This week: After an inexcusably self-indulgent, alcohol fueled intro where Duncan, Richard, Dana and Emily and Nick from ACRE join us, we get on to an excellent interview. Part three of our St. Louis series recorded at the Contemporary Art Museum-St. Louis. This time we talk to Juan William Chavez and Kiersten Torrez about the Northside Workshop, bees, social practice, and record an advert for penicillin.
Northside Workshop (NSW)
Northside Workshop (NSW) is a non-profit art space dedicated to addressing cultural and community issues in North Saint Louis. Our programming focuses on incorporating socially engaged art and education with the goal of fostering social progress in North Saint Louis communities.
In 2010, a collaboration with the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation and artist/cultural activist Juan William Chavez began an intervention to regenerate a historic North Saint Louis brick building in danger of being destroyed. Two years in the making, this building is now transformed into a dynamic community art space.
Juan William Chavez
Founder and Director
Juan William Chavez (born in Lima, Peru) is an artist and cultural activist whose studio practice focuses on the potential of space by developing creative initiatives that address community and cultural issues. His projects include Urban Expression for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Northside Workshop and the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary. His awards include the Art Matters Grant, the Missouri Arts Award and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In 2012, Chavez received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
Director of Programming & Sustainability
Kiersten Torrez is an arts organizer focused on innovative sustainable practices. She has aided in developing community-based projects such as Beautification of Vacant Space, the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary and Team Cookbook (creative workshops designed to community build through the sharing of recipes and stories in Old North Saint Louis). Torrez is currently planning a Year of Listening, a series of socially engaged events focused on co–generating programs to address the physical and social dimensions of the Old North Saint Louis neighborhood.
This week: Part 2 of our residency project at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis! This week we talk to critic, poet, gallerist, the award winning Director of the Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts Director and Art in America contributor Jessica Baran. This was one of those interviews that I will look upon as a personal favorite. Besides Bad at Sports declares war on Art News. What could be better.
Jessica Baran is the author of the poetry collections “Remains to be Used” (Apostrophe Books, 2010) and “Equivalents” (winner of the Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award, forthcoming from Lost Roads Press, 2013), as well as the poetry chapbook, “Late and Soon, Getting and Spending,” produced by All Along Press (2011). She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is a freelance art writer and co-curator of the fort gondo poetry series.