On Thursday, November 12, we hosted the first in our series of virtual community conversations – Community Conversations: Mission, Vision, and Values. Composer, musician, and visual artist, Paul Rucker led this discussion between Washington artists Remelisa Cullitan, Natasha Marin, Matthew Offenbacher, and Christopher Icasiano. Also on screen is Board President Mark Olthoff, Board Vice President Cezanne Garcia, Acting Director Kristina Goetz, and Program Manager Lydia Boss. We encourage you to watch and listen to the conversation in the video below.
If you have any feedback or you’d like to join a future conversation, please fill out feedback form. This conversation and others, as well as feedback shared will help shape our transforming organization as we move forward in community with artists.
Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating live performance, sound, original compositions and visual art. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research and basic human emotions surrounding a particular subject matter. Much of his current work focuses on the Prison Industrial Complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and has collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.
Rucker has received numerous grants, awards and residencies for visual art and music. He is a 2012 Creative Capital Grantee in visual art as well as a 2014, 2018, 2019 MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund Grantee for performance. In 2015 he received a prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant as well as the Mary Sawyer Baker Award. In 2016 Paul received the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist fellowship and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, for which he is the first artist in residence at the new National Museum of African American Culture.
Residencies include MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Art OMI, Banff Centre, Pilchuck Glass School, Rauschenberg Residency, Joan Mitchell Residency, Loghave, Montalvo, Hermitage, Hemera Artist Retreat, Air Serembe, Creative Alliance and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. He will be a Master Teacher at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2021. In 2013-2015, he was the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He was awarded a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2018 TED Fellowship, a 2020 TED Senior Fellowship and the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation and Artist Trust. His most recent award is a 2020 Art for Justice Fund Fellowship. Rucker is an iCubed Arts Research Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and Curator for Creative Collaboration for VCUarts.
Remelisa Cullitan (they/them/their) is a biracial visual artist currently residing in Spokane, WA. They received a mini-grant from smArt Ventures for their “Working With” series in November 2017 during the Artists of Color Expo and Symposium (ACES) in Seattle. They have been a member of Saranac Art Projects, a contemporary artists’ co-op since 2017 and where they exhibited a solo show in January 2019. Remelisa has two public art pieces in Spokane and is a 2018 Artist Trust GAP recipient.
Christopher Icasiano is a Filipino-American percussionist, composer, and curator. He grew up in Redmond, Washington, and has been playing drums since he was eight years old. While studying jazz at the University of Washington, Christopher developed an interest in free-improvisation, experimental, and avant-garde music, which has informed his musical approach ever since. His influences include 90’s R&B, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary classical, folk, metal, and noise, and his music finds intersections between experimental and mainstream. He tours internationally with his drum-sax duo Bad Luck, several folk and pop bands, and as a solo artist.
Natasha Marin (curator of Black Imagination, 2020 McSweeney’s) is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and others. In 2018, Marin manifested BLACK IMAGINATION: The States of Matter, The (g)Listening, and Ritual Objects– a triptych of audio-based, conceptual art exhibitions in and around Seattle, WA. BLACK IMAGINATION is community-based, ongoing, and continues to amplify, center, and hold sacred a diverse sample of Black voices including LGBTQIA+ black youth, incarcerated black women, black folks with disabilities, unsheltered black folks, and black children. Marin’s viral web-based project, Reparations, engaged a quarter of a million people worldwide in the practice of “leveraging privilege,” and earned Marin, a mother of two, death threats by the dozens.
Matt Offenbacher seeks constructive, positive positions at often difficult intersections of individuals, communities, and institutions. His work has been called “freakishly egoless”, vulnerable, funny, and queer. Matt publishes the ‘zine La Norda Specialo and the online art journal New Archives (new-archives.org). He grew up in Portland, Oregon, and currently lives in Seattle.