Week Two... Hanging with the Barn Arts Collective (AKA Art Hippie Paradise)

Its my third day in Chicago doing a workshop with Michael Rohd of the Sojourn Theatre Company <3 So far its dreamy and ultra satisfying... I'll tell more at the end of the week. Time is flying by! I'm already in Chicago and three weeks into my trip. So much has been happening and I barely have enough time to take it all in. Except tonight, I decided to have a night in :)

ANYWHO Maine was a trip! I'm really sad to not be there anymore. I was doing a residency with the Barn Arts Collective in Bass Harbor. The experience in Maine was nothing short of incredible and inspiring. I am super moved by the group at the Barn - both the collective itself and the 11 artists from NYC who were there with me. 

First the collective: these people are sent from above. Andrew and Brittany opened up their home to 12 strangers and were the most generous hosts. We ate well! We were taken on hikes, taken to lakes, given lots of time and space to make art, and given warm beds to sleep in. Did I mention they make really rad children's theatre and have an awesome cover band (with a brass section)?!! The rest of the Barn Arts crew stopped by frequently for band practice, meals, to join in on the art making, and to hang out by the camp fire. The collective is made up of some lucky and beautiful folks. They are valuable members of their community, they get to make all kinds of rad art, they are given free farm-fresh eggs (among other things) by a local fan, AND they live in rural Maine full time. Lets talk about how this experience is giving me a clearer vision of how to build my dream: a life on a homestead in a rural community, which doubles as a theatre company. I spoke to a bunch of the collective members about my dream (a few of them are basically living it...) and they gave me a bunch of feedback and hope. A girl's got to dream. ALSO I was really moved when the Barn Arts crew helped the residency members facilitate a conversation with the local community after the tragic events of last week (Alan Sterling and Philando Castile, rest in power #BlackLivesMatter). It was my first time facilitating a community conversation and I was grateful the Barn Arts crew helped us extend the conversation beyond the barn. I hope the conversation and direct action continues in their community after last week AND that it is extended beyond social media. 

The 11 artists from NYC: The group is made up of writers and actors. Its been really rad to observe and collaborate with this group. Their process is soooo different from mine - its been interesting to observe how our different approaches meet and can complement one another. Its also been surreal to walk into the house and see 11 people typing away on their lap tops... Needless to say, all hell broke loose when the internet went down (ok I'm being hyperbolic BUT it could have been hell on earth). Also SO random, but it was exciting to be apart of a predominantly queer and progressive group of folks. I haven't ever been put in a room full of strangers where I am apart of a queer majority. There was a lot of "Yass Queen" going around (this time I'm not being hyperbolic). Its the little things...

If you want to see images from my time in Maine and my studio time click here.

The time at the barn gave me A LOT of clarity on the Untitled Stevie Nicks Piece... I'm pretty excited about the process and approaching people for the collaboration. Amy and I are applying for residencies soon and slating to do the show in 2017. Whoop Whoop! Stay tuned to find out more info.

Love and Light, Oliver Jane