Latest Project!

EARTHY THINGS MADE EVEN

Please take a moment to read the information on our new upcoming project "Earthy Things Made Even." 
We hope you will take the time to read this letter thru to the end, and even if you are not able to make a donation gift to our cause, your understanding of our efforts is also of great value. This is a project for and about women, young and old, that seeks to explore thru artistic expression and creativity fresh ways of defining female identity at this very critical historical point in our social and cultural evolution.

Who We Are
The SWSPP was formed in 2013 by Oriana Estrada, Administrative Director and Michael Shantz, Artistic Director and is based out of the Martin Luther King FAME Community Center in the Madison Valley neighborhood. It is a 15 member all Women music ensemble centered on the Caribbean steel pan (steel drum) and dedicated to creating music that is joyous, rhythmic, danceable and widely appealing to a variety of musical tastes.  The group features the original work of women composers and musicians, particularly those from the Pacific Northwest, and regularly collaborate with local dancers and choreographers.

Current and past members of this group are the epitome of American diversity, multi-ethnic, multi-national and all Seattle residents. They are women of different races, cultural backgrounds and ages.  They or their immediate families come from Trinidad, Japan, the Philippines, St. Lucia, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Peru, Vietnam, Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Hawaii and….  Seattle.

Our mission statement is to inspire and offer opportunity to women and girls to engage in creating music and dance as part of the ongoing struggle of women to assert their own reality, and self-defined identity, and, in doing so, to help turn the balance of power and consciousness towards a better world, one that is broadly inclusive of all people.  Now, more than ever, inspired women of conviction, and those who support them, must bear down on the work that needs to be done to promote positive health and balance in our society. We are especially mindful of the precious value of our young Women and daughters and the impact their leadership will have on our shared future.

The SWSPP is dedicating their efforts to providing engaging and provocative free public performance art to our Seattle community as we enter a critical period of transformation and change. We believe that art is activism. On January 12, 2017 the group performed for 5 hours non-stop as 175,000 people walked, and danced, past them as part of the Seattle Women’s March, a global event.

Following these links for more information about the group and to view a short performance video:

About the Project
The SWSPP has been awarded a City Arts Grant by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to create a 30-40 minute suite of original music and dance with over 25 participating women musicians, dancers and other artists. The grant amount is for $5600 and while generous, it is not enough to meet our budget of $15,000. Our fundraising goal now is $10,000. We need proper funding to cover production costs for sets, costumes, construction of an 8’ tall carnival puppet, transportation, promotions and fair compensation for all participating artists.

The project is entitled “Earthy Things Made Even”, taken from a line in Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It:  “Then is mirth in Heaven, When Earthy things made even, atone together”.

The work is to be presented as a suite framed in three parts, each modeled after one of three traditional mythic Yoruba (Nigerian) archetypes of female identity.   Each of the three sections features an original musical composition performed on steel pans and percussion, and features a recognized guest soloist, and accompanies original dance pieces by three different choreographers and 12 dancers.

The role models defined by the Yoruba myths are:
Yemanja - representing the Oceans and Seas (71% of the earth’s surface and 96.5% of all water), she is the Mother of All Life, human and otherwise. Her colors are blue and white.
Osun - representing fresh water (3.5% of all water) essential to all terrestrial life, she is the personification of Female Beauty, one of the very highest human values found in all societies. Osun nurtures small children, her symbol is a mirror and her colors are gold and yellow.
Oya - the Female warrior, her symbol is the sword, her values are truth and justice.  Her natural element is the wind in all its forms.  Her color is red.
The themes are:   
- Redefining women’s identities following non-European models
                           
 - Illuminating surviving Africanisms in contemporary American culture
                           
 - Immigration, race and gender equality
                            
- Art as social and political activism
                           
 - The vital relationship between natural forces (water) and human life

The finished work will be presented in the spring/summer of 2017 in 3-4 free open-air public performances.  There are theatrical elements, including masquerade and puppets, props and sets in the production that are linked to street theater. The venues will be NW Folklife Festival (Memorial Weekend), West Lake Park (TBA scheduled Saturdays in June) and the Othello Park Festival in mid-summer.

HELPING This Project - GIFTING a Donation
The success of our performance project begins with sufficient funding.  We need your financial support, and are asking for gifts of an amount that is manageable for you.  At the least, we ask that you pass this letter on to someone that might be interested to participate and join us in our efforts, or simply someone you know who would be interested to hear about signs of life in our City!



To make a gift:
    

 1..SWSPP posting at gofundme
https://www.gofundme.com/swspp-2017-earthly-things-made-even?ssid=842708052&pos=1

2.PAYPAL to Oriana Estrada account Oristrada@hotmail.com

3. CHECK:
Michael Shantz
MLK Community Center
3201 E Republican Street Room # 2
Seattle WA 98112
                         


Why Art, why Women, why Now?
The outcome of our recent national election is a call for Women, for artists and activists, for conscientious communities to lead and stand up for their belief in the ideals and intentions upon which this country was built. Social justice, to paraphrase our former Vice-President, Joe Biden, does not come from national movements or politics: “it comes from people making changes in their communities, in their day to day lives. It comes from people demanding change and creating change, every day.” There is, despite what currently appears to be an ominous period of backlash, a thriving multi-racial nation of immigrant peoples and their descendants characterized by a belief in progressive humane beliefs and conduct, and proud of a tradition of continuous striving to uphold our founding principles of liberty and justice for all.

There are no mainstream feminist-leaning organizations that appear to support our new administration. And as Harry Belafonte, a true Elder voice, said at a recent lunch time chat at the Gates Foundation “Women have the best view of the horizon.”  In these times, women must lead.  It is in the strength of women that our national leadership, predominantly wealthy white men, will find a resistance that is not so much “against” any specific thing but is clearly “for” a certain set of actions and values, that is built on an understanding that now is not the time to be building walls as a goal or expenditure, but a time to be learning to take better care of one another. An understanding that acts of love and hope are the actions, small as they may seem, that can prevail and make a difference, as they always have.

Our project is a collaborative venture, thus a challenging undertaking for individuals of different backgrounds, perspectives and resources to work together to create something of meaning and beauty. The lesson of collaboration is to demonstrate by example the possible, what can be accomplished when people of talent and conviction, who hold beliefs in purposes outside of themselves, come together.  At the core of our efforts is the desire to exemplify a model of unity for Women - the performance ensemble - that can demonstrate a microcosm of effective, functioning solidarity. Artistic creation is our means of expression and activism.

Paul Robeson once said that “artists are the gatekeepers of truth” and “the moral compass for societies in transition”. In Vanessa Villalobos’ words “Art is an advancement tool to bring people together to…. envision and co-create the future.  It’s a vehicle to engage others in political discourse.” Our expressive capabilities are in music, dance, and theatrical works and our intentions are to create engaging and entertaining energy that excites the spirit, provokes the mind and inspires elements of courage and conviction in our audience, in our community.

Why You?
You are not receiving this letter by way of a random email list.  You are receiving this because someone directly involved in this project knows you, or knows someone else who knows you, who is involved in your life, or the life your friend, partner, child.  There is a narrow window of separation between us and you and this is intentional, because we are seeking the support of our inter-related community: of friends, family, like-minded neighbors and co-workers who share our sense of commitment and urgency.  We are appealing to those of you who have the desire to participate in creating the best possible community and city that we can manage in our time. We are especially appealing to women, and those men who are able to support the choices and leadership of women, and understand the need for intentional inspirations for our young women and daughters.


Making a Gift:

You can contribute thru our posting on the gofundme site, following this link

Please note!  We will sending  Gifts of Appreciation to our 5 top donors!!!
-Two reproductions of the original “Yemanja Mask”, a 12” high bust of the original work produced by Brooklyn-based sculptor, Charlie Mostow. This is a work in progress.  You can view a preliminary sketch at the SWSPP blogspot (www.panwoman.blogspot.com) and photos of the piece will be posted as the work continues. To view the beautiful work of sculptor Charlie Mostow (www.charliemostow.com).

-Three color prints of the background set paintings, murals by Tenold Sundberg (www.tenoldsundberg.com) will also be given away. Professional printing on canvas by Tod Gangler of Art and Soul in Ballard, 27”x34”


Thank you for your generosity, support for the arts and your faith in Women as Visionary Leaders!


Sincerely,


Oriana Estrada,  Administrative Director                       
                                                          










Michael Shantz, Artistic Director
Complacency is dangerous.
Silence is consent.
Believing in and supporting action is a choice, and…..
Art is activism!




About the Collaborating Artists
ORIANA ESTRADA, choreographer
Founder and co-director of SWSPP, Oriana is also manager and director of TUDO BELEZA Brazilian dance company.  She was born in Nicaragua and raised in Seattle and has an extensive performance history as a musician, dancer and choreographer.  She is an administrator and faculty member at Bellevue College. www.tudobeleza.com
CONSUELO PALMER, choreographer
Consuelo was born in Jamaica and moved to Seattle with her family when she was a young girl. She has studied dance formally and performed for most of her life.  Consuelo currently teaches dance at the MLK Community Center. Consuelo lived for many years in Germany and speaks fluent German. She is also a certificated teacher and teaches in the Edmonds School District.
VANESSA VILLALOBOS, choreographer
A performing artist, instructor, and choreographer from Lima, Peru. She received her Dance and Theatre degree from the U.W., has a M.F.A. in Arts Leadership from Seattle University and worked in NY for 7 years as an actress and professional dancer, specializing in Dancesport's Theatre Arts division. Locally Vanessa teaches Salsa, Ballroom and Afro Peruvian dance to adults and youth at West Seattle's Kenyon Hall. She has an arts & entertainment business, Balorico LLC, and is an active board member of La Sala, a Latinx artist network. http://balorico.blogspot.com/


KATE OLSON, guest soloist
Kate an improvising saxophonist and woodwind teacher based in Seattle, WA. Since moving to Seattle in 2010, she has done her best to infiltrate the local, regional and international improvised music scenes. She can be heard performing with her own projects Syrinx Effect, KO SOLO, and the KO Ensemble and as a collaborator with Ask the Ages, Only Trio, the Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble (led by Wayne Horvitz), and the Seattle Jazz Composer's Ensemble. Kate has a BA in Music (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Wyoming and an MM in Improvisation from the University of Michigan. Kate’s international resume continues to grow, including performances in Russia, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland and Slovakia. http://www.kateplayssax.com/music/

MIHO TAKEKAWA, guest soloist
Miho is from Japan, but has lived in Seattle for many years. She graduated from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and holds a doctorate in percussion performance from the University of Washington. She is on the faculty of Pacific Lutheran University and directs the school’s steel band program.  Miho is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and plays piano, vibraphone, marimba, steel pan and percussion.  She performs professionally in the Pacific Northwest and in Japan.  She has a unique perspective on culture and music and often focuses on blending the musics that have shaped her experience in the world: Japanese folkloric, classical European and Latin American music. http://www.mihodiego.com/


ANN REYNOLDS, composer and guest soloist
Ann is the founder and director of “Clave Gringa” a Seattle-based Latin Jazz ensemble that has released one CD featuring her original compositions and is in the process of working on a second recording.  Ann has studied and played music her entire life, beginning with classical piano training as a youth.  She holds a degree in music from Mt Holyoke College, and has studied jazz and Latin music, with extended studies and performance in Cuba, for many years. She is a member of the Seattle Women’s Jazz ensemble. http://www.clavegringa.com/


TENOLD SUNDBERG, Set design and painting
Tenold is a painter currently living in Oakland, but born and raised in Seattle.  He has studied and taught at Gage Academy as well as Emily Carr in Vancouver, BC. Please visit his website to view some of his work at www.tenoldsundberg.com


CHARLIE MOSTOW, sculptor
Charlie is a Seattle native, now residing in Brooklyn, NY.  He is an accomplished sculptor teaching and working in the New York area and shortly to relocate to Paris.  Charlie is contributing design and sculptural work to some of the theatrical elements in this project.  His work can be seen at www.charliemostow.com


MICHAEL SHANTZ, Artistic Director
Michael Shantz has been playing steel pans for about 40 years and pursuing his interest in
Carnival Arts, street performance, and trans-Atlantic New World cultures for about the same amount of time. His group, Bakra Bata’ Music and Dance, was started in 1985 and originally based for 13 years out of his non-profit organization The Aluja Center for Community Development in downtown Seattle. Bakra Bata’ toured nationally and internationally for over 25 years.  Michael has taught steel pan to youths and adults throughout the country and has conducted programs in many Seattle schools over the years.



ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS

Performances for this project will include an ensemble of supporting drummers and percussionists, all male.  We refer to these men as our supporters and allies. They are our friends. All are highly skilled musicians, performers and artists in their own rights and all are well known in the Pacific Northwest community and to audiences throughout the region.  They include Teo Shantz, Jeff Busch, Thione Diop, Obe Quarles and Loren Boley.



SWSPP Performances and Clients
The Royal Room: Afro-Rhythms and Sounds of Steel              
Bellevue College International Night                                        
Global Party - the Moore Theater, Seattle Theater Group      
Live At Lunch Summer Concerts, Bellevue, Wa.                      
CHOMP, Marymoor Park, Redmond                                         
Out To Lunch Concert Series, Seattle                                       
Family Fun Days, Occidental Park                                         
Edmonds Center for the Performing Arts                                  
Soul Jambalaya, Chief Sealth HS                                            
MLK Celebration King County, 5th Ave. Theater                      
Student of Color Conference, Yakima, Wa.                             
Arts Corp Fundraiser, Showbox, Seattle                                
Facebook, Corporate Offices, Seattle                                     
Seattle Theater Group, Fundraiser, BMW
Northwest Folklife Festival
Womxn Who Rock Conference
Boeing Family Day
Othello Park Music Festival
Afro-Latino Music Festival
Rainier Community Center Day of Play
KBCS Commuter Dispatches
Burien Summer Music Festival
Madison Valley Business Association
Caribbean Festival, Seward Park
Umpgua Bank, Hyatt Regency, Bellevue

Black History Celebration, Seattle University

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