Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three Baltimore posts of mine on Facebook

Hey there,

So I thought I'd reshare posts that seemed to resonate with some of my Facebook friends.


Not sharing this to oversimplify things, but doing it to share just one story. One of a multitude of nuanced stories in...
Posted by JR Nexus Russ on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

And this:

Know your history, even with the words we use...eSPEcially with the words we use. What's more interesting are the...
Posted by JR Nexus Russ on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AND this:
This...ALL of this.
Thank you for sharing, Jerry!! And please, keep comments relevant to this post, which is just a...
Posted by JR Nexus Russ on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Curious to hear what you think,


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Burning Man helped distill what being Nexus meant

So I wanted to elaborate a bit on this Tweet:
This distillation of values to the R.O.C.K. cXn has been absolutely descriptive and iterative in the process.

The R.O.C.K. cXn (because cXn is an abbreviation used for connection, just in case you hadn't seen that before).

Still seems a little weird to see it so succinctly defined, to the point where I was wondering if I might have just liked it and/or thought about it because the Washingtonian in me loves acronyms.

[I will admit, I LOVED that an abbreviation for connection was 'cXn', as I've played with spelling 'Nexus' with only the X capitalized, so 'neXus'. But I digress...]

And while I do like it for that, for the acronym, I do realize that "the R.O.C.K. cXn" really describes my own path and journey as an artist and arts administrator.

One example where that is more than clear has been this effort to create a documentary about Nation, a significant club and venue in the DC area, which closed in 2006.

Oh, and here is the FB page, in case you're interested.
So, a major challenge and opportunity is how the venue was a place where multiple, disparate communities came together, not always at the same time, but nevertheless it was a kind of home to all of them, the goth/industrial crowd on Thursday, the rave/EDM crowd on Friday, and the LGBT crowd on Saturday.

But because of that, some folks only have a particular association and affiliation with Nation. And so, part of getting folks interested in and building up support for the project has been explaining to the folks that it's not just going to be about the gay scene there, or the rave community in the DC area, but this very special place where we all gathered pretty regularly.

Anyway, just wanted to put that out there. As it's really been informing my efforts, both professionally at work as well as personally with all of my other endeavors, some of which have been gathering dust but are now moving forward.

Thank you for letting me share!!

- JR aka Nexus

Ingress Field Art

[A post from Facebook]
Some of you may have heard me talk about Ingress. I don't think I've shared some of the Ingress Art out there... What's...
Posted by JR Nexus Russ on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My 1st Burning Man Global Leadership Conference...Storify'ed!!

Hey there,

Thought I'd just put these in one place. I went to my first Burning Man Global Leadership Conference over the weekend, and it was aMAZing!!

Relive it in bytes of 140 characters or less, day by day right below.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

So very honored to have been invited to attend!!

Can't wait until next year - Nexus

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Verizon's in-store app hooked me

Hey there,

So I wanted to buy an extra portable charger for my SF trip and I barely step in the store, when I see a notification I'd never seen before pop up on my phone.

It's the Verizon one, in case you were wondering. Anyway, if you know me, you know how irresistible this is, so I click on it to see what happens.

That's pretty cool. I mean it's not like it didn't know where I was, anyway. And the handful of employees there were occupied, anyway. So I explore.

It's making this real easy. I walk around and find exactly what I'm looking for. And, as instructed, I can just scan and pay from my phone. So I scan.

And I pay. I actually need to enter my new credit card info, but in the time it takes an employee to ask if I found what I needed and walk with me to the counter, it's entered and I've completed my purchase.

I will say, I think that's the first time someone used the app at the store. When I told him I just bought the charger (the last one, I might add), he seemed to think that I had ordered it online for home delivery.

I show him the part where it says to show the receipt to someone before I leave, and after consulting with another employee, they realize that I have indeed just checked myself out for the product on the counter.

I coudn't help but think if they might've started wondering what this meant for their own job security.

One could only hope that it wouldn't, but I also realize I'm a bit naive when it comes to these kine of things.

But I the DIY consumer self was very pleased with how expedited technology made my shopping experience, especially as I was rushing on my way to the airport,

JR aka Nexus

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My schedule for Burning Man's Global Leadership Conference

Hey there,

So I just wanted to share my schedule for Burning Man's Global Leadership Conference this weekend. I leave Thursday to get there a day before it starts. And I'm very excited for the seminars and workshops I registered for because they all seem to be at the intersection of where my life has been over the past several years, if not decade, of working and playing in the Washington Metropolitan arts community and scene.

  • Plenary Session 1: The Next Creative Renaissance, Busting it Out, Building it Up, Bringing it Home!
  • Plenary Session 2: Updates -- From the Desert to The World
  • Effective Leadership Skills in the Burnerverse (Breakout Session 1)
  • Giving Away Money: Art Grants, Community Grants and Walk the Talk Granting Process (Breakout Session 2)
  • Plenary Session 3: Keynote Talks
  • Leveraging Partnerships and Collaborations to Nurture your Organizations (Breakout Session 3)
  • Business 102: Corporate Governance (Breakout Session 4)
  • Unconference Session 1
  • Unconference Session 2
  • Plenary Session 4: Grant Making that Ignites the Network
  • Community Engagement: Case Studies on Engaging Communities through Art and Civic Participation (Breakout Session 5)
  • Future of the Maker Movement (Breakout Session 6)
  • Closing Plenary Session
Yes...I am very excited. I am looking forward to seeing what I can learn and bring back home to incorporate into my artistic and professional lives, especially if I get to share a bit at work at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

I'm also hoping to share at the conference, during one of the two unconference sessions on Sunday. I plan on submitting a presentation on the Ten Principles )'( storytelling project I produced at Capital Fringe this past summer.

Ultimately, I am just very grateful to have been offered the opportunity, courtesy of the regional contacts in DC, and I am thankful to be at a point in my life where I have the resources to take advantage of it.

So, that being said, see you all on the flip side!!

JR aka Nexus

Thursday, April 02, 2015

One week until Burning Man's Global Leadership Conference

Hey there,

Just wanted to share that in one week I head to San Francisco for this:

I'm not a regional contact in the District, but I was among a number of community members who were invited to join them.

Very grateful and very excited!!

- JR aka Nexus

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dancers and DC Funding

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is one of the majority of State Arts Agencies around the country which offers an Artist Fellowship program, one of the few grant opportunities individual artists have to apply for and receive funding without being affiliated with an organizations. For FY15, 91 artists were recommended for funding, and received a combined total of $645,000, with awards ranging from $3,800 to $10,000. Of the 91 artists, 10 were in the dance cohort, artists who identified as dancers, choreographers, dance educators, & interdisciplinary artists who use dance in their work. For the record, only 19 artists applied in the dance cohort. But surely there are more than 19 dancers that reside in the District of Columbia.

The Artist Fellowship Program is the shortest and easiest grant application the DCCAH has. It is not project based and functions more like an award, with the review panel simply looking at your work samples, your artist statement, and one or two other brief narrative answers. There is not a separate pool of money for performers versus choreographers, and there is not a separate pool of money for dance specific work.  There is one pool of money set aside for the Artist Fellowship Program across disciplines, which ultimately is dispersed based on how the applications, and therefore recommendations, breakdown across disciplines. This means it depends on who does, and doesn’t, apply.

So if the application is so easy, what are some of the barriers to access? I would say it is awareness, awareness on the part of the dancers, which is a symptom of a larger issue regarding education and training. While we often focus on the process and product of our dance, we are often left to our own devices to figure out the business end of it, whether as independent contractors, company members, choreographers, and/or artistic directors. And if you don’t know that there is an opportunity to be funded as individual, how would one find out if not told be a mentor or peer?

And while not part of the mission of dance companies, surely one of the indirect benefits could be to be a source of opportunities like this to share with your dancers, which some companies might do already. As with a lot of our endeavors, it often takes a village, and it is no difference when it comes to being aware of opportunities like DCCAH’s Artist Fellowship Program (AFP).

I would say the only other challenge is for dancers who perform with companies to think about and have their own individual artist statement. For the purpose of the AFP grant, our definition of an artist statement is:

“A short statement (typically one page or less) written by the artist, that provides background information and influences on the artist’s body of work, overall artistic philosophy, and a brief history of the artist’s development.”

And this might be more of a challenge with dancers who might primarily perform with and be company members of a dance company, but still not impossible. Because ultimately the strongest applications are ones where a dancers has clearly defined their personal artistic DNA through their artist statement, and it shows in the work samples (usually video) they provide. And as with dance itself, applying for funding takes practice to do well. It often takes experiencing rejection and getting feedback on making a stronger application. But ultimately the benefits outweigh the costs of time and energy.

P.S. If you're interested in applying for the FY16 Artist Fellowship Program?