Hello CMW friends, I’m super thrilled to be able to continue to find ways of staying connected to CMW, its amazing people, and the important work being done at 1392 Westminster Street at the intersection of artistry and community relevance.
This year, while continuing in my role directing New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellowship Resource Center, I also have the exciting opportunity to pilot a couple of courses through NEC’s School of Continuing Education. The new course that I’m most jazzed about is called “Building a Community-based Residency” and it’s informed by my many formative experiences through CMW combined with my last three years up in Boston working with Sistema Fellows and learning about community-based artistic and educational initiatives across the country.
Our old friend and course instructor Heath Marlow with Sistema Fellows in Los Angeles
Building on curriculum developed for NEC’s Sistema Fellows Program (2009-2014), the goal of this new course is to develop a holistic understanding of the nuances of creating a successful and sustainable community-based artistic initiative. Participants begin by designing a project that reflects their personal and unique artistic and/or educational vision, and is based in an existing community of their choosing. Over the year, participants will continuously refine their ideas as they incorporate new information that will expand, deepen, and strengthen their concept. As they learn about specific aspects of nonprofit organizations—both strategic (e.g. mission and vision) and operational (e.g. budgeting and fundraising)—these will become incorporated into participants’ blueprints for an organization to support their initiatives.
This course feels like an opportunity to take all of the one-on-one conversations that I have had (with CMW Fellows, Sistema Fellows, IMPS, and many other artists over the years) and streamline them into an efficient, accessible, and repeatable curriculum. When Minna and I checked in over the summer, it seemed clear that there was a potentially excellent opportunity to offer this course in Providence for the four CMW Fellows. So that’s what is going to be happening on seventeen Friday mornings between mid-September and the end of May.
It’s certain to be an interesting learning adventure, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to spend time with the Fellows, sharing my experiences and thinking together. There will be two opportunities for anyone who is interested to stop in and see what this course yields: CMW’s annual “Alternative Models” seminar in January, and an end-of-the-year exhibition (think Science Fair) of the Fellows’ work at the end of May. And maybe even some blogging in this very space?