You’re curious about the possibilities. Here is an overview of the process I use to collaborate, play and create. I invite you to read I am. My sessions always begin with an exercise that asks each participant, including myself, to define themselves. I am gives you a sense of who I am as an artist and human. From this artist centered foundation, we create. Truly anything is possible in a dramatic encounter.
As a theatre teaching artist, I use the communal experience of theatre to engage participants in dialogue with self, text and community in order to create a more just and equitable world. My participation in the Kijimuna Festa of 2012 helped me to understand the Okinawa spirit of “Ichariba Chodee,” meaning one encounter makes people siblings.
My workshops and residencies are individual-centered and project-based, and occur in brave, collaborative environments. Projects are age appropriate experiences that engage individuals in the creative process, ranging from developing acting tools, such as transformation and improvisation, to devising a process drama to performing a theatrical work. Participants often engage in my process as professionals might develop a new work. In the theatre, dramaturgy plays an important role in the process of creating a new work. The entire creative team asks key questions, starts conversations, and researches context that will help them to effectively and appropriately tell the intended story. This work invites us to increase knowledge and skills in order to refine our work together. We may need to hone a theatrical skill, expand our understandings of the human experience or dive into another area of study, such as history, math, science, technology, or literature. This way of working inspires life-long learning.
I have developed a keen awareness and attention to the range of overlooked artistic competencies and accomplishments of the human body, voice and soul in the everyday. From writing a thank you note to observing a car needs a wash, from celebratory dance in the touchdown zone to determining a personal vote in an election, from shooting a basketball with ease to acknowledging our gut instincts, from putting on lucky socks to collaborating when executing a strategic plan, from sharing a nonverbal gesture of acceptance to ensuring belonging for all, art is in all sectors of our society. I celebrate each artist in the process as themselves a work of art!
For as long as I can remember diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion have been goals of mine, and integral to my creative process. Trained in critical literacy, I am driven by its tenets to recognize that no texts are neutral, explore multiple perspectives, probe assumptions, and take action to promote social justice. The whole person – their experiences, thoughts, feelings, needs, dreams, culture, and language – is an asset to our creative process together. I amplify what individuals share with me, become familiar with and share local and global cultures and celebrate each individual as art.
In the process participants recognize that within the same moment more than one thing is true. Participants develop the capacity to live in ambiguity and hold paradoxes and build shared leadership as we collectively explore the question: how can we move as one but be as we each are? The process demands each participant to listen to self, each other (or their community) and their art, and to push the existing boundaries discovered within each. Each artistic experience expands our definition of community and aims to awaken each individual to be the best possible version of themselves in the artistic process, and to bring their artistic self into the real-world. I am confident that this work together will help each participant realize their fullest potential and solve problems in their life, their community and their environment.
Jennifer, the artist
I am a brave, sensitive, sassy, flexible, loyal and passionate woman who wears a lot of hats.
This is who I am.
I am the daughter of two Prince George’s County, MD raised parents.
Born in Tucson, AZ and raised in Poolesville, MD, I am a crab-eating Marylander.
I am a proud Terp, and a Spartan.
I am an actor, singer, dancer who became a stage director, musical director, choreographer.
I am a puppeteer who likes to create and build things.
I am an artist and strong administrator.
I am an arts education and life-long learning advocate.
I am at home in nature, with family and alone.
I am ready for a leisurely road-trip across the country with a friend, or a lively international artistic project.
I am the granddaughter of woman raised on a Kentucky farm and a man from Minnesota, and who knows what else.
I am a white woman who is curious about a DNA test.
I am a vegetarian until you catch me sucking the meat off of turkey necks and trying Peking duck.
I get sweaty, makes messes and dig in gardens, and love things clean, organized and the smell of essential oils.
I am the older sister of three amazing brothers who all married phenomenal women from other countries – Bolivia, South Korea and Spain.
I am the proud aunt of a niece and nephew who are strong, brave, joyful, kind, sensitive, smart humans with the colors of the world filling their hearts.
I am a loving sister to my mother’s Black goddaughter and her growing family.
I am in love with a man who has been a friend since I was 23 and a true partner for decades.
I am a playmate to my neighbors where I now reside with this man and his mother.
I am increasingly seeking to work with my community in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
My personal story extends into my artistic encounters.
My family – multi-generational, multi-racial and quadri-continental – and my community urge me to let go of the familiar, embrace the uncomfortable and unlearn Whiteness. They challenge me to understand different ideologies and explore new ways of being me.
I am a complex work of art.
Always learning, I am in process.
I am taking it step by step and apply the creative process.