The Jean Moye Dark Fund kicks of its campaign for a magical space, “A Strange Loop” cast album is released, and a Chelsea space safely brings back live entertainment!
Today, we share some exciting news from three of our arts organizations: the Jean Moye Dark Fund for Black Women / Femmes + TGNC Artists, Playwrights Horizons, and the cell. In the midst of ongoing uncertainty for our ravaged communities, our artists continue to imagine and create and shine warm light on those of us fortunate to be open to receiving.
If you’ve been to any of Undiscovered Works’ virtual events these last six months, you’ve heard me talk about the Jean Moye Dark Fund and, in the spring, we were fortunate enough to host a presentation from Nia Witherspoon who created the fund, named for her great grandma who was discovered to have been a writer only after her death. Now, on Tuesdays, you can hear Nia read from Jean’s work!
There have been many wise folks encouraging Nia to dream forth the reality of her extraordinary vision for a different, sustainable future. The result, I am thrilled to share, is the launch of phase 1 of a capital campaign fundraiser to develop a space that nourishes the human spirit – a collectively-imagined residency space that centers Black Women (Cis and Trans), Non-Binary Folks, and other Transfolks to be artists, world-makers, healers, and visionaries.
When Nia talks, I see a Brook Farm for the future: a balanced community- based approach to not just sustainable, but thriving existence, in balance with the land we humans seem determined to destroy; a space for Black Women/Femme + TGNC Artists to safely, boldly dream and pursue that dream. I urge you to please check out the fundraiser – watch the video to learn exactly why Nia inspires us all so much. If you’re in a position to contribute, please consider a tax-deductible donation.
Before NYC theatre went dark, something extraordinary unfolded at Playwrights’ Horizons, one of my personal favorite theatres in town because of their devotion to bringing to life work that challenges more traditional theatre-going audiences. In their 2019/20 season, they premiered a ground-breaking musical called A Strange Loop, by Michael R. Jackson.
My friend and U.W. frequent contributor Rona Siddiqui was the music director on this Pulitzer Prize winning ensemble-driven journey that featured some of my very favorite local actors. Together, the cast and creative team won an Obie Award in the midst of the pandemic for their masterful work. We are giddy to learn that the cast album we’ve been eagerly awaiting has been released! You can support some of NYC’s hardest working theatre makers by getting your copy today!
Finally, for this week’s community celebratory news, if like me, you are desperately craving live entertainment in a safe environment, may I recommend the cell in Chelsea. This gallery space that presents and produces art installations / shows, plays, concerts, and more, is open again! They’re now offering backyard musical and visual arts presentations as well as appointment-based installation visits in addition to their ongoing virtual programming.
For me, it is fitting that my first official show (beyond Harlem Late Night Jazz up the street on Sugar Hill that’s been entertaining me all summer) will be at the cell – the first place in the city to provide me and what would eventually become Undiscovered Works and the monthly storytelling series with an artistic home.