Winter 2015 Artist In Residence: C. Davida Ingram

photo credit: Brenna NardingerWhat sparked your interest in being the Artist-in-Residence at Town Hall Seattle?

A friend of mine recommended me to Stesha Brandon, Town Hall’s previous Program Director, and Town Hall’s convening power is what most interested me in the Artist-in-Residence program.

 

What are you working on right now?

I have been working on a lot of really amazing projects throughout 2015. As part of the City Arts series Genre Bender curated by the amazing Jenn Zeyl (I love everything that she and Andrew Russell are doing at Intiman), I collaborated with the ingenious composer Hanna Benn on a piece entitled “The Deeps” (I returned to this project for my residency at Town Hall). I also worked with brilliant duo Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker and Erika Dalya Massaquoi; they included a new video piece of mine—”Avatar: Fanon & Decca”—in the Frye Genius group show. Additionally, I had the opportunity to co-curate a small photo and video show with Megumi Arai at SOIL Gallery, featuring some of my favorite artists: Rodrigo Valenzuela, Zorn B Taylor, Kat Larson, and Cahn Nguyen. I also had an essay called “The Ataxic Body” published in The James Franco Review.

I don’t make a big distinction between my art and social change work, because both require imagination. I am proudest of being part of Social Justice Fund Northwest’s Fall Momentum grant, which focused on Black-led Organizing, as well as an ongoing project focusing on Black Lives Matter with Pecha Kucha Seattle, Leilani Lewis, and Diana Falchuk.

 

Artist Shaw Osha included me in the group show “Sensations that Announce the Future” at The Evergreen State College, and I had a really inspiring exchange with their students—especially with their students of color.

I have accepted a job at the Seattle Public Library; my dream is to make the library and Town Hall these magical places where you really get to contemplate the world in which we live in exciting, life-changing ways.

I’m currently working on some exciting new projects. For example, I have an upcoming work that will be included in a show curated by Dawn Cerny and Daniel Webb at Greg Kucera.

 

I also plan to complete production of my newest project—“Bodies of Knowledge”—and that means lining up money, and making time to create.

 

But I laugh as I say this, because I honestly might be due for a short break after working on so many projects this year; after I received The Stranger’s Genius Award, I said yes to so many ‘heart-stealing-say-yes-kinds-of-things’—I’m tired (in a good way)!

  

Overall, I’m doing a lot of thinking and reading.

 

How has your time here at Town Hall affected/influenced/supported your work?

The talks by folks like legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, immigrant rights scholar and activist Deepa Iyer, and cartoonist Alison Bechdel all inspired me. I think the programming is outstanding at Town Hall! I really want to commend whoever is getting all the Black Lives Matter programming at Town Hall, because it is an ethical, life-affirming thing to be doing right now and incites great conversations.

I think it’s always important to remember that artists are always inspired by other doers and thinkers. You all do really important work. It’s inspiring—really and truly.

 

How do you feel you have been able to influence Town Hall? 

“Bodies of Knowledge” was probably my most personal work to date; it included aspects of my life that I don’t often share. It might help people understand how my background intersects with my interests—in social justice, creativity, and radical imagination—and with some of my imagery. Even though I am not a videographer, my work uses video, and I understand how the medium is part of our zeitgeist. I often say that I am a writer who went to art school. I love directing. And I also love the connection I have with other people. I will never be the artist who wants to work alone in my studio. When it is time to bring an image to life, I want to bring others in to share my vision, and I want to showcase their work along the way, because I work with amazing people. For example, Inye Wokoma and Andrea A. Stuart-Lehalle are two amazing media professionals that I have recently collaborated with—they know how to make a vision become true.

My work has a long history of representing folks who do vital community work, such as organizing, activism, and cultural work. So when you look at my piece at the Frye, you see the artist Eve Janeen, poet Caitlin Clark, sound artist, singer and arts advocate Lara Davis, and spoken word poet and activist Tiffany Dockery. That was also the case with my specific installation, “I Wish a Mother Would.”

As shown in the examples above and my approach to collaboration, my work constantly widens the awareness of the brilliance found in communities of color, and maybe that’s an influence I have extended at Town Hall.

 

What value would you say the Artist-in-Residence program has for our wider community, if any?

I hope the community knows that it is still very rare to get individual artist support. I have worked in Seattle for a decade and have only received three major grants. In the black community, I am considered an artist who is very privileged in terms of receiving institutional support, but in reality, there are very limited amounts of funds out there, especially once you factor in race and gender. For these reasons, the Artist-in-Residence program at Town Hall is a very vital thing, and I was really honored to be one of this year’s recipients. I hope this resonates with your donors, because I really understand how that broader support translates. From my perspective, The Frye, Intiman, and Town Hall are leading the field in supporting artists and making new work possible.

photo credit: Brenna Nardinger

Town Hall Digital Media Library

Welcome to the Town Hall Media Library
Since 2011, Town Hall has recorded audio and/or video of most of our self-produced events in Civics, Science, and Arts & Culture. The result is our Media Library, a rich trove of over 400 programs, growing every day. It is an easy way to catch something you missed, to revisit a program you particularly enjoyed, or to share it with someone who wasn’t able to attend one of Town Hall’s programs. It is a particular resource to our membership, which enjoys complete access to our entire library reflecting the wealth of ideas and expression Town Hall offers.
Town Hall is committed to access for the whole community, exemplified by our low ticket prices and community-sourced calendar—and this season we’ve made a commitment to live-streaming sold out events, so you will never miss an opportunity to catch a high profile program.

 

Video programs from our Fall 2015 lineup include:

and many more video and audio programs as well!

 

Access our most recent audio and video archive here and find events going back to 2009 using the search tools. You can search by date, series category, topic, specifically audio or video, or keyword.

 

Members can look forward to a further expansion of this content next season—including more live-streaming—when Town Hall produces its Inside/Out season in multiple venues around the city during capital campaign construction.

 

Take a moment to explore Town Hall’s Media Library!

 

Staff Spotlight: Brie Ripley, Digital Media Associate

Brie Photo 3How long have you worked at Town Hall?

I’ve been part of Town Hall’s mötley crüe since early September!

What attracted you to working at Town Hall: Wow, who wouldn’t want to work within a cultural emporium of interconnection?

I’ve long enjoyed producing for Seattle’s local NPR affiliates; I love people – leaning in, listening, and hearing their stories. Now I get to experience stories and ensembles of all kinds, all the time. As the audio and video producer for Town Hall’s online Media Library, my hands get to grace a little part of the magic.

What book could you read over and over again?

That’s easy – I’m reading it again right now: “Still Life With Woodpecker” by Tom Robbins.

Who would you most like to see presented at Town Hall?

I had a dream once that I hung out in the Town Hall green room with Pattie Smith, Carrie Brownstein, Kathleen Hanna and Kim Gordon. We were all eating pizza and reading the “I Saw U” section of The Stranger. But if I had to pick one person I’d most like to see presented, it would have to be my mentor, Arwen Nicks. She taught me everything I know about audio production and the art of being generous and kind. Her life story inspires me to get through any rough stuff by staying true to my gifts, my vision, and myself.

When you are not working, what are you doing?

I’m practicing a lot of things. Making podcasts. Fumbling around with guitar. Texting Arwen for advice. Reading. Stirring a pot of soup.

What is one thing people may not know about you? 

I’m writing a book!

What aspect of your job do you never get tired of?

I never get tired of editing audio. I’m a die-hard public media patron and producer. I’m endlessly blown away by the richness and conviction resonating from the voices of our speakers. They’ve poured countless hours into the preparation and presentation of their stories; we are so lucky that they have decided to come share their findings with our audience. It takes a lot guts to stand up and speak out. But I believe our voices are one of the only things we truly own. So I consider myself very lucky to be a part of Town Hall. Every tuning fork inside me hums when I come into work. Town Hall is home. It’s where my heart is.

Member Spotlight: John Hill

John Hill, Town Hall Member
John Hill
Town Hall Member

Town Hall runs on the foundation of over 3,500 member households that renew their support each year.

Some of our members also support Town Hall by volunteering their time. In fact, Town Hall has an active volunteer corp of over 100 participants who support our 400+ events each season: they work in our box office, take your tickets at the door and usher our patrons into events each evening.

One such participant is John Hill, an active Town Hall member and volunteer.

How long have you been involved with Town Hall?

I think I started attending events at Town Hall in 2004 or 2005… so about 10 years.  It wasn’t until I retired from Boeing in 2010 that I started volunteering.

Were you a member or volunteer first?

I attended events for a year or so before becoming a member.  It was quite a while (too long) before I started volunteering.

What made you want to become a member?

After a year or so of attending lots of events, I was beginning to feel a bit like a freeloader.  Having grown up in Seattle, and having spent most of my life here, I was excited to see Town Hall providing a cultural center with a wide variety of events that were affordable for everyone.  I wanted to do my little bit to help keep it going.

What made you want to become a volunteer?

I’d become a regular at events for several years and began to feel it was time to start contributing something more than my annual dues.  I’d also had a desire to get involved in volunteering during my retirement and this felt like a good opportunity to give a little back to the community and city that I love.

What type of volunteer work do you participate in at Town Hall?

I work at events taking tickets, ushering, and answering questions for patrons.  I also spend a half day each week in the office working with the database administrator doing data entry, stuffing mailers or anything else that might come up.

What is your most memorable volunteer experience at Town Hall?

Well, there is the time I fell down the stairs out front but… really there isn’t any one thing that stands out other than all the great people I’ve been able to meet and talk with -other volunteers, staff members, and patrons.  They’re all a great bunch and fun to work with.

Staff Spotlight: Kevin Malgesini, Capital Campaign Director

Kevin Malgesini, Capital Campaign Director
Kevin Malgesini, Capital Campaign Director
Kevin Malgesini, Capital Campaign Director

How long have you worked at Town Hall?

KM: 2 years

What attracted you to working at Town Hall?

KM: The diversity of programming and intellectual stimulation.  It feels like the best of NPR live.  And I like working for an organization that is so distinctly Seattle.

What book could you read over and over again?

KM: Do I have to pick just one?  The Brother’s K or God Laughs & Plays, both by David James Duncan or The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Who would you most like to see presented at Town Hall?

KM: I like being surprised, going to a program on heritage wheat or a panel discussion on income inequality and learning something I didn’t know I was looking for.  The way all these different schools of thought and ideas about how the world works are reflected and referenced by one another.

When you are not working, what are you doing?

KM: I’m on the board of Intiman Theatre, so spend a lot of time there.  I spend a lot of time with family, I have a lot of nieces and nephews and spend as much time with them as possible.  Beyond that I fit in time with friends, mostly doing things outdoors when the weather permits: hiking, camping, skiing, tennis, just a good long walk and chat with a friend.

What is one thing people may not know about you?

KM: I used to drive a giant tour bus through Alaska, it was a great summer job and taught me so much about good story telling and working with a variety of people.

What aspect of your job do you never get tired of?

KM: Meeting people and hearing their stories.  What gets them excited, where do they feel connected and why do they continue engaging and investing in this great community.

Love This Town: The Campaign for Town Hall

LoveThisTownThousands of people love Town Hall Seattle—and we hope you’re one of them!

We are preparing for a major renovation to give another century of life to this hundred year-old building, and set our 15 year-old organization on a course of long service to this community. To launch the work we’re asking for help from the audiences and organizations who use Town Hall–and appreciate the civics, science and arts & culture programming we help make possible, and accessibly-priced.

The first step is to “Show Your Love!” On September 14 we’re asking everyone who loves Town Hall to endorse our campaign at the website, lovethistown.townhallseattle.org:

I believe Town Hall is a vital resource for our community, a reflection of the creativity and curiosity that make Seattle great. I want to help Town Hall thrive for the next 100 years. I love Town Hall because I love this town.”

It’s that easy! As we start our public campaign, the sheer number of individuals who show their support will send a clear message to major funders how important Town Hall is to all of us.

Coming soon at www.lovethistown.townhallseattle.org .

Partner Profile: Zeno

To some, making math fun might seem—well, as hard as math itself.

Zeno makes it look easy. A non-profit whose mission is to increase children’s competence and confidence in math with fun and engaging activities, last season Zeno partnered with Town Hall to bring engaging math-focused programming like ‘stand-up Mathematician’ Matt Parker, Fields Medal winner Cedric Villani, to name a few. “We like to highlight the work being done in our community,” explains Town Hall Program Director Stesha Brandon,” Zeno brings games to programs for audience members to play with and they have put on post-program workshops, which only enriches the experience for all involved.”

This season’s math-focused programming kicks off on September 14th with an evening with “mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin, who brings the message that while math CAN be seriously complex, it’s also seriously fun. “Town Hall has made it possible for our community to come face-to-face with the people who are showing the world that math can be inspiring, exciting and transformative,” says Zeno’s Development Manager Erin Tierney, “what has struck me is seeing so many of our community members bringing their kids and the whole family along and enjoying seeing math through a new lens.”

Already love math? Then we have the programs for you! Never really felt comfortable with algebra or geometry? We still have the programs for you! Attend one of Town Hall’s math-focused programs and give Zeno, and our speakers, a chance to make math fun and engaging for the whole family.

City Council Debate Series

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF KUOW
CLICK HERE TO GET TO KNOW YOUR DISTRICT!

Summer’s over (or practically over!) but the races for Seattle City Council are just beginning to heat up. This is the first year to feature representation under a new system featuring seven district seats and two at-large seats. Proponents of the change maintain our representatives will be more directly accountable to their constituents, and more responsive to changes in their districts. The goal, they say, is to inspire more direct participation in our local government.

As a civic convener, Town Hall has partnered with neighborhood community groups to produce a debate in each district at a neighborhood venue (from Rainier Valley Cultural Center to Phinney Neighborhood Association), as well as the two at-large debates at the Seattle Central Library in partnership with CityClub. This is the most ambitious political program Town Hall has ever produced, and it is a precursor to next year’s full Town Hall season (currently called Town Hall “Inside/Out”), which will offer programs in venues around the city while we perform major renovation to our First Hill home. More—much more—on that later.

Unlike traditional debates, the format will feature panels of local journalists, community activists, and civic leaders who will represent the diversity of their districts in a very town hall-style conversation. The debates begin on September 17 and will be packaged for broadcast on The Seattle Channel so if you can’t make it to your district debate—or you’re curious about what’s happening across the city—you can watch it from your home.

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