By Jamie Blosser, SFAI Executive Director
Greetings! Welcome to The Biweekly – a new monthly addition to your inbox from SFAI.
Each month The Biweekly will include reflections on what we do at SFAI and why, and exciting or challenging connections between our work, our community, and the world.
This month I’m thinking about how critical partnerships are to the work we do, and in particular an exciting new partnership between SFAI and Brian Hardgroove, musician and producer with Public Enemy and Belling the Cat – a new Santa Fe-based band featuring Brian (aka Mr. Hardgroove), Jono Manson, John Kurzweg, and Stephen Peace.
Brian and I first met last year after the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) closed. He had joined SFUAD as an artist-in-residence in 2013, and while we met up to discuss the future of the Midtown Campus, our conversation – perhaps unsurprisingly – quickly led to the intersections of our passions and work: our mutual belief in art as a force for good.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to be having this conversation with the bassist from Public Enemy(!) – a Queens native who got his start at the iconic CBGB – but even more important was hearing about Brian’s commitment to lifting up the arts in Santa Fe, and how we as a community can more deeply invest in and cultivate local talent. Approximately two hours later, we parted with the agreement to look for ways to connect our work moving forward.
Having just met Brian, I had no idea how this would come to pass, or how quickly – so imagine my excitement when he called me a few months later, saying that he had been working with Director Kirk Fera on the soundtrack for a new Prince documentary, and that he is launching a new Santa Fe-based band this summer, and oh! – he is also working with Sennheiser on a new high fidelity product – and how might all this benefit SFAI?
The Art of Change is how! This is an ambitious evening that not only supports SFAI programming, but connects visual arts, film, and music – and celebrates the catalytic artists that have changed the world – and changed our lives.
Prince himself was a catalytic artist who has touched so many of us through his unique talent, but also because he was always unapologetically and uniquely himself. The film, Mr. Nelson: On the North Side, is an untold tale of Prince’s upbringing that is set against the changing times in Minneapolis in the 60’s and 70’s, and the support of the black community there who invested deeply in emerging black artists – and still do today. There is certainly a lesson for us as a community, and the importance of investing in the arts and emerging talent in Santa Fe.
The Art of Change is the only national screening scheduled at this time, and those who also join Art of Change for dinner will hear Director Kirk Fera talk about its making with Brian and Director Chris Eyre, who directed Smoke Signals and Skins. We will culminate the evening with a performance by Brian’s new band, Belling the Cat, in the SFAI courtyard, and offer a limited number of guests the use of Sennheiser headphones for an enhanced sound experience.
The evening coincides with a month-long exhibition in the SFAI gallery, curated by Residency Director Toni Gentilli and thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, to showcase the work of many of the artists SFAI participating in the 2019 Truth and Reconciliation Thematic Residency. Local artists and artists from around the world go through a rigorous process to be one of the 70 artists we support free of charge each year. They are all invested in their communities and in re-imagining a more equitable world through their artistic and activist practices. We will have some of their works for sale, and will also offer guests an opportunity to sign up for unique and even weird experiences showcasing the hidden talents and expertise of many of our board members and myself.
Like I said, an ambitious evening!
We can only do this thanks to a great event team and staff, and a fantastic partnership with a pro like Brian, who brings not only tremendous expertise, dedication, and perfectionism, but a really chill vibe to the project. Brian understands the needs of independent non-profits like SFAI, and his vision aligns so clearly with our mission to uplift artists as leaders and catalysts for change. This is a true partnership – and an evening not to be missed!
The Art of Change / Friday, September 6
A night of film, music, and art celebrating catalytic artists that change the world.
Join us on September 6 for a provocative evening of music, art, conversation, and film! The evening will feature a pre-release film screening of the new Prince documentary, Mr. Nelson: On the North Side, and will cap with a performance by Belling the Cat of Santa Fe, who recorded the film’s soundtrack, featuring prominent musicians Brian Hardgroove, Jono Manson, John Kurzweg, and Stephen Peace.
This annual fundraising event provides essential support for SFAI’s free international residency program. Our initiative to sponsor residency fees is a direct response to a global rise in intolerance and division, and the important need for institutions like SFAI to foster social equity and critical dialogue.
By purchasing a ticket to Art of Change, you directly fund an artist’s essential needs such as housing, transportation, studio supplies, and food — as well as our monthly artist’s talks, roundtables, exhibitions, and our signature community event SFAI140.
Choose your experience! There are 3 ticket packages to choose from based on your level of participation; Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret, and Little Red Corvette!