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January 26, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Critical Context Summit

This event will engage local and national presenters in panel conversations focused on the relationships between artists and those representing, presenting, commissioning and contextualizing their work.





Rebecca Gates

Musician, Curator, and Audio Editor, Parcematone

Portland, OR


Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Chief of Program and Pedagogy, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

San Francisco, CA


Garret Koehler

Co-Founder and General Manager, Assemble Sound



Angela Mattox

Artistic Director, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)

Portland, OR


Ben Pryor

Director of Performance and Residency programs, Gibney Dance

New York


Casey Rae

Director of Music Licensing, SiriusXM

New York


Sarah Wilke

Executive Director, Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle, WA



Billy Mark, 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, Literary Arts

Sherrine Azab, Co-Director, A Host of People

Cezanne Charles, Director of Creative Industries, Creative Many


Deadline to RSVP is 5pm on Wednesday 01/25


Sherrine Azab is a theater director and producer as well as a performance curator and educator.  She is the Co-director of Detroit-based theater company A Host of People (a two-time Detroit Knight Arts Challenge Award winner) and has worked with theaters and arts organizations in Detroit, New York, Berlin, and Seattle. In addition to her work with A Host of People she directed the world premiere of agua de luna (psalms for the rouge) by Caridad Svich at Matrix Theatre Company in February 2016 that was inspired by and performed in Southwest Detroit where she lives. She is currently the lead teaching artist at a middle school in Dearborn, MI for Create and Perform:  A Cultural Collage, a unique project and partnership between Michigan Opera Theatre and the Arab American History Museum. Sherrine holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, a postgraduate certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University, and was a member of the 2008 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. She was Associate Producer at The Foundry Theatre (NYC) for their 2011/2012 seasons, is an Associated Artist of Target Margin Theater (NYC), and is the Engagement Manager for the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Cézanne Charles is a designer, curator and researcher working on design, technology, social justice and public policy for future-making. Charles co-founded the hybrid design studio rootoftwo and is Director of Creative Industries for Creative Many Michigan. rootoftwo (Cezanne Charles + John Marshall) is a research and practice-driven hybrid design studio formed in 1998. rootoftwo work to create a condition where we can perceive ourselves, the here and now, and the future differently. rootoftwo makes social objects, experiences, and works for the public realm – typically at the scale of devices, furniture or small buildings. Their projects are designed to disrupt and reframe systems, networks and infrastructure. Charles also directs Creative Many’s programs providing the knowledge, funding, networks and advocacy needed to empower the practices of artists, designers and designer-makers within the state. Programs under her direction include the Kresge Artist Fellows Professional Practice Opportunities program; Resonant Detroit granting program that supports artists/collectives doing place-based work in Detroit at the intersection of social justice and impact; the Creative Many Programs and Seminars for Artists, and the Lawyers for the Creative Economy initiative. Charles also co-leads the design and implementation of Creative Many’s creative industries research efforts. She serves on the Detroit Creative Corridor Center Advisory and the Board of Directors of Allied Media Project. Charles has a Masters of Public Administration from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan.

Rebecca Gates is a U.S. based musician, artist, and activist who has released five albums, three as leader of the critically acclaimed group The Spinanes (Sub Pop). Gates’ programs and work relating to issues of sound and space, listening, and artist’s roles in their communities have been hosted by PS1, Mass MOCA, WFMU’s Radiovision Festival, PICA/TBA Festival, Georgetown University, New York University and galleries in the United States and Europe. She co-curated Ballroom Marfa’s sonic exploration of land arts, “The Marfa Sessions” and is a founder and producer at Sound and Associates.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He is the founding Program Director of the nonprofit Youth Speaks, and is a cofounder of Life is Living, a national series of one-day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. The artistic response to these festivals, a dance theater work called ‘red black and GREEN: a blues’ was nominated for a Bessie award, and the filmed version is a part of the exhibition catalog of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History. Joseph recently premiered the Creative Time commission Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos (2015) in New York’s Central Park, and is currently completing a new work with Bill T. Jones for the Opera Philadelphia while serving as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. His latest evening length work, /peh-LO-tah/, was commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in November 2016.

Garret Koehler is Co-Founder and General Manager of Assemble Sound, an organization that convenes musicians around the belief that collaboration and cooperation can be the foundation of development and sustainability for artists and the broader ecosystem they represent. Operating out of a historic church turned multi-room recording studio and gathering space, Assemble Sound runs a cross-genre artist residency, creative community programming, and an ongoing industry education series. More than a community-building mechanism, Assemble Sound is leading the effort to intentionally close the gap between commercial production and creative production when it comes to Detroit music. They build, manage, and sell the largest and most diverse catalog of licensable Detroit music that exists, and facilitate original composition opportunities in TV, film, and commercial advertising for Detroit artists who control their own copyrights. Clients range from independent filmmakers and record labels, to Netflix, ABC, Ford and General Motors.  

Billy Mark is an experimental artist whose work is rooted in the art of poetic freestyle. Based in poetry, his work extends to areas of music, theater, sculpture, movement and installation. His current work explores the production of improvisational books and other multi-disciplinary long forms of improvisation. A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, his writing has been published in The Guidebook of Alternative Nows and SEEN magazine. His work has been performed at REDCAT (Los Angeles), Spiel Festival (Austria), Detroit Contemporary, and Bushwick Open Studios (New York).

Angela Mattox is the Artistic Director of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), which presents performance and visual art programs and embraces those artists who exist at the borders of disciplines and ideas. Through the annual TBA Festival, artist residencies, performances, exhibitions, and workshops, PICA creates a broad platform for contemporary art and vital issues of today. Her global curatorial approach focuses on experimental performance practice, cross cultural exchange, and interdisciplinary work. Mattox was the former Performing Arts Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) – San Francisco’s leading multidisciplinary contemporary art center. She joined the curatorial team in 2003 and was instrumental in revitalizing the performing arts presenting program. From 1999–2003, she served as Program Coordinator at Arts International, a New York based organization dedicated to the support of global cultural exchange in the arts. Mattox has served as a member of the Japan Foundation’s Performing Arts Japan committee, the FUSED review panel, and as a Hub Site for the National Dance Project for four years. She is a member of Contemporary Arts Centers network and the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, Headlands Center for the Arts Program Advisory Council and has served on panels for Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital, MapFund, Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, Western Arts Alliance and the NEA. She received her BA degree through the World Arts and Cultures program of UCLA.

Ben Pryor is currently Director of Performance and Residency programs at Gibney Dance in New York City and Founder, Curator and Producer for American Realness a festival of contemporary performance in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Gibney Dance. From 2010-2016, Pryor worked as an independent curator and producer under the moniker tbspMGMT, through which he produced and toured contemporary performance works by Miguel Gutierrez, Trajal Harrell, Ishmael Houston- Jones/Dennis Cooper/Chris Cochrane, Yvonne Meier, Wally Cardona/Jennifer Lacey/Jonathan Bepler and Deborah Hay to venues and festivals including Festival d’Automne, Centre Pompidou (Paris), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), Festival TransAmeriques (Montreal), Tanz Im August (Berlin), Kampnagel (Hamburg), Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s Time Based Art Festival, among others. Pryor created American Realness, the annual festival of dance and performance, at Abrons Arts Center in New York City in January 2010. July 2013, Pryor inaugurated a new program titled Festival TBD: Emergency Glitter, to give space and visibility to a younger generation of choreographers. Previously Pryor worked as Director of Operations for Center for Performance Research, an Artist Representative at Pentacle, a project manager for Chez Bushwick and in the Planning and Development department at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He served as chair of the Agents Council and Trustee for Dance USA from 2008-2010 and was the recipient of the 2010 Gabriela Tudor Fellowship in Cultural Management. Pryor has served as a panelist for CEC ArtsLink, the Jerome Foundation, Creative Capital and the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a guest lecturer for NYU Performance Studies, The New School, Marymount Manhattan College and at the National Dance Center in Bucharest, Romania.

Casey Rae is Director of Music Licensing at SiriusXM satellite radio, a service with more than 30 million listeners in the United States. He is responsible for the direct licensing of audio for transmission across 150 channels, overseeing metadata, royalties and performance.  Casey was previously CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, DC-based education and advocacy organization for musicians and composers. He is also a musician, author and media professor at Georgetown University. Casey regularly speaks on issues such as emerging business models, creators’ rights, technology policy and intellectual property at worldwide conferences, government, universities, and in the media. He has testified before Congress on copyright and has written hundreds of articles on the impact of technology on the creative community in scholarly journals and other publications. Casey is an in-demand commentator in media outlets such as NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, Billboard, L.A. Times, CNBC and more. Casey serves also serves on board of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture—an organization dedicated to expanding opportunity for media makers. His book William S. Burroughs & the Cult of Rock ‘n’ Roll is published by University of Texas Press in 2017. In his “spare time,” Casey runs the DC-based label Lux Eterna Records and teaches his six-year old how to play an irresponsible number of instruments.

Huib Schippers – With a long history of senior positions in the music business, education, performance, research, media and policy across three continents, Huib Schippers has always tried to transform innovative ideas into organisational realities, international collaborations, institutional structures, effective networks, successful grant proposals, innovative curricula, inspiring mentorships, and research outputs with impact on theory and practice. He was responsible for a network of community world music schools in the Netherlands (1990-2001); establishing the $10m Rotterdam World Music and Dance Centre (1996-2006); and leading the innovative Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith university (2003-2015). Since 2016, he is Director and Curator of the mission driven, non-profit label Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in Washington DC.

Sarah Wilke is the Executive Director of the Seattle International Film Festival, the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States. In addition to its 25-day festival which presents over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year, SIFF provides year-round film programming though SIFF Cinema’s five screens and SIFF Education youth and adult programming. Prior to joining SIFF, Wilke was the Managing Director of Seattle’s contemporary performing arts center On the Boards, where for 12 years she led day-to-day and long-term strategic management of the organization. During her time there, On the Boards received a 2015 Fractured Atlas Arts Innovation Award for OntheBoards.tv., a 2013 William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, a 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award, and a 2006 Stranger Genius Award for outstanding Arts Organization. Wilke worked as managing director of Consolidated Works in Seattle, as associate curator of education at the Tacoma Art Museum, and at the Freer & Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. in various education, programming, and curatorial positions. Wilke was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Artist Fellowships, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Artist Trust, and the National Performance Network.


January 26, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Creative Many Michigan


Wasserman Projects
3434 Russell St. #502
Detroit, MI United States
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