Artists’ Town Hall Meeting #3 – What To Expect in 2017

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The answer is: “yes.” What are we going to create: a place for people to connect, act, talk, feel safe? The answer to all of those questions is unequivocally, “yes.”

The Artist Town Hall Series started in late 2016 and will continue with the first meeting of 2017 on January 30th, at Central Features Downtown.

The minds behind the first of the event series were: Nancy Zastudil Owner of Central Features, Carlos Contreras local poet and activist, and Ebony Booth an all around performer and event planning professional. Although the first Artist Town Hall “morphed” into what it ended up becoming, and the second Town Hall took steps towards further trying to figure out what people want/wanted from a group or event like this – questions still remained.

The biggest one maybe: “What do people want this group to achieve?”

We think it is important to inform participants and folks who are new to the idea of Artist Town Hall meetings, that this group and these meetings have already produced “action.”

I sat down recently with Lee Montgomery and Rafael Martinez, participants in both of the first two Artist Town Hall meetings, and talked with them about how they found each other, common ground, and are now taking collective-action.

Lee and Rafael speak to the: WHO – WHAT – & WHY, that we here at ProgressNow NM, are in complete support of, when it comes to the Artist Town Hall Series.

Rafael Martinez, We Are The Core, organizer and UNM PhD. Student, had this to say about the impact of ATH meetings on his organization, and the momentum it is gaining.

“I was able to connect with several artists that were interested in the #WeAreTheCore campaign and organizing that we have been working on at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Connecting with artists like Lee Montgomery among others was exceptional as it has helped expand our ability to organize and include artwork through collaboration. The Artists Town Hall provides ideal opportunities for artists and organizers to connect and be able to simultaneously collaborate on projects that can be mutually beneficial.”

Lee Montgomery, Assistant Professor of Art in the Experimental Art and Technology program at UNM, echoed Martinez’s excitement and sentiments, while adding:

“I feel like the first event was a “proof of concept” without necessarily having an intent for further planning, and the second event has shown just how much energy the artist community  in Albuquerque has.  I am really hopeful that this momentum will continue and connect people in a useful and rebellious way.”

Montgomery and Martinez were on the same campus before these ATH meetings, and didn’t know about each other’s work, and common interest/passion for improving our city by way of artistic expression and collaboration.

This is the power of a group/meeting/event like this – that it serves primarily as a place to connect, to have conversation, to gain support, and to plan and take action. ProgressNow NM, is committed to assisting ATH and all involved in the planning and organizing processes as we head into 2017. We aren’t completely sure where we are headed but the general direction, and palpable energy we do believe will prove good for action!

Mr. Montgomery summed it up in a way we can get behind as we invite you to join us on January 30th at Central Features, for Artists’ Town Hall #3. Lee said:

“I think a community built around art potentially encompasses so much more than a group formed around political ideology, as such.  And the power of artists to amplify ideas makes these Artist Town Halls potentially the most effective form of organizing possible.” 

See you there!