And so it Begins: Connections & Collaborations Moving Towards Positive Change

Art to Change the World: Moving Forward
And so it Begins: Connections & Collaborations Moving Towards Positive Change
Testimony of ACW Artist, Jill Waterhouse

1) I connected at the ACW Friends Fundraiser with Perpich student, Dante Baza, a musician and artist. We are planning a collaboration between his music and my performance poetry, to be performed (hopefully) at Perpich. I also connected Dante Baza with ACW painter, Barry Scanlon, as Dante would like to be mentored by Barry in developing his painting.

2) I connected with students and Assistant Principal, Isabel Rodriguez, from South High and we hope to collaborate on a performance of my written pieces with potential curriculum/Q & A session. If possible, I also plan to exhibit my large sculptural piece based on “The Chasm between the Divides” and to have students participate in data collection of their stories, emotions, thoughts and beliefs stirred by the piece. And, based on discussions I had with Denny Sponsler, former South High teacher (and MN Teacher of the Year), ACW is also in conversation to donate Native artist Wesley May’s mural – which was made in a workshop as part of the “See.Say.DO.” exhibit – to South High.

3) I will be collaborating with ACW artist, Rebecca Ratzlaff, to get her 14 foot x 9 foot quilt, “The Union Label” into public spaces to explore the importance of union labor as a deterrent to child labor use around the world. Also working to get her piece sold to the textile union – or one of the U.S. unions – to promote the importance of their work and to use the images of her quilt in a campaign for union labor.

4) I’m in the process of connecting “Take Action” Pop-Up Performance singer, Gabrial Rodreick with a friend of mine who just opened his recording studio. Gabe is now in a wheel chair due to an accident, so his resources are limited. But, Victor is willing to work with him at a rate Gabe can afford to record his music professionally for the first time.

5) I helped connect Barb Kobe and her feeling/healing dolls to The Emily Program, where it is my belief her work as a professional – with her extraordinary dolls – can help create a deeper level of trauma healing for the women and men in the program. (I am also hoping to connect to the clients in the program via art work I have done in this arena.)

6) I also connected with The Emily Program director and head psychologist around presenting Grace Bianchi’s/Danielle Ricci’s piece, “Body Image and the Mirror of Distortion: Creating a Self in the Age of Social Media” for their staff and clients. (And gave Grace and Danielle the program’s information from a recent fundraiser I catered.)

7) I am connecting with Deacon Warner of Film North to produce my “Take the Knee” performance and send it to key players in the industry (Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Colbert etc) to begin to break down the myths that “Taking the Knee” is an action that disrespects the flag and that “all white people” are against this form of protest. Some of us are not only allies, but accomplices.

8) I am currently researching options for presenting Laura Mann Hills’ piece on race and identity with her authentic voice, Veronica Quillien into the schools and/or local theaters, as both students and adults desperately need the emotional, educational and “discovering their own identity” aspects of her presentation. This was true for people of color and white people in the audience. It was astonishing!

9) I am in discussion with Chowgirls Killer Catering, Second Harvest Heartland, and Michael Goze to get food donated to the encampment on Cedar and Hiawatha. I am also seeking additional caterers to join this campaign.

10) I am mentoring a young performer – and brought her into the ACW collective – where she wowed us with her prowess as an artistic skater AND her public speaking skills.

11) There are half a dozen other collaborations I am moving forward with, but these are the top 10 so far…