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April 2021 Arts InFocus

APRIL 2021

Each month, ArtsGreensboro brings you stories about artists, arts organizations, and individuals whose lives are infused with creativity. Join us in celebrating our vibrant city.

Artist In Focus

BY KORINN ANNETTE JEFFERIES, PLAYWRIGHT

My name is Korinn Annette Jefferies, and I am an analyst, creator, and curator of Black theatre. I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in professional Theatre from North CarolinaA&T State University, and I have studied theatre for over twelve years. I primarily work as a playwright, writing plays that approach Blackness as a non-performative, ritualistic and cyclical practice. My play ‘Nigger!: an examination of otherness’ was presented at the 2019 Black Theatre Network Conference and the 2019 NationalBlack Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

My most recent work, ‘the water,’ was featured as a part of the Dramatists Guild’s Footlights Series in 2019, and Piece of Mine Arts Black Women in Theatre Festival in 2020. My works are about being; in my writing, I use the seemingly mundane aspects of the Black experience to connect Black audiences and will them to self-assess through discussion.

Accessibility is a cornerstone of my work. There is no disparity of Black theatre, only a lack of knowledge about its existence, which is largely due to its accessibility. I’ve found that accessibility is not only about cost but location and content as well.

My practice as a dramatist directly serves Black people and the intersectional communities to which they belong. As I continue to develop my craft, I hope to explore Blackness in realms outside of my own and critique Black art without the intrusion of the white gaze.

Learn more and connect with Korinn via:

Twitter/Instagram: @korinnannette
Website: korinnannette.com
Patreon: patreon.com/korinnannette

Arts Happening

BY:GREENSBORO BOUND
VIRTUAL LITERARY FESTIVAL
“21 CONVERSATIONS”
MAY 13-16, 2021

Foust Elementary School of students accessing the Authors Engaging Students presentation with author and illustrator, Don Tate

Greensboro Bound 2021: 21 Conversations brings an array of exciting conversations between North Carolina authors and authors from around the world. With our virtual platform, you don’t even have to be “Greensboro-bound” to enjoy. Over 50 writers will be gathered for panels and conversations that entertain, educate, and address the issues of the day. Featured genres include
Literary Fiction, Short Stories, Non-Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Detective, Young Adult, Poetry, and Cooking.

Authors Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Kaitlyn Greenidge, and Zelda Lockhart participate in a Festival Zoom chat.

Roxane Gay, New York Times best-selling author explores what it means to be a feminist, a woman of color, and quite simply a human being with a body. Edgar-award winner John Hart (The Unwilling), Allan Gurganus (The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All), Indy film legend John Sayles and David Zucchino (Wilmington’s Lie), are all with us. And Candacy Taylor (The Overground Railroad) is in conversation with Natalie Pass-Miller of Greensboro’s Historic
Magnolia House.

In addition to the festival, Greensboro Bound has a strong partnership with Guilford County Schools that includes Authors Engaging Students, which gets authors and books into schools, the Greensboro Bound Children’s Book Festival (the first of its kind in North Carolina), the Spring Break Reading Challenge, and the High School Poet Laureate program.

Visit www.GreensboroBound.com for a full listing of authors and topics.

AG Making it Work

BY CYDNEE MEBANE, ARTSGREENSBORO SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

As an organization dedicated to advocating for the arts, it’s imperative to understand the significant relationship between social platforms and the art community. Social media has become an artistic playground. If I scroll down my Facebook and Instagram feeds right now, in between the foodie videos and cute otters, I’d find an assortment of content from artists across all genres displaying all aspects of the creative process. Skits, painting WIP, singing duets, DIY projects, emoji drawings, and even those insane Tik Tok “dances” – all artists’ creations that dominate the social-sphere. The work that artists are constantly putting out ensures these platforms will always have high engagement, the main goal of any social app. It’s also incredibly useful for the artist, as the number of people who have started their career through social media continues to grow exponentially.

In the past, ArtsGreensboro’s approach to social media has been somewhat passive. We have great initiatives, and our communication of that needs to be intentional on social. For a lot of digital natives, an organization’s Instagram serves as the first landing page before their website. Building ArtGreensboro’s brand awareness and presence on social media are necessary for us and the artists we support. Mainly, that includes creating content that is both engaging, yet informative, which means pictures, pictures, videos, and more pictures! Multimedia content plus a huge dose of voice and tone. We are fueled by the creatives we work with and advocate for, and that liveliness will translate into all our digital marketing efforts.

There’s some great stuff coming down the road on our socials, so make sure you’re following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! We’ve just partnered with local artists to create an original song and video about how artists kept creativity alive during the pandemic. This is a community-fueled project, and we need everyone’s help. Go to artsboro.org to send in your pictures/videos of what you’ve done during the pandemic to keep the arts going!

My Art Story

BY LAURA WAY, ARTSGREENSBORO PRESIDENT & CEO

Laura's sisters, Maggi DeBaecke and Katy Dixon
Laura's nephew, Keith, with his sister, Jill

My nephew Keith died at 15 years old in 1997. My sister Katy was beyond devastated. You would check in with her and ask the dreaded question, “How are you doing?” and her response was always FINE. Women understand the underlying message in”fine.” She grieved but held it in.

In 1998, Katy and my sister Maggi went to Penland School of Crafts for a two-week summer session. Katy took Sammie Nicely’s ceramic Mask Making workshop. I wasn’t there but heard from Maggi that Katy’s shoulders came down from a tensed position over the two weeks, her breathing was deeper, and the raw emotions she held in check were exorcised through working the clay into masks. Scary, demon-looking masks. Strange eyes, distorted faces, metal for hair. The two weeks at Penland started a journey of healing. She was not forgetting but learning how always to have Keith close and not physically present.

A few years later, Penland School of Crafts had a position open, and on a bad day at my job as a CFO of a basic science research institute, I saw it. I knew of Penland, heard all the stories from my sisters of the views and great food, the serenity and creativity, and I thought why not apply. I had a call with the executive director, and she described Penland as the crossroads between nowhere and nowhere else. Undaunted, I was invited to come for a visit, and as I looked out at a view unlike any other, I knew I had to be there.

Penland is a place where artists are around you all day, where conversations at the Pines (where we had communal meals) ranged from what glaze you were using on your pots to global warming, how to warp a loom to how to file your business taxes. And the students, well they came from all over the world for workshops. And the one thing all had in common was they came up the hill, rounded the bend, and saw the main campus, and it took their breath away. And almost every student I met was looking for a life transformative experience. Through art and craft. By making by hand. Each had their reasons to be there, and I didn’t ask. I always remember that when my sister needed a transformational experience, it happened for her there.

I left Penland in 2007—I knew I was ready to be on my journey. It brought me to Greensboro and eventually to my role here at ArtsGreensboro as its president + CEO. But I do go back, even once as a student. I knew the school inside and out, but I too caught my breath when I rounded the bend and saw the campus when I arrived as a workshop attendee because I knew the creative possibilities were endless; I just needed to take them in. Art can change your life. Now my life’s work is making sure art is here so it CAN change your life.