We are excited to officially launch the 2021/22 season of the Rural Performance/Production Lab (RPPL) – with a celebration announcement of the 11 artists who will be supported by the program through 2022.
The Rural Performance / Production Lab (RPPL) is a creative production process which seeks to support the development of new work rooted in rural living, history, places, and bodies. Through four categories, RPPL artists will receive direct funding or a configuration of an on-site residency, coaching and support from a dedicated team of advisors over an 18-month period in addition to the direct funding. This opportunity is for artists living in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Sipp Culture is able to provide rehearsal space, housing, planning support and can participate as a partner and consultant in the realization of bringing new southern rural stories to the field. Through this program Sipp Culture offers artists support which is tailor-made to fit their developmental needs.
“We found that our RPPL residency program is best positioned to support artists transitioning from one place in their career trajectory into another self-defined place,” said Carlton Turner, Artistic Director of Sipp Culture. “We are in a time that calls for change, both structural and intentional. Artists are built to adapt. Our residency program is designed to aid in that transition.”
The 11 RPPL artists include the following (program, project descriptions and images below):
|Annette Hollowell & free feral
|Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa
|Carlton (CJ) Bell
|Shavondria (SJ) Jackson
A team of four professional artist advisors for the program include: Clyde Valentine, director, Ignite Arts Dallas; Millicent Johnnie, Chief Executive Officer, Millicent Johnnie Films L.L.C; Nick Slie, performer, producer, cultural organizer, Mondo Bizzaro; and Stephanie McKee-Anderson, artistic executive director, Junebug Productions.
“One of the best attributes of the RPPL program’s design is the process itself! It is a deep engagement between the artist and the RPPL advisors,” said Brandi Turner, Sipp Culture Co-Founder and Program Manager. “ All RPPL Advisors are artists and professionals in their field. They help the RPPL artists think through the components and needs of their project, assist in designing their residency time, while also aligning them with other tools and resources. RPPL is all about supporting Southern rural artists!”
Annette Hollowell (Waterford, MS)
free feral (New Orleans, LA)
Project: We Are the Promised Land is a multimedia exploration of Black inheritance in Mississippi’s Hill Country. We follow Annette Hollowell as she takes on stewardship of Foxfire Ranch, her family land and interrogate regional and familial legacies, and explore what it takes to give our ancestors the afterlife they deserve.
Erin Washington (Montgomery, AL)
Project: WestSide! is a documentary project looking at the deep history of blk residents on the westside of Montgomery. We will be interviewing blk residents that attended Blk high schools during the beginnings of integration and looking at the liberatory ideas that came out of this. Too often the narrative of integration centers the horror stories of racial injustice, we want to center the healing spaces of care and ease that existed in blk schools, churches, community centers and social clubs.
Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa (New Orleans, LA)
Project: On/Un Becoming is a multi|ungenred project exploring the simultaneous processes of becoming & unbecoming across the spectrum of self|selves.
Part 1, Becoming//Black (2015), explored the formation of Blackness as a political identity.
Part 2, SayMyNameSayOurNamez, explores transitioning into selves within and beyond the realm of gender (identity).
Jasmine Cannon (Opelika, AL)
Project: Black Southern Woman is a multimedia documentary project featuring Black women from the deep South. The Black Southern Woman exhibit features photos, videos and audio elements, taking audiences through a journey of the lives of these women whose stories would likely otherwise go unnoticed and untold to anyone other than themselves.
COMMUNITY IMPACT ARTIST
Christina McField (Jackson, MS)
Project: Where Time Stands Still aims to document historic structures, their stories, and social impact. There is beauty to decayed sites and my focus is to bring a eulogy for the lost ways of life and capture the visceral experience of entering a parallel universe of silence, rust, and peeling paint.
Brian Egland (Breaux Bridge, LA)
Project: Gullah Gullah Island
Salaam Green (Calera, AL)
Project: Down by the Southern Rural Riverside
Storytelling in Alabama’s Black Belt
The people shed (people who live on the watershed-Cahaba rivers of the Black Belt of Alabama) are fighting environmental injustice and poverty. This project will highlight the varied stories of the people shed through poetic narrative and digital storytelling.
Tony Bingham (Fairfield, AL)
Project: The Ancestral Light Series – Africa town project will engage the community through artistic encounters which reflect its heritage. With the creation of new works of art in sculpture, photography, oral history and animation. An exhibition is scheduled for May 2022 at the Alabama Contemporary Arts Center in Mobile, Alabama.
NEXT UP ARTISTS
Carlton (CJ) Bell (Birmingham, AL)
Project: “all men are nice (when they want something), & other shit i learned in the men’s bathroom”
Is a an interrogative & provocative look into the musing of psyche of Black non-binary teenager navigating & providing commentary on relationships, life, death, & mental health & specifically the ways in which both cisgendered people have interacted with the bodies of queer in their own personal life.This investigative piece of theatre begs to share intimate details that tie back to the core of everyone’s humanity.
This semi-autographical play challenges traditional theatre format & norms with consistent 4th wall breaking, audience participation (& even communication) for a heart wrenching portrait of growing up incredibly Black, and defiantly queer in the south.
Shavondria (SJ) Jackson (Mobile, AL)
Project: Shavondria is currently in the process of developing podcast and audiovisual work. Her project aims to utilize public spaces and audiovisual models as a way to engage audiences in cross-cultural learning using both virtual and immersive interactions.
Shawn Whitsell (Nashville, TN)Project: This is a love letter to a grandfather. A male teen goes to live with his grandfather after the loss of his grandmother. The grandfather shares stories about the history of Black people in their community. The two go on a journey through time, which includes storytelling, poetry, and audio/visual elements.