-founder of Public: A Journal of Imagining America and a university professor at Syracuse University. In addition to her new book, Remapping Performance: Common Ground, Uncommon Partners, Jan wrote Local Acts: Community‑Based Performance in the US and Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response; edited Radical Street Performance; and, with Mady Schutzman, co‑edited Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism and A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Art and Cultural Politics. As a longtime professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Cohen-Cruz produced community‑based arts projects with students and neighborhood partners. She directed the minor in applied theatre and Tisch’s Office of Community Connections, and was among the founders of the Department of Art and Public Policy. She received the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre and Civic Engagement (2012). She was the evaluator for the U.S. State Department/Bronx Museum cultural diplomacy initiative smARTpower, and is now Director of Field Research for A Blade of Grass.
Nancy Cantor is Chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark, a diverse, urban, public research university. A distinguished leader in higher education, she is recognized nationally and internationally as an advocate for re-emphasizing the public mission of colleges and universities, both public and private, viewing them not as a traditional “ivory towers,” but as anchor institutions that collaborate with partners from all sectors of the economy to fulfill higher education’s promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility.
Pepón Osorio, best known for large-scale installations, was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1955. He was educated at the Universidad Inter-Americana in Puerto Rico and Herbert H. Lehman College in New York, and received an MA from Columbia University in 1985. Osorio’s pieces, influenced by his experience as a social worker in The Bronx, usually evolve from an interaction with the neighborhoods and people among which he is working. Osorio’s work has been shown at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; and El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico.
Diya Vij is the Digital Communications Manager at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) where she launched and oversees all internet-based communications for the agency. In addition to Digital Communications, Diya manages a newly launched artist residency program which places artists-in-residence with other city agencies. Prior to her position at the DCLA, she served as Communications Manager at the Queens Museum from 2010-2014. She has a BA from Bard College and is currently finishing her MA in Art History from Hunter College.