The Art Scene: Dogtown Dance Theatre | Mentor/Apprentice Program | Public Art

(upbeat music)>>On The Art Scene, understanding the power
of our public art.>>I wasn’t a muralist. Someone said,
here’s a free wall, you can do whatever you want to.>>I love the fact that I
can just share something with everybody
that’s in their city. It’s for them to not like
or it’s for them to like.>>Teaching teams theater tech.>>We have an opportunity
for multiple generations to work together as
creative colleagues.>>My apprentice, she has to
run the board every night. It’s really a big adult
level responsibility to put in her hands.>>And creating a thriving
community through dance.>>No matter what your
affinity is or what kind of music you like, there’s
something for everyone here.>>Dance is the celebration. It’s a celebration
of all emotions, happiness, sorrow, anger, love.>>Join us as our
team of performers and artists celebrate
the people and places that create art in Central
Virginia next on The Art Scene. (upbeat music) Hi, everyone, I’m Haliya Roberts and welcome to The Art Scene. Each week on this show,
our resident artists and I will take you inside
the vibrant arts communities that surround us in
Central Virginia. I’m here on the canal
walk in downtown Richmond where in 2012, over a
dozen artists came together to bring life to this old
power plant on the James River during the first ever
RVA Street Festival. Creating murals like these
takes a lot of imagination, a lot of patience,
and a lot of paint, something our own Noah
Scalin knows a little about.>>Richmond is an incredibly
vibrant arts community and I’m really glad
to be a part of it. One of the most exciting things recently has been the
rapid growth in public art. It’s something that
everyone can enjoy, and frankly, is
really satisfying for artists to make as well. We recently talked with
my friends Matt Lively and Hamilton Glass about
the power of public art and the impact it’s
had on their careers. (upbeat music)>>It’s really awesome to
see Richmond go through this public art boom,
especially as someone who’s from a city, who’s
already gone through that boom. I grew up in Philadelphia. I didn’t know it at the time
but that was like my gallery. In Philly, you can’t walk a
block without seeing a mural. And they’re very
community driven. The murals look like me. My high school art teacher
encouraged me to go to VCU. I decided to go into sculpture. And that way, if I didn’t
end up being a professional artist, I could be a
welder, or carpenter. I learned about a
wide variety of tools and equipment and
lots about materials. So when I got out of school,
I was pretty well equipped to do to do whatever.>>I went to architecture
school at Hampton University. I graduated,
practiced architecture for about seven years,
hated every year of it. And the recession hit in 2009 and I had some time to kind of
be me and started making art. Did more art in 2009 than
I’ve ever done in my life. And ran across some
really good opportunities, was asked to do my first mural. I did that mural and fell
in love with the process. I wasn’t a muralist, I
wasn’t known as an artist. It was something
that someone said, “Here’s a free wall, you can
do whatever you want to.” It was a politician
holding a gun to his head. So once I did that,
some people had some complaints about it. It was the first
time that I realized that people were
consuming my art. And so that was the first
time that I thought, “Hey, this is something.” And it also awoken
an accountability to the community in
which these things live. The one that’s my favorite
right now is the one that’s on the intersection
of First and Broad. That was done with
Girls For a Change. And not because of
any aesthetic reason. It’s because the girls
kind of poured their heart and soul into the
meaning of that. And they still
congregate to that now. (guitar music)>>The first thing that I noticed about painting
murals is that before I had any content on the wall, people that were walking by
would would say, “Good job.” And I don’t get that here. It’s just me and my own
demons here in the studio. But out in the world,
when you do a mural, everybody sees it even
whether they want to or not. It’s just there. So the images that I make,
don’t have the same power that Hamilton might
have been talking about. But they have a subtle power that it’s not a
specific message. It’s just a general
message of happiness and collaboration and fun. I love the fact that
I can just share something with everybody. They might not like
it but that’s okay because it’s in their
city, it’s for them to not like or it’s
for them to like. I made about 600 of
these little houses, these little things with
the magnets on the bottom. So I thought that
I would stick these wherever around
Richmond just for people to notice or be curious about
and wonder why it’s there. But they ended up being stolen. People would call me and say, “I found one of your
houses and thanks.” Why don’t you put it back? But it was like their own gifts. And someone contacted
me and wanted to tell me that they had gotten one
and gave it to their mom and when their mom died,
she was buried with it because she said that it made
it feel like family or home. When I thought of it like that, it then occurred to me what
all it might have meant.>>I just try to use the
power of art in general. I have kind of been
trying to be an example of a living, breathing
black artist. Which sounds funny but
the reason I did not go into art was because I
didn’t have an example. So I often do things in
Richmond public schools. When I do those things,
I make it a point to go to the art classes and
talk and do things like that because I think it’s
important for kids to see that you can be anything.>>The water harvesting sculpture
at Bindford Middle was, to me, like a three
dimensional mural. I thought it was important
to include the students because they go to that school. I wanted them to
be invested in it. They all drew what they
wanted to have happen over in that corner
of the middle school. One of the drawings was exactly
like my original drawing but it had cooler ideas
in it than my drawings. So we used that one as the basis to make this sculpture
at the middle.>>Most people think that murals
are this monumental thing because they’re larger
than life and things and that they stay forever. But they’re supposed to go away.>>Hamilton and I
actually worked on one that it took longer
for us to paint it than it actually stayed up. It was painted over
within a couple of weeks. But Hamilton wasn’t
upset at all. He just shrugged it off.>>Okay, it went down. (laughing) If that makes any sense, like it just leaves
room for something else. And maybe the
neighborhood has changed or the places change
and that should happen. I just believe in that
power of art in general. It’s really for
people to experience and then move beyond the art.>>To see more public
art and commissioned art from Hamilton and Matt, check
out Facebook or Instagram.>>Hey, everybody, I’m Roscoe B. and I wouldn’t have become the
poet and performer that I am without the mentors that
guided me along the way. Here at Live Arts
in Charlottesville, they are giving young
people from all walks of life the opportunity
to learn everything about theater from
backstage to on stage. Take a look. (drill buzzing)>>One of the things
that’s really unique about community
theater, at Live Arts and other community theaters, is that we have an opportunity
for multiple generations to work together as
creative colleagues, something we don’t get a lot. There’s always a power hierarchy and there’s something
really special that comes from working with a
team or even younger and seeing them
as creative equals and really feeding
off of each other and collaborating together
in a really meaningful way.>>And that’s how you
cheat a little bit when your blade
isn’t big enough.>>We try to provide
opportunities here that kids won’t get through
their school programming so that we really can
give a lot of extra value. For the mentor apprentice shows, we pair each adult on
the production staff with a teen apprentice. So the set designer
has a set apprentice, the lighting designer has
a lighting apprentice.>>My name is Isaac
Truman Nashville Russell and I go the
Charlottesville High School and I am the apprentice
technical designer for “The Curious Incident of
the Dog in the Nighttime.”>>I started in theater
when I was five years old so I’ve been involved in theater
for more than 30 years now. Specifically technical direction and specifically tech direction
at Live Arts enables me to teach and it
enables me to sort of uplift the people around
me and to spread skill sets, They’re life skills. Learning how to use a
power tool is something you take with you obviously
outside of theater.>>This is actually
the first time they’ve ever done a technical
designer apprenticeship. My duties were to
just work on the set and learn skills and kind of
manage and set lights, sound. We worked mostly with set, build in the whole
kind of Tetris idea. We worked with the set
designer and his apprentice. Jeremy’s a very nice guy. He’s just a very fun
guy to work with. He’s very jokey. I think we have a
good relationship but he can be very professional and can know when
to bar that line between professionalism
and just having fun. I think he’s a great teacher.>>When Isaac first came in,
he was very soft spoken. Over the course of
our process together, it’s been really
nice to see him go from a really kind of
quiet kid to somebody who’s out there working with us and he’s trading barbs
with the rest of us and he’s teasing me
and he’s right there with me asking
questions and working and I hope he’s
learning as well.>>Do you know your
father’s phone number?>>I love theater because
I love talking to people and I love meeting new people and getting involved
in the community. Theater has always
been a accepting environment for just anyone. I am Ella Anthony,
I am a sophomore at Monticello High School and I am the apprentice
sound designer. I love music, I play
a lot of instruments, and I love just
music in general. So doing sound
makes me just feel like there’s a place
for me at theater. This show, we started very
early, we started in November.>>Sound designer means
that you are trying to help tell the
story through sound. Depending on the show,
that might just be a couple of music cues or an
effect to make thunder or lightning or
something like that. On this particular show, the
show has almost 60 scenes that quickly change
time and place. So the goal is to help
orient the audience through sound and through
other technical means to where they are so
that they will never feel confused about their place.>>Did you mean to
hit the policeman?>>Yes. (audience laughing)>>I’m Kai Landers. I’m a sophomore at
Monticello High School and I’m a lighting
design apprentice. When we’re getting
things sorted out, it’s all about
production meetings, planning out lighting
specifically for this. Like what kind of relationship it’ll have with set, with sound.>>My relationship with Kai, it’s been a very
open relationship. Especially because I came to it without having ever done
something like this before. He was very open and just wanted to learn anything
that I had to offer.>>It’s a learning experience. It helps you
develop as a person. And it starts off being kind
of stressful, of course, but then you find yourself
in a groove of it all. Once the production
meetings are over, then it’s opening night.>>Hello everyone,
welcome to Live Arts. (audience applauding)>>I’m out of the picture
now but my apprentice, she has to run the
board every night, which means that she has
to be totally keyed in and focused on hitting
all 140 of those cues. It’s really a big adult
level responsibility to put in her hands.>>Kai has taken all of
the notes that I’ve given and has asked the
right questions and he’s been amazing
during the run of the show.>>It’s a lot of hard work. They do come and do
a lot of hard work. But there’s a little opportunity
here and there for fun and they certainly, I see
friendships being made and maintained over the years. And it really warms my heart.>>You killed the dog.>>I did not kill the dog.>>You now admit it is wrong, you lied to a policeman.>>I made the choice
to come here. And it’s because of the
way Live Arts engages with this community. It’s very direct.>>With every show, what
we keep talking about is what is the reason
for this show? How does it speak
to our community? What voices is it
reflecting in our community? And how does it serve
both our volunteer base and our audience base?>>Our mission and our
goal very actively is to create inclusive
and accessible work. That’s what we’re actively
striving for is to create that space for everyone
to feel really safe, to expand, and to
experiment and to fail. Because if we don’t mess
up and we don’t fail then we’re not learning. (audience applauding)>>And now, enjoy our production of the “The Curious Incident
of the Dog in the Nighttime.” (audience applauding)>>If you want to
learn more about their mentor apprentice program, classes, or live theater
events happening at Live Arts, check out their website or
follow them on social media.>>Hi, I’m Bianca Bryan
and I’ve been a performer for over 20 years, mostly
a singer and an actor and dance, I would say,
is not my specialty. But here at Dogtown Dance, they apparently have
something for everybody. So let’s give it a whirl. (hip hop music)>>Dance is the celebration. It’s the celebration
of all emotions, happiness, sorrow, anger, love. And there are people
that don’t have words. And that’s actually why
I began dance myself. My name is Rob Petres
and I’m the founder of Dogtown Dance Theater.>>One and, do it
with me, one and two.>>The space was
intended to fill a gap. And there’s a lot of artists
that graduate from VCU and a lot of artists
that don’t have anything to do with them that are here in Richmond but
they have no space.>>Get your feet a little
bit further apart.>>The space was a gymnasium that served a high
school and middle school. We had to redo virtually
everything inside of it. The local artists
started to show and eventually one of those
artists is the executive director that I hired
to replace myself.>>I am Jess Burgess. I’m the artistic and
executive director here at Dogtown Dance Theater
located in Manchester, Richmond And Dogtown’s mission
is to provide a home and the resources for
independent artists so that they can
succeed and thrive. When we first opened in
2010, we were home to about maybe seven to
15 different artists. We’ve grown
tremendously since then. Now here in 2019, we serve
over 350 different artists. We don’t operate like a
traditional dance studio or dance school, if you will. Dogtown does not collect
tuition from any students that come in through our doors. What we do is offer
subsidized space for dance artists to host
classes, workshops, etc. And then they can in turn
determine their own fate in terms of what is
their price points that they want to
charge students, how many classes a week do
they want to offer, etc. (tap shoes clapping) When we first opened in 2010, we were home to about maybe
seven to 15 different artists. We’ve grown
tremendously since then. Now here in 2019, we serve
over 350 different artists. Traditional dance such
as ballet, modern, but then we also
have cultural dance, African, flamenco,
salsa, Filipino. We also have a very robust
hip hop program here.>>Five, six, five,
six, seven, eight. (hip hop music)>>One of our largest
success stories, in terms of an artist
coming in brand new to the organization
and really taking off is Richmond Urban Dance.>>My name is Christina Cooper. I am the Assistant Director
of Richmond Urban Dance. We are a street style
only dance organization. We focus on all ages
and all skill levels.>>They started as a completely street dance organization,
they were out rehearsing and having classes
literally in parks and in the streets and
in empty parking lots.>>We reached this
point of growth where we had so many
people come into class, we couldn’t fit everybody. So we found Dogtown. That’s been fantastic
for our growth. We can hold multiple classes, like on Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursdays. So that’s been fantastic.>>Push forward. Now take your right hand
and put it underneath and dip, dip, dip.>>Artists, a lot of
time and especially dance artists
performing artists, are focusing on their technique, they’re focusing on
their performing skills, on their pedagogy,
on choreography. Very rarely are
artists concerned with the the
entrepreneurial side or the business aspect of
being a successful artist. So our major program is called
the Artist Resource Program. What that program does,
it’s a year round, and it provides support
in marketing and PR and helping just build
awareness for their classes, their performances,
their programs. It can also include
technical support for self production in
the main stage theater. So it really does spread a
lot of different skill sets that we’re trying to help
artists develop and create. Because ultimately,
the end goal is that these artists in Richmond
become sustainable on their own and make a more
thriving artistic community.>>So you’re here, you’re here, you hold it for half a second. Put it down just like
this, come back and cheer.>>Dance is this is
universal language. We’ve had some success
stories with our kids. For the younger kids, let’s
say someone’s getting bullied or someone’s having a
hard time fitting in and kind of finding that group, they have found
that group with us, very inclusive, very supportive. Then with adults,
it’s the same thing. We still have that
yearning for belongingness and we wanna try new
things and we’re not there to be professional dancers,
we just wanna have fun.>>Dance is a really unique
and fundamental component. It teaches creativity,
It teaches team building, working with others,
and discipline. (tap shoes clicking)>>A big part of Richard
Urban Dance is offering our students scholarships
if they’re needed. So financial base, we offer
partial and full assistance. We want to make sure
we’re giving kids and adults the opportunity
to come to class even if their current financial
situation does not
afford them that. That’s a big part of what we do so the more we grow, the more
scholarships we can offer.>>Over 80% of her students
are on scholarship. And that, to me, is
what it’s all about. Art is something that needs
to be consumed by society. I think by being a nonprofit, it allows us to really
serve the artists and audiences that we do
serve in a unique way based on the fact that every
dollar that comes in through our doors be it through
the Artist Resource Program, grant funding, or donors,
those dollars are going right back into the
artist to make sure that they get the resources
they need to be successful.>>There’s too much talent
that leaves Richmond because there aren’t
places for them to work. And that’s what it was all
about, creating that space.>>Dogtown is trying
to build a sense of this community within artists so that we can work
together, we can collaborate, we can produce work, we can
share work, we can share space, to ultimately just make the
community a better place to live, a better
place to grow up, a place that that
folks want to come to. (tap shoes clicking)>>To learn more about
the events and classes that Dogtown hosts, go to
their website for details. They’re available for all
ages and the best part, some of them are free.>>If you have an event
or story idea you’d like to see on The Art
Scene, connect with us on social media or
send us an email. Thanks for watching. Join us next time
for more stories about the amazing
art in your area. And remember, whether
you see it, hear it, or make it, it’s a
part of the art scene. (upbeat music) (piano music)

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *