Member Spotlight: Art of Legohn
Yaminah Legohn’s vision is expansive. Through her multimedia arts and entertainment company, Art of Legohn, she works to inspire, entertain, and educate her audience through performances, arts education, and community engagement. Based in both New York City and Los Angeles, Art of Legohn works to represent Black culture and people of color while providing services to both youths and adults.
As a very recent Fractured Atlas member, Art of Legohn is now able to use fiscal sponsorship to accept tax-deductible donations and to apply for a wider pool of grants, as well as fundraise with more ease overall.
Learn how Art of Legohn uses programming from burlesque classes to health workshops to showcase Black diasporic art and artists, plus advice for other artists and arts organizations to help them get the most out of Fractured Atlas.
In July alone, Art of Legohn will be hosting a robust calendar of virtual events, including urban burlesque, an artist talk with Jon Jõni, and a workshop on building your immune system with Queen Ravenden.
How did you find out about Fractured Atlas and what prompted you to join?
I found out through a friend who used Fractured Atlas before. As a result, I was motivated to join because at the time I was seeking a fiscal sponsor to help support my project. Shout out to S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective.
Tell us about your work. What inspired it and how do you hope it will impact people?
Art o Legohn is a multimedia arts and entertainment company that specializes in dance, music, and visual arts. Our mission is to inspire, entertain, and educate our audience through performances, arts & education programs, productions, and community events. We strive to represent Black culture and people of color while providing services to the youth and adults.
As a Black woman, I felt it was important to target the work and artistry of Black people and people of color because they were not being fully represented in Hollywood and the performing arts industry. I wanted a platform that I could use to express myself as an artist while educating and performing dances from the African diaspora.
I hope to impact people by educating them concerning Black culture through dance, music and art. This will give them a better understanding regarding culture from the African diaspora and, optimistically, gain more respect and awareness for the people and the culture.
Photo Credit: Mike Quain
Describe the process you've taken to bring your project to life. What's been involved?
I created this project in 2010 on my own. I went through the process of speaking to lawyers, accountants, and business consultants to help me understand how to run my company as a business. I decided to copyright my choreography and trademark my company name to protect my work.
When I brought more artists (dancers, musicians, visual artists) into the company, I used my own money and took the time to rent out studio space for training and rehearsal to prepare for performances. I hired a marketing director, social media strategists, stylists, administrative assistants, photographers, videographers, for the purpose of marketing our content properly.
For productions, I purchased costumes for the dancers and paint for the visual artists to use for live art during art exhibitions. I also purchased marketing materials such as flyers, business cards, step and repeat banners, and more.
When finances fell short, I accepted donations from family and friends to help fund my productions and artistic projects.
How do you see the relationship between art and social change? How does your work fit within that?
I see the relationship between art and social change as important because as Nina Simone said, artists reflect the times. Art can influence society by changing beliefs, views, values and perspectives.
Since my work focuses on the African diaspora, I use this knowledge to educate non-Black people as well as inspire and uplift Black people.
I have worked with non-Black educators. I teach them about the cultural differences among their students and help them recognize their own prejudices with respect.
My audiences receive lessons in some shape or form when they attend a performance, art exhibit, or a community event.
What have been your biggest challenges with this project or with your work?
My biggest challenge has been finding candidates who are efficient and can assist me with the administrative and behind the scenes [tasks]. My work ethic is strong and nonstop. Since this company means a lot to me, I need team members that believe in what I’m doing and want to contribute.
A major challenge has been finances. Even though I work hard to bring in funding, it can still be difficult.
Which Fractured Atlas tools and services have you taken advantage of? How have you used them to support your artistic practice?
I have set up my profile in order for my audience to learn more about Art of Legohn as well as accept donations.
Photo Credit: Kenny Rodriguez
What has been most useful to you about your Fractured Atlas membership?
The most useful thing I have used is the profile link and I connected it to all of my websites, so my audience can donate.
What advice do you have for other artists or organizations using Fractured Atlas services? How can they get the most out of it?
Stay updated with what’s going on by following the blog. Make sure your profile is up to date, so your audience can learn more about your project. Share your profile link on all of your social media platforms and send out an email blast.
It looks like you've been busy live streaming! Tell us about your virtual events and programming. What have been the challenges and opportunities you've encountered?
Yes, I’ve been offering live virtual dance classes and was able to bring my students from my physical classes to my virtual platform.
The challenge has been keeping a consistent attendance because there are a lot of virtual outlets. I’ve also noticed that my virtual classes work best when they are donation based.
What's on the horizon for you? Any upcoming events that people should know about?
I am creating content to stay engaged with my audience. I plan to have live artist discussions on the challenges that Black people and people of color encounter in the dance and performing arts industry as well as business tips,
highlighting small businesses, discussing LGBTQ topics, highlighting health tips, and how to build your immune system during COVID- 19. I will continue offering live virtual dance classes and will soon launch my virtual burlesque show (Red Light Special: A Virtual Night of Urban Burlesque) to help raise funds for the company and have a platform for artists to express themselves.
About Nina Berman
Nina Berman lives in New York City and holds an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago. Before joining Fractured Atlas, she covered the publishing industry for an audience of publishers at NetGalley Insights. When she's not interviewing artists or sharing tips for navigating the art world on the Fractured Atlas blog, Nina makes ceramics at Center Point Ceramics Studio, hosts Planet Clambake on Newtown Radio, and is a member of the New Sanctuary Coalition pro-se legal clinic.