When news of Cecilia Giménez’s restoration of the “Ecce Homo” fresco became international news, most people saw a meme and got a quick laugh. The restoration has been called the Beast Jesus or Monkey Jesus and is one of the most notable failed restorations of our time. It spawned internet fame for Giménez and countless jokes and riffs. It also ended up bringing new tourist attention to Borja, the Spanish town where Giménez and her restored fresco lived.
Robbi Hall Kumalo resists easy description as an artist. She identifies as a creator, a healer, and an educator. She has a decades-long history as a performer for audiences of all ages, but primarily for audiences of young people. Her work combines song, dance, storytelling, poetry, and more. For years, she has toured to different cities, towns, and schools and performed for millions of people. She has worked as a solo artist and in collaboration with others.
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Valeria Solomonoff is deep in the world of Argentine Tango. She co-choreographed “Evita” at New York City Center, received awards from ACE and HOLA for work like “Tango por Ellos,” “Tango Fever” and “Doña Flor y Sus Dos Maridos.” She performed for the President of Argentina, created the first all-woman tango company (Tango Mujer), and has taught at NYU Tisch, Hunter College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College.
2020 laid bare the ways that our current systems have been failing artists for a long time. It has also shown us new forms of collective organizing and power-building in the arts and among creative communities. We saw the limitations of individualistic, atomized approaches to succeeding or surviving in the arts, as well as the fragility of formal institutions like museums, galleries, and nonprofits. We have been inspired by artists coming together collectively, pooling resources and sharing information to help support the broader creative community. If we are building a better, more equitable arts sector in the coming year(s), we need to nourish that community.
BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance is a “contemporary dance company of women that capture and communicate universal human encounters through dynamic, purposeful movement.” Founded in 2011, BodyStories brings cultural arts activism into their work, using immersive techniques to empower audiences to engage in performance in new and innovative ways. They create work for their own live performances and teach classes to young, pre-professional, and professional dancers.
Since 2014, Wikitongues has worked to preserve languages at risk of extinction and to revitalize languages that are falling out of use and out of prominence all over the world. The team behind Wikitongues affirms linguistic sovereignty as our global cultural right.
When Sindy I. Castro and Madeline Calandrillo were studying Applied Theatre together, they got to see first-hand how affirming multilingual, participatory theatre was for the children they worked with. So, they started a theatre group to create more of that work. Based in New York City, Jugando N Play creates interactive, multilingual theatre experiences for young people. They want to use their work to help audiences imagine a better, more inclusive future and to bring joy to both their audiences and themselves.
Fractured Atlas exists in a unique place in the arts ecosystem. We work with artists and arts organizations, communicate frequently with colleagues across the arts, nonprofit and creative fields, and seek out other organizations who are experimenting with creating more equitable workplaces.
In addition to the multitude of tips and tools we share with artists, we also tackle some of the bigger questions on the minds of artists and people working in the arts. What are the emotional contours of living as an artist? What does the future of the arts look like? How can you be an artist when the whole world is burning?
When Summer Dawn Reyes found herself frustrated trying to get meaty, non-stereotypical Asian and Hispanic acting roles, she realized that one solution was just to write the roles herself. So, she did. Once she realized how valuable it was for her as a woman of color to be able to express herself fully and authentically as a writer and performer, she expanded her vision to help other creative women of color.