APPARATUS OF REPAIR: Ossining, NY: October 6 – 8, 2022
Image: Jhia Jackson photographed by RJ Muna.
Bethany Arts Community is proud to announce the presentation of Apparatus of Repair, the culmination of Flyaway Productions’ Decarceration Trilogy, an ambitious series of site-specific aerial dance and public art events addressing the devastating effects of mass incarceration in the United States.
With a cast of five female dancers, Apparatus of Repair engages ideas of restorative justice as an alternative to the prison system. The work is grounded in the lived experiences of survivors of assault as well as perpetrators of assault.
“Restorative justice is a fast-growing social movement offering effective solutions to harm,” said Flyaway Artistic Director Jo Kreiter. “To quote activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons, it is ‘love with accountability.’ Restorative justice causes less damage and holds more hope than our current legal system.”
Apparatus of Repair was developed in part at Bethany Arts Community in April of 2022, when Jo Kreiter, composer Maddy “MADlines” Clifford”, and four dancers met with a group of 5 men currently incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. In community circle shaped by the principles of accountability and healing, each participant shared personal stories and reflections.
Jo Kreiter shared that “in circle with 5 residents of Sing Sing, we named cultural and physical artifacts that we want to pass on to our families, and artifacts that we want to leave behind. One participant wrote, ‘I come from a long line of very aggressive men, which I internalized as a natural behavior.’ Naming what has shaped us sets us up to let go of what is no longer useful to us. This is one of the blessings of Restorative Justice, and one that we enacted together, in preparation for the Apparatus of Repair.”
Many of the dancers also consented to bring their own deeply personal experiences to the project.
Apparatus of Repair transforms the intimate healing process of restorative justice into a public performance, danced in the air and on the vertical surfaces of buildings. It is designed for presentation in proximity to prisons and communities disproportionately impacted by the legal system. At Bethany Arts Community, near the grounds of Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Westchester, New York, Bethany and the artists aspire to bring together a diverse audience of local community members, justice involved individuals and families, and those seeking to create safer communities. Post-performance conversations will be held following the Friday and Saturday performances.
“Bethany was founded on a deep conviction that the arts help deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other. We are thrilled to present Apparatus and host post-performance conversations,” said David Lyons, Founder and Executive Director, Bethany Arts Community.
Over the last two years, Flyaway has worked in coalition with Community Works based in Oakland, California. The organization has been a leader in the field of restorative justice, serving to advance policies and practices that promote diversion away from prisons as well as successful reentry for those who serve time. Led by restorative justice practitioner Kevin Martin, Community Works connected Flyaway with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people as part of the research for the piece.
Apparatus of Repair was choreographed by Kreiter in collaboration with the dancers: Alayna Stroud Duarte, MaryStarr Hope, Jhia Jackson, Megan Lowe and Saharla Vetch. Additional collaborators include composer Maddy “MADlines” Clifford, set designer Sean Riley, lighting designer Jack Beuttler, costume designer Jamielyn Duggan and technical director Dave Freitag.
Bethany Arts Community worked closely with community partners Hudson Link for Higher Education, Sing Sing Prison Museum, and the Sing Sing Family Collective to present a beautiful and dramatic work that is informed by the men and women who live in our community.
Performances are presented as part of Bethany’s 2022 Season of Justice.
Performances at Bethany Arts Community in Ossining, NY, October 6 – 8, Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Attendance is free with advance reservations strongly encouraged as space is limited.
For more information visit: https://bethanyarts.org/residencies/flyaway-productions-2022/
Performances of Apparatus of Repair are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project, Association of Performing Arts Professionals – Arts Forward, New York State Council on the Arts, ArtsWestchester, Humanities NY, Hudson Link for Higher Education, Sing Sing Prison Museum, and numerous individual donors
ABOUT BETHANY ARTS COMMUNITY
Bethany’s mission is to create a space and environment where the many forms of art can be learned, produced and flourish. Artists of all ages and levels of experience are welcome to explore and create art that the community can experience and be engaged in while enhancing their perception and perspective of the world. BAC aims to inspire sharing, connection and collaboration in a culture designed for the benefit of the local community and beyond. Since Bethany’s founding, the belief that engaging with the arts expands people’s perceptions and broadens their perspectives on the world has been central to its mission. This idea was important in 2015 when Bethany was in formation. It is an urgent calling today, at a time when society is increasingly polarized and the pandemic and economic hardships are fueling fear and anxiety.
During the 2022 season, Bethany presents a series of programs that endeavor to deepen understanding of some of today’s most pressing societal issues, including the American justice system, the criminalization of “otherness” – color, ethnicity, religion … – and explore themes of isolation, healing, and hope. By engaging artists working in different media who have personal and lived experience, or who collaborate closely with those who do, the 2022 Season of Justice is both deeply personal and accessible. The Season of Justice showcases the power of artistic work and the creative process to deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other, promote healing, and reimagine our world. Bethany is excited to welcome Jo Kreiter, Artistic Director of Flyaway Productions, and her company back to Bethany to present Apparatus of Repair as part of the programming.
ABOUT JO KREITER
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco-based choreographer with a background in political science. Through dance she engages physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. Her company, Flyaway Productions, explores the range and power of female physicality. Kreiter creates a sense of spectacle to make a lasting impression with an audience, striving for the right balance of awe, provocation and daring. Recent awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rauschenberg Foundation Artist-as-Activist Fellowship, the Rainin Foundation Open Spaces Award, two National Dance Project Creation Grants and two Creative Work Fund awards. In her book, Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performances, author Victoria Hunter cites Kreiter as a leader in the field of site-specific dance.
ABOUT FLYAWAY PRODUCTIONS
Flyaway Productions makes dances in unlikely places, activating the sides of buildings above bleak city streets. Our dances impact neighborhoods because they unfold at the very place where conflict lives. For Flyaway, a building is a witness. It holds the complexity of a neighborhood’s history in its “hands,” I-beams or concrete walls. Flyaway’s tools include coalition building, an intersectional feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity. They’ve spent 25 years building coalitions with women marginalized by race, class, gender and workplace inequities. Noted partners include Essie Justice Group, UC Hastings College of the Law, Tenderloin Museum, Code Tenderloin, Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center and Tradeswomen, Inc. Directed by Izzie award-winning choreographer Jo Kreiter, Flyaway is supported by Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellowships, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Creative Work Fund, Wattis and Rainin Foundations, the California Arts Council, San Francisco Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Council.
From 2017-2023, Flyaway is creating The Decarceration Trilogy: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex One Dance at a Time. The Trilogy is part of a national wave of ongoing political action to expose the devastating effects of prison on American citizens. It draws together political denunciation and a spectacular physical language across a series of large-scale, site-specific dances. The Trilogy is rooted in collaboration with community organizations and people directly impacted by incarceration.
BETHANY ARTS COMMUNITY COLLABORATORS:
Hudson Link for Higher Education: www.hudsonlink.org/
Sing Sing Prison Museum: www.singsingprisonmuseum.org/Sing Sing Family Collective: www.instagram.com/sing_sing_family_collective/
Panel Discussion: The Arts and Restorative Justice: How Do We Repair? – A conversation with Jo Kreiter and collaborators. Webinar, co-hosted with Sing Sing Prison Museum.
Date: Wednesday September 21, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
For more information about Jo Kreiter and Flyaway Productions Residency at Bethany, visit: https://bethanyarts.org/residencies/flyaway-productions-2022/
For more information on Flyaway Productions visit: https://flyawayproductions.com/
FROM LOVE: Ossining, NY: October 8 – November 5, 2022
From Love* is an exhibition focused on human relationships (familial, romantic, and other) through the lens of incarceration. Anchored in family portraiture (photographs, drawings, paintings, and text/audio), created by currently/formerly incarcerated artists and their families, as well as several guest collaborators, the work tells a story about the power of human connection; revealing love as the key component to our survival and collective liberation.
From Love is curated by currently incarcerated musician, composer, and Sing Sing Family Collective Co-founder Joseph Wilson, in collaboration with Collective member, artist, and curator, Anna Adler, and presented in conjunction with Flyaway Productions Apparatus of Repair, acro-theater piece at Bethany, as part of BAC’s Season of Justice programming.
*From Love aka From Love Community was created by Joseph & Renee Wilson in 2013, as an extension of their union into their community –Renee & Joseph met and married while Joseph was already incarcerated, together they have a daughter named Faith. Renee recognized the effects of incarceration on Joseph, together they realized that building relationships between incarcerated individuals and community members outside is a key to collective healing. Since then, they have worked together to promote these relationships as a holistic form of resistance to prison pathology; authentic human connection sits in vital opposition to the carceral state. Originally, the phrase From Love referred to their dream of creating an alternative communication system to JPay, (JPay is a subset of Securus technologies, the company that holds the monopoly on families’ communication with their loved ones in prison). From Love envisioned transportation, social media presence, and food/care packages – to keep loved ones connected with one another, hence From Love. Eventually From Love evolved into Renee’s social media account and became a way to connect with other prison families, coordinate bus trips to correctional facilities, and build dialogue and support around the carceral experience; Sing Sing Family Collective is an extension and evolution of that work.
October 8 – November 5, 2022
Gallery Hours: M-F 10am-4pm, Wed 10am-7:30pm, Saturday hours TBA
WHERE: Bethany Arts Community
40 Somerstown Road
Ossining, NY 10562
Bethany Arts Community, 40 Somerstown Rd., Ossining, NY 10562
About Bethany Arts Community Inc
Bethany is a space and environment where all forms of art can be learned and expressed. Nurturing the creative process, Bethany welcomes artists, from young to old, and all levels of skill, to explore and create art that the community can engage with. Bethany fosters sharing, connection, and collaboration, in an inclusive culture where people experience the power of art to improve lives and deepen their perceptions and perspectives of the world.
Founded in 2015 by David Lyons, Bethany Arts Community aspires to be a leading center for arts creation, instruction and appreciation. After a period of renovation, Bethany opened its doors in January 2018. We have a 44,000 sq ft facility set on 25 serene acres. Our offerings include children’s and adult instruction, a performance venue, multiple galleries, rehearsal spaces, affordable studio spaces, short-term artist residencies, a public sculpture garden and wooded meditation trail. Bethany will provide the community with a range of accessible arts programs and will attract global artists to our region.