reflect / project is an ongoing exhibition series featuring socially engaged video work by artists who identify as LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, and/or persons of color.
The reflect / project exhibition series originated in fall 2020. This series grew from the racial reckoning, shifting policy regarding LGBTQIA+ people, and the global pandemic that cracked open a vision of long-standing inequity. reflect / project serves to amplify underrepresented artists while creating a public space for viewers to consider their position in our rapidly changing world. Artists have responded to violence and discrimination throughout history and the creative works that emerged have endured over time. They become the artifacts that society measures us by, how we are remembered, and a guide to the future.
Works are projected on the street-facing gallery wall of the subCulture Lab at Mid-America Arts Alliance for one month, with new content premiering on the first Friday of each month. Additionally, selected artists will be asked to choose two artists (of any discipline) whose work will be hosted online as a complement to the work displayed in the subCulture Lab.
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) is pleased to present the December reflect / project exhibition from Cedar Park, Texas artist Virginia Grise. Grise’s work Soñar es luchar will be projected in M-AAA’s storefront gallery starting December 4 from 7:00–9:00 p.m. and occurring every day through January 7. The work will be available for viewing online through February 5, if you missed it in person!
Soñar es luchar (Dreaming is Fighting) is a lucid dream about wild fires, urban rebellions, and the longing to fly, from a script originally commissioned by The Sol Project. Set in a cotton field in South Texas, it is a conversation between The Woman Who Dreams and The Girl Who Sleeps All Day. Produced by allgo and directed by Kendra Ware, Soñar es luchar was filmed on iPhones during the pandemic, and features performances by Marlene Beltran, Sharon Bridgforth, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Lydia Li, and Paula Alvarez-Espinosa.
Virginia Grise, Soñar es luchar, 2020; video, Time: 10:39; Courtesy of the artist
Virginia Grise, video stills from Soñar es luchar, 2020; video, Time: 10:39; Courtesy of the artist
Project 1: 365 Days of Antidrugs (3 videos)
In 2016, after experiencing meth-induced psychosis, I cried out for help with my addiction. My cries took the form of these videos which I’d intended to do one a day for a year. I did 45.
Project 2: I Learned About Pandemics from Obsolete Signals (1 video)
I wrote the script for this video shortly after the shutdown began. It’s an attempt at understanding how we process traumatic information with obsolete technologies and metaphors.
From panzas to prisons, from street theatre to large-scale multimedia performances, from princess to chafa—Virginia Grise writes plays that are set in bars without windows, barrio rooftops, and lesbian bedrooms. Her published work includes Your Healing is Killing Me (Plays Inverse Press), blu (Yale University Press), The Panza Monologues co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press), and an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations with Don Durito (Autonomedia Press). Grise is a recipient of the Yale Drama Award, Whiting Writers’ Award, the Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing, and the Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center. She is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the Women’s Project Theatre Lab, and the NALAC Leadership Institute.
In addition to plays, she has created a body of work that is interdisciplinary and includes multimedia performance, dance theater, performance installations, guerilla theater, site specific interventions, and community gatherings. Grise has taught writing for performance at the university level, as a public school teacher, in community centers, women’s prisons and in the juvenile correction system. She holds an MFA in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts and is the Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Cara Mía Theatre.
To visit an archive of August’s works by Campbell, Lydia Cheshewalla, and Christina Beatty, click here.
Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer of African American, Filipino, and Chinese descents whose work engages with the intersection of witnessing and public secrets. Campbell finds complexity in the public secret, or a fragment of information which is known by many, but perhaps undertold, unspoken, or underacknowledged.
Recent works revisit questions of immortality and medical ethics with Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cell line, ponder the role of a political monument and displacement in a shifting Swedish coastal landscape, and salvage a 35mm film from a demolished Black Civil Rights theater in Brooklyn as a relic of gentrification. Campbell engages with sonic, material, and archival traces of the witness through film/video, live performance, installation, sound, painting, and writing.
In a forthcoming fellowship appointment at the Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center, Campbell will continue work on SLICK, an experimental feature film centering the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its longstanding effects on the city of Tulsa. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre marks one of the most hushed incidents of racially motivated domestic terrorism in the United States, with over 300 people killed and 35 blocks of businesses and homes in the predominately Black community of Greenwood destroyed.
Campbell exhibits and screens internationally: The Drawing Center (US), Nest (Netherlands), ICA-Philadelphia (US), Artissima (IT), Studio Museum of Harlem (US), Project Row Houses (US), Visual Studies Workshop (US), and SculptureCenter (US), amongst others. Select honors and awards include: Pollock-Krasner Award, MAP Fund, MacDowell, M-AAA, Skowhegan, Rijksakademie, Whitney ISP, VCCA Alonzo Davis Fellowship, and Flaherty Film Seminar Fellowship.
Campbell is a concurrent Tulsa Artist Fellow and Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center & David and Roberta Logie Fellow (2020-2021) who lives and works in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
To access McKinney’s work and other information about this exhibition, visit this page.
Adam W. McKinney is a former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet Company. He has led dance work across the US and in Benin, Canada, England, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Palestine, Poland, Rwanda, Serbia, Spain, and South Africa. Named one of the most influential African Americans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by St. Vincent DePaul, McKinney is the Co-Director of DNAWORKS LLC, an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. He holds a BFA with high honors in Dance Performance from Butler University and an MA in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories from NYU-Gallatin. McKinney is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He was recently selected to participate in Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Interchange program, designed to strengthen communities and individual artists within our region by supporting artist-led projects focused on social impact.
McKinney is featuring artists Zeus Hope and Najeeb Sabour.
View Lyle’s exhibition here.
Kristen Lyle’s background in the social sciences and community organizing informs her interest in art and graphic design as a communication tool. She uses both digital and handmade techniques, including video, graphic design, historical photographic processes, printmaking, and letterpress. Inspired by artists such as Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, and Glenn Ligon, Kristen’s work aims to draw attention to voices that fall outside the “norm” in order to critically examine the visual media that we create and consume, particularly the ways in which art and design can perpetuate unexamined ideologies. Her work encourages explicit conversation about these ideas, in order to foster deeper intentionality as we engage creatively with the world around us.
Visit Kristen’s website or find her on Instagram at instagram.com/interstitial
View Thomas’s exhibition here.
Câmi Thomas is a documentary filmmaker, photojournalist, professional marketer, and writer. In 2017, Thomas directed Smoke City, a documentary series and collection of episodes that explores post-Ferguson St. Louis, and attempts to dismantle the racial divide by introducing viewers to the city’s most misunderstood residents. She displayed her first photojournalism project titled Saint Scrimmage in a solo exhibition at the Chicago Art Department on August 29th 2019, as part of the AMFM Pink Things Pop-Up. She was a featured artist in an augmented reality 3D exhibition by Huffpost, RYOT, and All Black Creatives, titled Art is Revolution. Thomas is currently a Harvard Fellow as part of the Commonwealth Project through the Charles Warren Center. She speaks on race relations in America, the importance of digital storytelling as a catalyst for change, art as activism, and how brands can utilize storytelling techniques to better connect with their audience. Visit her website or Instagram.
reflect / project will take a break from presenting in January. In February and March, we will be presenting a retrospective from the first half of the project. Stay tuned!
reflect / project is an extension of Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Interchange program in collaboration with its Arts and Humanities Programming Division. It is supported in part by the City of Kansas City, Missouri Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund.