Gilian Rappaport is a queer artist of Russian and Polish descent living in Rockaway Beach, Queens.
She has created projects with plants, storytelling, and movement since she was a kid. Her gleeful childhood memories of feeding kids dirt and slugs on New York City playgrounds is a big driver behind her work.
Her recent work spans writing nature stories, performing with raw eggs, serving drinks made from wild-foraged materials, and creating collective screaming practices. Themes include engaging with the the sensory and the natural, illuminating and living with the unknown, and celebrating life’s absurdities and pleasures.
Gilian has a rich background as an herbalist, permaculture designer, researcher, writer, dancer, gallerist, exhibition curator, and design strategist.
She has lent her branding skills over the past 10 years to businesses, organizations, and projects mostly in the realms of personal care and wellness ranging from a feminist sex toys, to body hair care, and natural menstrual support for people with vulvas. She also spent four years co-authoring accessible, seasonal field guides in the Eastern Forest region, the traditional territory of the Lenape people, with The Outside Institute.
Each of these pursuits has allowed her to shape her multidisciplinary, site-specific approach to her social practice as an artist.
Portrait by Seth Caplan in Brooklyn, 2020
I was born in 1997 and raised by Việt refugees in a trailer park near cornfields and suburbs (they/bạn/she/em/chị). I see myself as a multimedia storyteller, placekeeping artist, social media scholar, and cultural worker. I ground my work in ancestral knowledge, the world wide web, community-powered safety/sanctuary, playfulness, rage, magic, and altars. Since graduating from Reed College in 2020, my work and I have been rooted in East Portland exploring the power of BIPOC youth decision making. I also organize as a member of Metro’s Equity Advisory Committee (EAC), the Contingent‘s SINE and ELI network, 2022 Atabey Medicine BIPOC Apprenticeship, and the O82 Art Crew. You can follow my work on IG: @lillyannepham or website: lillyannepham.com
Below are two of my current projects:
In May 2021, I led a series of workshops, Youth for Parkrose, with Historic Parkrose NPI for youth of color and underserved youth (ages 14-20) in Portland’s Parkrose district. This led to the development of Youth for Parkrose into an after-school youth program. From housing justice to gun violence awareness, we explore place-based topics through creative workshops to empower youth’s inner decision-makers.
The Orchards of 82nd (O82) mural is another East Portland-based project that I’m working on with my collaborator, Paola De La Cruz, supported by Mural Arts Philadelphia and APANO. From Sept 2021 to Aug 2022, we will be leading a socially engaged mural project with O82 residents, neighboring organizations, and community groups.
Marina Lopez is a Mexican American performing and aspiring social practice artist, massage therapist/somatic educator, and cultural organizer. Her experience as a bodyworker is essential to her practice as an artist because we can’t separate the art from the body that makes it. Care work is culture work. As an artist, her work is an interdisciplinary weaving of many voices that links to history, social movements, and tradition. As a cultural organizer, Marina has worked closely with Cooperation Humboldt. She is a Co-coordinator and Creative Collaborator for Art.Coop’s Study-into-Action. She also co-anchors the Arts, Culture, Care and Solidarity Economy working group held by the New Economy Coalition, the U.S. Solidarity Network, Highlander Center, and Cooperation Humboldt. Marina seeks to create work that articulates and provides an embodied cognition of the ways in which art, culture, and care are foundational within a thriving society, and economy. To bring these undervalued, but essential elements into relationship within a public-sphere that creates access to embodiment as an experience, but also as discourse. Her work challenges the status quo of who we as a society uplift as expert voices, and inspires curiosity, collaboration, and solidarity.
Postcards From Mexico: Cartography of Identity, Trauma, and Curated ‘Self’
This project utilizes embodied art practice as a methodology to explore trauma, identity, and a curated ‘self.’ This multi-lingual work is the product of many voices that have co-authored a journey chronicling the formation, revision, and authorship of belief systems and identities that are fabric of the self. I call on research and theory from Western Psychology, Neuroscience, Narrative Psychology/Medicine, Chicana Feminism, and Borderlands Theory as a means of conducting a deep exploration of the layered self where a symbiotic dynamism between identity and belief systems is a constant gravitational dance. We experience in multiple dimensions, and from many angles, so the ways in which we approach the observation, critique, and exploration of the self may benefit from a similar consideration of many points of entry. A unique aspect of this work is the observation, acknowledgement, and inclusion of a curating self. Our interactions in relationship is a constant exercise in hand selecting from the anthology of stories that is ‘I’ in order to present a highly curated version the self. An underlying concept is this notion of fracturing that is born and bred in many facets of this work. It is the physiological process in which our brains process trauma and the stories associated with trauma, separating and compartmentalizing the experiences as a mechanism of survival within our bodies. Fracturing as the dismemberment of our bodies in medicine and the treatment of [dis]ease. And the disremembering of history, culture, and tradition that is also a mechanism of survival of and survival within this white supremacist, cisheteropatriarchal society. There is also the political division of geographical spaces that consequentially leads to the fracturing, uprooting, and [dis][mis] placement of community, culture, and persons. Through the engagement of diverse lenses, this project explores the edges of these vast landscapes as a means of witnessing the frayed edges as places of knowledge and [re]formation of ways of knowing and being.
Movement of a Movement
Invites us to return to something so human at its core and to be within the condition of body and flesh. It is an embodiment of the observation of how the social systems that we move within shape our bodies. And it illustrates how what may appear as a micro-movement is filled with infinite possibility and potential to cultivate something so much bigger. It reminds us to ask, “how am I standing in this historical moment?” And to use the knowledge gleaned from that embodied discourse to serve us in shifting political discourse.
Olivia is a mixed media artist interested in human connection, what it means to be tender, and the joy/sorrow dichotomy. She finds solace in creating through and for grief and is currently thinking about how grieving can become more of a community practice. She asks questions like:
Olivia likes to make books for and about the people she loves. They’re all about love taking a material form:
And if she isn’t working on a book, she’s working on a video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgSOSJiWixUFXzyJSyzdEqg
You can find more examples of her work at https://oliviadelgandio.com/
and find her on Instagram at @liv__bliss
Luz Blumenfeld (b. 1992) is a mixed non-binary queer artist from Oakland, CA. Their work is often intimate and concerned with self-documentation and archiving.
They received their BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies and are currently in their first year in the Art & Social Practice program. Luz is an artist educator and preschool teacher.
They are currently very interested in playing with synthesizers and field recordings, long periods of research, and considering permanence and ephemerality in their practice.
I’m a performance artist with a theater, music, and dance background based in Ridgewood, Queens. I am currently exploring the potential of live action role play (LARP) and avatar work to carve out new social and relational spaces and possibilities. I work primarily within my cultivated pop persona, Jennifer Vanilla (it/I), a world-building, gender-and-genre-fluid fantasy vessel through which I create original voice-oriented dance music, choreographed stage shows, musical albums, interactive radio shows, videos, and merchandise-as-conversation-pieces.
Jennifer Vanilla performances create sites of celebration and interpersonal realness in places like MoMA PS1, Bowery Ballroom, DIY basements across America, Queens Public Television, Times Square, public parks, natural landscapes, and surveillance cameras. JV has toured coast to coast and shared stages with Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Cindy Wilson (The B-52’s), Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Yaeji, YACHT, Dynasty Handbag, & more.
I’m originally from Cambridge, MA, and graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst with an interdisciplinary concentration in Performance Studies. I then moved to New York City and joined the experimental pop band, Ava Luna, writing, singing, recording, playing guitar and synth, and touring around the U.S., Europe, and Japan for the next ten years. After making a series of home music videos in my Brooklyn apartment and directing a dance play about ego death in a nightclub while an Artist in Residence at Otion Front Studio, I discovered Jennifer Vanilla inside of a dew drop in the forests of Jenniferia and committed myself fully to contempo-clowndom.
Jennifer Vanilla’s take on Mickey Mouse, if Mickey Mouse were the devil. Escapism is ok as long as we eventually come back, right?
Jennifer and Its Angels, performed at a music concert opening for !!! at Elsewhere, Brooklyn, 2021. With dancers Ry Eshel and Jo Warren.
Souvenirs for the Jennifer Vanilla experience, thrift store-sourced and hand-lettered since 2016. The full catalog lives here.
Social Souvenir Hotline with Jenny V. on The Lot Radio, Times Square, NYC 2021. A live hybrid radio show incorporating performance, spoken word, a DJ set, and an interview with a local resident named Clarence.
Social Souvenirs, 2021. A project-in-progress in which the souvenir is the socializing itself, manifested in a T-shirt gifted to the recipient in exchange for a conversation.
About my work
I like talking to people and finding out which details of life matter to them. I like to keep them in mind as I go about my days and any time I run into things that make me think of them I write them a note sharing the thing. I learned about doing this from my friend Roy who first found out about me by listening to my weekly radio show. He sent me postcards with postage that referenced our interests of photography, letter writing, books, and birds. Now I do the same thing with people I encounter in my own life. For me, taking action on the thoughts I have about another person is an art form, a piece of art made for that person. This means that I am at ease asking questions, enjoy listening to answers, and engaging with people around me.
In addition to my correspondence practice, I embrace projects that incorporate my passion for seeking out hidden details and stories with photography, text, and research. Recently, this involved researching the life and work of Hazel Hall, an internationally-known and forgotten poet who lived in Portland in the 1920s. The research was the backbone of a collaboration between me, a composer, choreographers, visual artists, and a publisher. Our work together resulted in an original work of dance and music, art exhibit, zine publications, sound installations, and a small library.
I moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2016 after living in Albany, New York for 15 years. In my life before graduate school I worked as a graphic designer in the healthcare industry. As a volunteer, I founded and hosted a weekly radio show called Hello Pretty City that aired on public radio for 17 years.
I grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia and received a BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating, I joined AmeriCorps, performing service projects throughout the midwestern United States.
When I’m not in school or working on projects, I’m listening to the radio, collecting books and magazines, and using old typewriters to make mail.
Installing artwork by Terry Ann Carter and Chayo Wilson in the exhibit “Sparking Memory: Artists Respond to Hazel Hall”. Part of the event “The Room Upstairs” which was an evening devoted to celebrating the life and work of poet Hazel Hall through research, original music, and a new work for dance at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, 2019.
Answering questions from the audience with composer and collaborator, Matthew Svoboda on the left, and artist Chayo Wilson on the right, after the premiere of “The Room Upstairs” at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, 2019
The Hazel Hall Traveling Library is a custom designed and fabricated case that allows the books of poetry by Hazel Hall to be protected while being transported. When one side of the case is lifted, readers can reach into the case and pull out a book to immediately begin reading her poems.
Caryn Aasness wants to invite you into their brain. In it we explore mental illness, and the folk art of coping mechanisms. We investigate queerness and how it forms and severs multiple selves. We look to language and learn how to cheat at it. You are welcome to leave the brain at any time.
Caryn has achieved things and been awarded an award. They have a degree in Fiber from CSU in Long Beach, the city where they were born and raised. They want you to know they thought about you while writing this.
Diana Marcela Cuartas
Colombian artist living in Portland, Oregon
Through multiple approaches, Diana’s practice reflects on the relationships knitted between a place and those who inhabit it. Her projects often scrutinize the discourses, aesthetics, values, common errands, and other idiosyncrasies of a particular context or subject, by breaking through the habitual readings of it.
Diana was Head of Public Programs for four years at Espacio Odeón, an independent organization that promotes contemporary artistic creation and performing arts in Bogotá, Colombia. Formerly she was part of the non-profit art space Lugar a Dudas(A place for doubts), dedicated to promoting contemporary art with a global focus in Cali, Colombia. As an independent researcher, she has been an artist in residence in La Usurpadora (Puerto Colombia), Bisagra (Lima), Tatlelolco Central (Mexico City), and Beta-Local (San Juan, Puerto Rico), studying different popular culture phenomena.
In 2019 she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she has been working independently for the promotion and exchange of interdisciplinary projects between Pacific Northwest and Latin American artists. She also works as a family liaison for Latino Network, serving immigrant families through school-based programs at the Reynolds School District in the East Multnomah County area.
Kiara Walls is a teaching visual artist, originally from LA but now stationed in Dallas, Texas. Her work is centered around increasing awareness of the need and demand for reparations to repair the injuries inflicted on the African American community. This interpretation is seen through many forms including story-telling and site specific installations including audio and visuals.
The Black Box Experience
The Black Box Experience (located in Los Angeles, CA) incorporates visuals along with audio that recreates the black narrative in a large scale wooden box. By combining both visual and audio sensory, the black box creates an experience that is similar to the subconscious mind of a minority.
“Through abstract form and visuals, I create a style that is representational of injuries African Americans have suffered during and after enslavement. These injury areas include people hood/nationhood, education, health, criminal punishment, wealth and poverty. I am focusing on the injury area of reparations that interconnects with wealth and poverty. It intersects with the negative effects of systematic racism that has resulted in the division of wealth and poverty among the African American community. I produce visual interpretations of the injuries through video and sculpture juxtaposed with spoken word.”
Black Box Conversation Series