ROOTS Weekend-New Orleans

A Call to Action: From Resilience to Resistance

Alternate ROOTS convened our first of our six Regional Gatherings in New Orleans, Louisiana.

With the theme “Resilience to Resistance” the New Orleans Gathering was a continuation in the regional dialogues around environmental sustainability, black lives matter and other critical issues communities are facing. Given Alternate ROOTS’ history in New Orleans, ROOTS was grateful to kick off this series in this city.

The NOLA ROOTS Regional Gathering kicked off with an opening reception at the McKenna Museum, and offered workshops, performances, and other programming Friday-Sunday at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Night performances and the dance party at Catapult were open to the public.

Event Schedule:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reception at McKenna Museum of African American Art, ​6:00 pm ­ 9:00 pm: 2003 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Join us for appetizers, drinks, conversation, and a presentation by photographers Chandra McCormick, Keith Calhoun and Henry James on their years of work documenting Louisiana’s State Prison, at Angola. They will speak about their exhibition The Prison Industrial Complex (at L9 Center for the Arts), and lead a dialogue on incarceration, community involvement, and creating policy change.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Programming and Performances are at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 10 am ­ 10 pm: 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

10:00am-12:00pm: Registration and Continental Breakfast​,

12:00-1:00pm: Opening Panel: A Call to Action: From Resilience to Resistance​,

1:00-­2:00pm: Community Lunch,

2​:00-2:30pm: Performance:

Orisirisi African Folklore, Don Harrell 

Orisirisi Drum Sermons ­­ Folktales, Legends, and Myths from the Far Corners of Africa is a joyous celebration of music that recounts its origin and makes clear how it came to live in our hearts. This informative yet entertaining African adventure is inclusive of stories from the far corners of the African continent, spirited drumming, dance, and song, and a healthy dose of the obligatory African tradition of audience participation.

2:30-3:45pm: Workshops and Conversations​:

Democracy & Power: Training on Political Civic Engagement, Trupania Bonner

In this workshop, participants will learn the history of the first African American incumbents in the U.S., develop a comprehensive understanding of the Legislative Process, and review the four pillars of cultivating political power, the importance of the Census, Redistricting, and Voting Rights as they relate to building community agendas for change.

The Principles of Cultural Organizing, Kathie deNobriga

This workshop focuses on the following questions: What is Cultural Organizing? What are the principles that guide our work in this endeavor? What is our collective wisdom around cultural organizing? The session will be a facilitated conversation and a place of shared learning.

3:45-5:00pm: Workshops and Conversations​: 

Healing, Art and Social Justice in the Gulf South, Jayeesha Dutta

This participatory arts exchange and dialogue explores healing, art, and social justice. The discussion fuses theater of the oppressed, visual arts, meditation, and movement in a spirit-­centered space.

Best Practices: Socially Engaged Artists Embedded Within Institutions, daniel johnson

This conversation will explore strategies, ethics, and best practices of socially engaged artists embedded within institutions. The conversation is applicable to artists performing residencies within institutions and artists practicing their work as a staff member of institutions. Institutions include but are not limited to schools, public and private agencies, museums, and business.

5:00-7:00pm Dinner: ​on your own

7:00-10:00pm Performances​: 

Junebug Productions presents Free Southern Theater: Beginnings

Junebug Productions and FosterBear Films have been developing a series of short films about the history and impact of The Free Southern Theater and Junebug Productions. This film screening of Free Southern Theater:

Beginnings will be followed by a short discussion with FST Co­Founder John O’Neal.

The Soul of New Orleans by Ausettua Amor Amenkum

The Soul of New Orleans is a performance that highlights the resilience, beauty and pageantry of the indigenous culture of New Orleans commonly referred to as the Mardi Gras Indians.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Daytime programming at Contemporary Arts Center, 10:00 am ­ 5:00 pm: 900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130

9:00am: Registration & Continental Breakfast​ 

10:00am-12:00pm: Performance:

The Graduates​

The Graduates, an ensemble of formerly incarcerated women directed by Kathy Randels and Ausettua Amor Amenkum and hosted by their two companies, ArtSpot Productions and Kumbuka Drum and Dance Collective, will present a performance about the ensemble’s experiences with the criminal justice system and incarceration in Louisiana. The performance will be followed by a workshop with participants, sharing techniques we use to create our performances and a dialogue with gathered participants about criminal justice system reform.

1​2:00-1:00pm: Workshops and Conversations: 

Images of Isolation, Images of Power: A Participatory Systemic Change Workshop, Derek Roguski, Ashana Bigard

This theatre workshop is an invitation to explore and practice ways we find solidarity, or power-with, in times of intensifying state-sanctioned white-supremacist violence, ecological terrorism, and more. We will draw from techniques and critiques of Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) to confront the ugliness that attempts to hide in the matrix — and the beauty as well. How do we focus on systemic change and not just “bad apples” in this landscape full of battlefields and fields of potential solidarity? How can we knock out the stilts that support this house of oppression and build liberation instead? We believe that theatre-based dialogue can help us take these steps in a rigorous and constructive way.

LAST CALL: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project

LAST CALL: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project will host a learning exchange about the process of using community­ based interviews to create performance work. The session will include a short staged reading of performance­ in ­progress, a feedback session, and a brief presentation/discussion with our interviewees and advisors.

1:00-2:00 pm: Community Lunch​ 

2:00-4:30 pm: Healing From and Preparing for Climate­Based Disasters in the African Diaspora,​Colette Pichon Battle​

This session, led by Gulf South Rising’s Executive Director Colette Pichon Battle will explore the actions and cultural organizing enacted by GSR through the intersectional lens of environmental racism. It will feature conversations with South Louisiana culture­bearers about healing from and preparing for climate­based disasters in the African Diaspora. Presenters offer responses to questions from peers and demonstrations of art forms and their use.

5:00 pm: Dinner at Golden Feather Restaurant​, 704 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

7:00-10:00 pm: Catapult Dance Party,​ 609 Saint Ferdinand St. New Orleans, LA 70117

Join us for late night ROOTer fun!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Programming at Contemporary Arts Center, 10:00 am ­ 1:00 pm, 900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130

10:00-1:00 pm: Closing Programming.​



The ROOTS Weekend Series is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


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Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.