Artist residency program looks to provide more feedback and dialogue on process and product

The artist residency program [nueBOX] opening at the Phoenix Center for the Arts was started by Julie Akerly and Matthew Mosher to focus on the artist’s process, not just the final product. (Johanna Huck/DD)

A new residency program for emerging installation and performance artists in Phoenix will open Feb. 5 at the Phoenix Center for the Arts on Moreland and Third streets.

[nueBOX] will provide a place for artists to rehearse work, build installations, have discussions and display work. The program will focus on the process as well as the finished product and provide the community opportunities to observe its resident artists at work.

Artists will also be able to benefit from Critical Response, a feedback method created by Washington D.C.-based artist Liz Lerman, said Julie Akerly, co-director of the program. They will be using this during feedback sessions for artists as they work through the program.

“It was kind of one of those things that we wanted to exist in the world for ourselves and it didn’t exist in Phoenix, so we decided to be the ones to make it,” Akerly said.

Akerly and co-director Matthew Mosher are both alumni of graduate programs at ASU. Akerly has an MFA in dance and interdisciplinary media and performance, and Mosher has an MFA in intermedia. They said most of their fellow graduate students and a majority of art students in Phoenix were planning to leave the city after graduation, according to a survey they conducted.

“A huge thing was that it was hard to find affordable space in order to create work here,” Akerly said.

Akerly said she hopes [nueBOX] will encourage artists to stay in Phoenix after they graduate.

“We’re just hoping that there is more dialogue about what people are making and what they are going through during it instead of just seeing the final product,” she said.

The program will offer three- and six-month residency programs to performance artists and three-week residencies to installation artists. Akerly said she is looking for people who want to try something new and need a place to explore and find a new voice for themselves.

Applicants Diane McNeal Hunt and Jordan Daniels said they are looking for just that.

(Johanna Huck, DD)
One goal of [nueBOX] is to encourage graduating art students to remain in Phoenix by giving them a space to work together and have dialogue about their art. (Johanna Huck/DD)

Hunt is a modern- and contemporary-dance choreographer for Elevate DanceWorks and the resident choreographer for Center Dance Ensemble.

If granted the residency, she said she hopes to use the space to choreograph with the company dancers at Elevate DanceWorks and to collaborate with a symphonic ensemble. She said as a choreographer, she values input as a vital part of her artistic process.

“What really appealed to me was it being an open process and having showings and getting feedback,” Hunt said.

Hunt and Elevate DanceWorks have concert dates scheduled for the end of the summer at Tempe Center for the Arts. If they are granted the residency, the artistic process would lead up to a final display of the work created.

“People who might be interested to come and see the process would then get to see how it would end up on a state-of-the-art theater stage,” Hunt said.

Daniels is a dancer and head of future-dance performance-art company JordanDanielsDance. He said he hopes the company, through collaboration and its [nueBOX] residency, will be a successful mixed-media ensemble that presents original film, music, visual art and community collaboration inside of its “dance” creations.

“It seems to me the belief of [nueBOX] is to get the work completed in a professional manner and shown to the public, which are two huge hurdles when taking on the task of creating a company,” Daniels said.

If granted the residency, Daniels — with the help of local professionals and an audition class — will form his company, which will offer weekly classes to the public and have monthly showings of the repertoire and a spring performance season. His plan is to incorporate the talents of local artists through music, lighting design and dance to form a strong final product.

The submission deadline for first call for artists is Dec. 3, and the artists-in-residence will be announced beginning Dec. 13.

Editor’s note: Julie Akerly reviews dance shows for the Downtown Devil theater column, Curtain Critic.

Correction: Dec. 8, 2014: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Liz Lerman’s relationship with the residency program.

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