The Mount is pleased to be one of six regional cultural hubs selected as part of an exciting new pilot project, and has selected Lia Russell-Self as our Artist-in-Residence.

Community Project: Reclaim Your Liberation

The Reclaim Your Liberation Project centers what it means for QTBIPOC folks to reconnect to the self, the land, and our Ancestors through artistic expression while immersed in the natural world.

This project is a partnership with artist Lia Russell-Self, Raei Bridges of The Rusty Anvil, and The Mount.

This project acknowledges the historical and contemporary disparities regarding access to land and barriers to participation in outdoor healing and connection with nature.

Lia will also use this time to continue their own writing practice.

Follow along at @reclaim_your_liberation.

Current Activities

Creative Writing Workshop: October 15 – November 12

For queer people of color to reclaim and connect with land, time, and healing, both onsite at The Mount and in the participant’s own space. Beginning October 15, alternating weekly sessions will be held in person at The Mount, and online over Zoom. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to attend all sessions.

What to Expect: Participants will explore questions of healing, nature, time, community, cycles, and liberation in search of a healing creative practice that is rooted in synchronicity with the earth and autonomy for how we want to heal.

Learn more or register here.

Creative Reading Workshop: Imagining Reclamation & Healing: October 15 – November 12

This series is intended for all persons who do not have lived experiences of racism and homophobia and are interested in exploring these topics.

Each session will introduce core concepts of the Reclaim Your Liberation Project and include time for conversation and personal reflection, as well as recommendations for further learning and actions.

Workshops take place online over Zoom. One week prior to each session participants will receive an email confirmation with Zoom instructions and reading and viewing materials. Please read in advance and come prepared to engage in a thoughtful conversation.

What to Expect: Through reading, deep listening, questioning, and personal reflection, participants will explore the theoretical frameworks of Black, indigenous, and queer traditions informing contemporary creative movements of reclamation and healing.

Learn more or register here.

AAW Past Activities

Artist Immersion Weekend (held Aug. 27 – 30)

Three days of guided activities for diving deep into ritual, movement, conversation, art, and activities to explore and express how we navigate this time in history together, and how we can support each other.

In addition, participants learned various naturalist skills that encourage and empower them to take their own trips in confidence.

ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS

Artist-in-Residence

Originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Lia Russell-Self (they/them/their) is a multifaceted weaver of stories, often grappling with juxtaposed theories and the unexpected. Their current work grapples with how identities, imposed and claimed, can spark the loud secrets we keep best hidden. Lia can often be found in the theatre in the hills that join Massachusetts and New York, whether performing on stage, creating brave spaces for oppressed peoples, or teaching young dreamers like themselves to do the same.

Lia is affiliated with numerous small performance ensembles that stretch throughout New England, including WAM Theatre, Black Shakespeare Project, Eighty4 Productions, and the rig.

Community Partner

Raei Bridges (He/They) is the Founder and Lead Guide at The Rusty Anvil.

They facilitate experiences of mindful communion with the land that holds space for others to build on their relationship to place within themselves and nature, and experience the healing and self-discovery that comes from forming an intimate sense of place in the more-than-human world.

The Rusty Anvil is an educational organization reconnecting marginalized communities to their place within the natural world through mindful wilderness trips and place-based skills while serving as a platform for ancestral healing, community building, and cultural transformation

ARTISTS AT WORK (AAW)

Inspired by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, ARTISTS AT WORK (AAW) is a new program designed to give artists resources to continue to produce work during the immediate health and economic crisis brought by COVID, and to build new structures and partnerships that will help to sustain the creative sector in a post-pandemic America. Conceived in collaboration with the FreshGrass Foundation as a public/private partnership that combines government, corporate, and foundation support, AAW is a WPA for the arts reimagined into a modern context that is sensitive to the 21st century landscape (now drastically changed) of every artistic discipline’s place in the culture.

Artists At Work’s goals are to give a significant number of artists a living wage to continue to make work, to activate cultural institutions in support of that work, to put that work into the public sphere for free to audiences (and in doing so to boost local economies), and to connect artists and cultural organizations to local initiatives in areas like youth mental health, suicide prevention, food justice, prison reform, youth at risk, and campaigns for COVID awareness in communities of color, and other  civic engagements with the aim of fostering healthy communities. AAW provides a dynamic and flexible structure for funding to flow into the cultural sector with substantive, immediate, and tangible impacts for individual artists, institutions, and the general public—outcomes that will help art and artists to survive, and also embed the arts more deeply into communities to the benefit of society as a whole.

For more information, visit artists-at-work.org.