Kristy Edmunds: Creating community through performing arts
Works In Progress
What is the role of the performing arts, while theaters sit empty and large gatherings are banned? That question has been at the forefront for artist and curator Kristy Edmunds. She’s the executive and artistic director of UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance. The public arts organization has been "using every tool at our disposal to find ways to carry things forward [and] migrate what resources we have directly to artists.”Edmunds will be a panelist at the next “UCLA 10 Questions: Reckoning” event on Oct. 26, responding to the question “What Is Kindness?" For this episode of Works In Progress, she discusses kindness in her work, and the challenges facing CAP UCLA and other performing arts centers during this period of extreme uncertainty.
Hello everyone and welcome back to Speaking of the Arts. My guest today is Kristy Edmunds. Kristy currently serves as the Executive and Artistic Director for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance https://cap.ucla.edu/ . Prior to this, Edmunds was the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)https://www.pica.org/ and the TBA Festival (Time Based Art) in Portland, Oregon https://www.pica.org/tba/ . She was the Artistic Director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival https://2019.festival.melbourne/ from 2005 to 2008, and was the first to serve an unprecedented four-year term. Upon completion she was appointed as the Head of the School of Performing Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts/University of Melbourne, and after one year became the Deputy Dean for the College. Concurrently, Edmunds worked as the inaugural Consulting Artistic Director for the now critically heralded Park Avenue Armory in New York (2009–2012)http://www.armoryonpark.org/ . Our conversation took place during mid May. We talked about the unique relationship between artists, producers, managers and agents and how social distancing has completely changed this dynamic. Kristy also spoke about some of the scenarios she is exploring with her team at CAP UCLA https://cap.ucla.edu/ for future presentations as well as some very important resources that artists can take advantage of right now. These include Americans for the Arts and ArtistsRelief.org https://www.artistrelief.org/ . The latter is a fund which is currently awarding $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19. You can go do ArtistsRelief.org to learn more about this. I am grateful for Kristy’s time and I think you find find this conversation both very honest in terms of where the performing arts are currently at as well as inspiring. Thank you for listening everyone.
Today on episode 038, Paul Holdengräber is joined by the Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, Kristy Edmunds. Paul and Kristy discuss the solace found in the arts, and how we now have an opportunity, because of this pandemic, to think about how the arts can be supported, in the hopes that they might still exist for future generations to enjoy.Kristy Edmunds is an artist, curator, frequent keynote speaker and currently the Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA), a leading presenter of contemporary performance on the West Coast.FootnotesUCLA Center for the Art of PerformanceLadysmith Black Mambazo at UCLA Center for the Art of PerformanceWim Wenders: “The most political decision you make is where you direct people's eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political...And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change.”
7 | KRISTY EDMUNDS – Exec/Artistic Director, Center for the Art of Performance, UCLA
SUE Speaks Podcast: Searching for Unity in Everything
ShownotesAs an artist, curator, artistic director and frequent keynote speaker internationally, Kristy Edmunds has a reputation for innovation and depth in the presentation of contemporary performing arts. In collaboration with master artists, she has curated unique platforms that survey the breadth of their artistry, while placing equal emphasis on the support and commissioning of new work by some of today’s leading performance creators across disciplines.Edmunds was the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) and the TBA Festival (Time Based Art) in Portland, Oregon. She was the Artistic Director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival from 2005 to 2008, and was the first to serve an unprecedented four-year term. Upon completion she was appointed as the Head of the School of Performing Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts/University of Melbourne, and after one year became the Deputy Dean for the College.Concurrently, Edmunds worked as the inaugural Consulting Artistic Director for the now critically heralded Park Avenue Armory in New York (2009–2012). Curating the initial three years of programming, she established the formative identity of the PAA with commissioned work by artists such as Ann Hamilton, the final performance event of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Tom Sachs, Janet Cardiff, STREB, Ryoji Ikeda, and the Tune-In Festival with Philip Glass and many others.Edmunds’ robust career has included work as a visual artist, an independent filmmaker, a playwright, a director and a teacher. She holds a bachelor’s in film direction from Montana State University and a master’s in playwriting and theater direction from Western Washington University. In recognition of her contribution to the arts, Edmunds was bestowed with the honor of Chevalier (Knight) de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2016.She is married with two sons, and now calls Los Angeles home. She is the Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, one of the nation’s leading presenting organizations for contemporary performing artists.Become a CAP donor/member.Kristy writes about covidMore about KristyKristy Edmunds websiteKristy’s mission – “I love building synergies between people. How do we gather around some form of expressive truth that connects us from being strangers to being part of something, part of a common experience, part of a sense of discovery or being illuminated to one another’s plights? Artists are the bridge between a kind of expressive truth that makes us feel more awake to the world, and we can find camaraderie all over the world with people who have a relationship to that artist or to that project or to that art form. It’s literally a way of knitting together a river of culture throughout the world.”Kristy’s one-line message to the world – “Get it together.”The SUE Speaks Blog Post about Kristy EdmundsTalking points from this episode Childhood in a family of artisans and craftspeople. Their dedication for the love of it. Making arty things in childhood and eventually majored in filmmaker to tell stories. Wanted to understand artists so became producer. Thousands of artists she’s worked with. Bringing their work along. Responsibility to deliver their ideas. What this season for CAP will be: dance, jazz, global music, theater international and local, cultural commentators, many different kinds of artisitic literacies. Gives some specific examples. Challenge of time we’re living in to get audience – people on overwhelm. And things like visas, given this administration – challenge of bringing in international work. But she has an eternal optimism. Doesn’t give up. Great triumph founding the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Work for the institution or the people? Triumph of success for the people. When she supposedly cannot, she just works harder. And, triumph to shift the institution of UCLA Live – from populist and fading to progressive that became The Center for the Art of Performance. Challenge for emerging artists to get a chance. Given market forces, risks not being taken in the commercial world.Purchase of old Crest Theater – history of the small venue UCLA just bought for young artists to emerge. Nimoy Theater now — donated in honor of Leonard by wife, Susan. Needs some $8M to restore and deliver for fall 2021. Will develop things for small companies and other programs that don’t have a market reach. Kristy’s “Evolutionary Ideas” in the arts: using the wealth of the 1% to improve the world, redirect the military budget, put artist-in-residence in every bureaucracy. “Caretaker mode”: a time between new governments in Australia – rethink bureaucracy for being there to protect and serve.
Question: Who’s the only artistic director of a major world player arts program that also happens to be able to say they had a full athletic scholarship to Montana State University to play volleyball? I know,this is a gimme question but for those few of you that don’t already know the answer please allow us to introduce you to Kristy Edmunds. Kristy runs Center for The Art Of Performance or as it’s more well known “CAP”. UCLA’s spectacular performing arts center. Mowo! sat down with Kristy and had an entertaining and frank discussion about the experience of running an arts program and her journey as an artist in her own right.While still in her 20’s in 1995 Kristy founded the Portland Institute For the Contemporary Arts (PICA) which is still going strong. Kristy then left the United States and ran the highly creative and influential Melbourne International Arts Festival from 2005-2008. When she finished up her unprecedented 4 year run there she then served as the Deputy Dean of Victorian College of The Arts at The University Of Melbourne. Having said that we’ve reached a new all time high here at the Compared To What Podcast a Dean has joined us and we just used the adjective “unprecedented” …heady stuff for us.The Dean is here so behave or you will be put on double secret probation dear listener. Kristy is the perfect addition to the show. No pretense , no bullshit. Kristy’s a straight shooter who is in it for the love of the experience of discovering and presenting new and bold things in all aspects of art. She is the master of provoking folks into caring about the arts. A real defender of the arts and why they really matter who also happens to want to run a hotdog cart with an open mic. She can also play some mean volleyball. it’s win win people……enjoy! audio:http://www.comparedtowhatpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ComparedToWhatPodcast-TheKristyEdmundsConversation.mp3 CLICK THE LINK AND WIN THE ROYAL DENMARK LOTTERY!!!!