Call & Response 2022

Throughout 2022

According to artist Daniel Minter, “by sharing space, you make it larger.” At Lynden, we share space—and make it larger--by creating the conditions for thoughtful production, fruitful collaboration, and innovative presentation for artists of color. Since 2015, Call & Response--a cumulative, cross-disciplinary, community-focused, artist-driven initiative--has brought together artists, scholars, educators, and community members to construct a space for artists of color to celebrate the radical Black imagination as a means to re-examine the past and imagine a better future. We build the Call & Response community through residencies, exhibitions, performances, educational and public programs, and collaborations and site visits with new artists.

While the pandemic forced us to cancel or postpone many public events at Lynden in 2020-2021, we continued our work both onsite and virtually, taking advantage of the opportunities to work quietly on Lynden’s 40 acres or to erase geographical distance through virtual collaboration. We are particularly delighted to see some of these long-gestating projects coming to fruition in 2022. This year, we offer in-person residencies and public programs with artists Scott Alves Barton, Daniel Minter, Arianne King Comer, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, and Portia Cobb.

The year began with the opening of Buried in the Heart: A Repast for Angels and Martyrs. In this exhibition of artefacts and video, food scholar and chef Scott Alves Barton has created a literal and symbolic repast, or funeral meal, that individually and archetypically honors the deaths of Ahmaud “Maud” Arbery, Breonna Shaquelle Taylor, and George Perry Floyd Jr., and the maiming of Jacob S. Blake Jr. By witnessing the creation and sharing of this meal we also honor the multitude of individuals killed by state sponsored or private violence. Barton offered an artist talk and guided tour of the exhibition on May 14. For those who could not visit the exhibition, the virtual tour and links to the videos remain online.

Daniel Minter was back in March to work on his project, In the Healing Language of Trees: a natural act of transformation restructured for curing many ills. Though he spent most of his time carving wooden beads for the sculpture that will be unveiled this summer, Minter also continued his work with the participants in our Innovative Educators Institute (IEI). The artist has been meeting with the classrooms of these K-12 educators all year, working with students to develop a visual language for their own storytelling by designing symbols and carving them into rubber or wood blocks. Minter returns in June for the IEI summer lab and makes another visit in August to complete the sculpture. We are planning a project symposium for October and a website with resources for K-12 teachers. Throughout his time at Lynden, Minter has been meeting with other Call & Response artists, particularly Arianne King Comer and Reggie Wilson, both here and elsewhere, to develop new collaborations.

Arianne King Comer returns in June after a two-year hiatus to pitch her batik dyeing tent for the HOME World Refugee Day celebration on June 26. King Comer is at the heart of our work with refugees and other displaced individuals and communities. We first began to explore the intersection between Milwaukee’s Black communities and the refugees who have been resettled here in 2016, when Kai Gardner Mishlove brought refugee women to Lynden to create batik with King Comer. Focusing on shared cultural practices and histories of displacement, this work was formalized as HOME in 2019.

Though King Comer has been physically absent, she has been everywhere in our work: sitting on the HOME Refugee Steering Committee, collaborating with Daniel Minter, and working with local refugees, steering committee members, Call & Response artists, and friends and colleagues from across the country on Healing Coats, an exhibition of wearable art incorporating cultural and personal symbols of healing. Community engagement specialist Kim Khaira has been coordinating the project on the ground in Milwaukee, procuring sewing machines, pairing designers with seamstresses, staffing translators for virtual meetings with King Comer, and taking refugees to the fabric store for supplies. The exhibition opens on June 26 and will remain up into the fall.

Reggie Wilson and his company, Fist and Heel Performance Group, are returning to Lynden this summer for the third episode in a relationship that spans many years. Working from a model we developed with the choreographer, his company, and the Milwaukee community in 2015, when we reimagined MOSES(es), and refined in 2018, when we remade CITIZEN, Wilson will complete the trilogy by reimagining POWER, his latest work, for outdoor performance at Lynden. With POWER, Wilson extends his investigation into the role of the body in Black spirituality, and particularly the ways in which spirituality and religiosity can be expressed with the body and in relationship with other bodies. Starting with Mother Rebecca Cox Jackson, a free Black woman who became a Shaker eldress and formed her own community in nineteenth-century Philadelphia, and drawing on decades of research into Black shout traditions, African formalism, and post-modern dance, Wilson imagines “what Black Shaker worship could look like.” POWER will be reworked to integrate a large intergenerational cast of local dancers and community members—some of them veterans of previous productions. During a May visit, Wilson held two information sessions to recruit additional community participants.

Over the years, our work with Reggie Wilson has proceeded on many levels. We have, most publicly, experimented with models and methodologies for community-engaged, outdoor performance. But behind the scenes he has been an active participant in the development of the Call & Response community, creating opportunities for artists and scholars to collaborate and to respond to his work, while also responding to the work of others. His annual Lynden residencies have brought Wilson together with a series of interlocutors to explore what is essential about his transdisciplinary practice, and how it can be effectively shared with others, both within the dance field and beyond. A symposium on August 14 will bring together many of those who have joined Wilson at Lynden since 2015 to further articulate these ideas.

For information on past Call & Response programming: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Additional Call & Response programming will be announced as it is scheduled.

Lynden’s Call & Response programming is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (POWER), the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joyce Foundation (In the Healing Language of Trees), the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Brico Fund, and the Chipstone Foundation.

©2024 Lynden Sculpture Garden