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Matters of the Art: Money, Air & Nativity

Matters of the Art: Money, Air & Nativity

516 Arts has been newly endowed with money for grants; pollen isn't the only thing in the air this spring – aerialists take flight at AirDance New Mexico; and Gathering of the Nations is paralleled by Gathering of Queer Nations this month.


Tipping point

Kanye West is right: “Having money isn’t everything – not having it is.” Thankfully, the cash-strapped artist populace of Albuquerque and its environs are about to get a $50,000 shot in the arm.

Andy Warhol, “Dollar Sign,” 1981 (Photo Credit: The Andy Warhol Museum)

Andy Warhol, “Dollar Sign,” 1981 (Photo Credit: The Andy Warhol Museum)

Backed by the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Regional Regranting Program, Downtown gallery and arts organization 516 ARTS has acquired funds to lavish on worthy visual arts projects. The newly created Fulcrum Fund will dish out grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 “to enable artists to expand existing work and pivot in new directions in creating and showcasing projects that inspire curiosity, engagement and dialogue,” according to the program description.

Any medium you can dream up – from a one-off performance art piece to a series of film screenings to something online to a good old-fashioned exhibition – is eligible for the grants. A panel of three arts professionals – Romi Crawford, Joey Reyes and Al Miner – will decide this year’s awards.

When handing out dollars, a fund has to be picky. Nonprofits, students and commercial businesses are ineligible for these grants. The lead artist on any project must live within an 80-mile radius of Albuquerque, and whatever art you create must include a public component. If you’ve been dreaming of building that revolutionary olfactory masterpiece, you’ll have to hit up another organization; the Fulcrum Fund strictly considers visual art.

Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15. Visit 516arts.org for the grant application, budgeting form and other details, or head to the Santa Fe Art Institute (1600 St. Michael’s Drive) from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, for an informational session.

High flying

Credit: AirDance New Mexico

Credit: AirDance New Mexico

Spring, as they say, is in the air. This is especially true if you think of “spring” as slang for “pollen,” and of “pollen” as another word for “suffering.” What a consolation it is to know that the performers of AirDance New Mexico are also going airborne for their annual spring show from Friday, April 22, through Sunday, April 24.

“Masque Aspect” brings eight aerialists plus artistic director Debra Landau center stage at AirDance ArtSpace (3030 Isleta SW) for an artistic inquiry into the masks we wear. Those masks may be found attached to dancers’ faces, or they might be imaginary, intangible. Some are created with makeup. One particular mask might be a welder’s helmet – this is, after all, somatic poetry.

Suspended from trapeze, hammock, silks, hoop and cube, AirDance New Mexico performs all new dances and theatrical explorations created collaboratively by company members.

Burque wall-of-bass supergroup Chicharra enhances the experience with original music composed just for “Masque Aspect.” Intriguingly, AirDance musical director Monica Demarco, who ensures fresh sonic inventions for every show, is both an aerialist and a member of the band.

Catch “Masque Aspect” on Friday, April 22-23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m. Tickets are just $5 to $15 and can be snagged at the door, by calling (505) 842-9418 or online at airdance.org.

The Nation in the nation

Credit: CC Chris Parfitt via Flickr

Credit: CC Chris Parfitt via Flickr

It’s time for the Gathering of Nations. Happening Thursday, April 28, through Saturday, April 30, at WisePies Arena, a.k.a. the Pit (1111 University SE), this massive powwow representing over 500 tribes remains the cultural touchstone we’ve come to expect after over three decades of dancing, fry bread and Miss Indian World-crowning.

Shop for something meaningful among more than 800 artists, crafters and other vendors at the Indian Traders Market, where tacky plastic crap is strictly verboten. Soak in sounds by Native performers in genres ranging from hip-hop to Native traditional to country on Stage 49. Will-call tickets priced from $19.50 to $44 and GoN memorabilia can be purchased online at gatheringofnations.com through April 23.

GoN is an Albuquerque institution and a destination for thousands every year, but Native identity is vast. Addressing what it describes as a “visibility void” for indigenous queers at the annual powwow, Gathering of Queer Nations (An Indigenous Queer Celebration) crams in an incredible array of entertainment and edification at Corpus Info Shop (214 Sixth Street SW) on Saturday, April 30, from 1 to 8 p.m.

GQN is probably the only shindig on Earth where one can experience blue corn mush fruit mix as an avenue to revitalizing Native cuisine followed by a safer sex demo followed by a drag performance by Lady Shug, the reigning Miss New Mexico Pride. Zine-making, presentations and poetry fill the day with indigenous talent and community-building, while the Discotays, Ryan Dennison and ŁIIZHIN rep sonic variety.

Downtown underground library Corpus hosts the day in conjunction with B. I. A. (Bands In Action), which is responsible for the annual Indie/Electro/Punk Music Festival in Shiprock, N.M. Admission is donation-based. For more info, visit the Facebook event page at bit.ly/QueerNations

Lisa Barrow eats, breathes and sleeps art … and juniper pollen.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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