UNleash the vision.
On June 24 and 25 the UNSCENE! artists’ management team met together UNder one roof to unleash the vision during the first UNSCENE! planning retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to engage an energetic brainstorming session: Lock the doors because no one leaves UNtil the UNprecedented happens! That is exactly what occurred when Brandon Oldenburg (Artistic Director, UNSCENE!), Brady Blade (Music Manager), Poetic X (Literary/ Spoken Word Manager), Angelique Feaster-Evans (Live Performance Manager), Diego Martinez (Film Manager), Sandi Kallenberg (Chairman, Shreveport Regional Arts Council), and Pam Atchison (Executive Director, Shreveport Regional Arts Council) joined the retreat.
There was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling sheets of paper and bulletin boards that quickly filled up with notes and ideas. An enlarged map of Shreveport Common was the blueprint driving focus of the strategic meeting. Operation: UNSCENE! was UNderway!
The team began a Call-For-Action phone outreach to national artists to be pARTnered with local artists, sharing the details of how their partnership is paramount in the production of UNSCENE! An invitation was extended to join with Northwest Louisiana artists to create an UNparalleled, UNiversal team. The management team worked to UNcover artists representing a variety of disciplines—musicians, muralists, dancers, actors, writers, puppeteers, fashion designers, street artists, culinary artists and more! During UNSCENE! the art forms will blend to create an UNimagined extravaganza in the nine-block arts district, Shreveport Common.
During the retreat, the UNSCENE! team experienced the old adage that two heads are better than one, and found UNity through the visioning process. The extension of this revelation stretched outside of the group and over the miles to conversations with the New Orleans based arts groups, Court 13 and Airlift. It was an UNexpected and thrilling conversation with the City of Asylum Pittsburgh– who is also one of the recipients of the ArtPlace America grant—who could provide unfathomed pARTnership opportunities! And we made “Friends With You” (Los Angeles-based Air Sculpture installation company) conversation! The UNcommon coalitions will bring Northwest Louisiana artists and nationally renowned progressive artists to the helm… UNleashing art across the Pelican State.
-Creating an elaborate artistic sculpture by day that transforms into a drive-in movie theater at night.
-Transforming an historic Louisiana “shotgun” house into a canvas that will come alive with poetry.
-Designing an interactive, inflatable sculpture to animate a Shreveport Common niche, nook or cranny.
-Inventing an interactive ART BATTLE pitting teams of artists against each other in a creative duel to sculpt and construct an interactive installation and animate it through performance. The public will vote for the winning team.
-Animating the soon-to-be completed Kallenberg Artist’s Tower with a night of tower scenes from Romeo & Juliet, Rapunzel, West Side Story, Evita, and other artist-created balcony scenes.
UNtapped- Unreached- UNexplored.
As excited as everyone is about the creation of UNSCENE!, the management team discovered that sharing the vision by a telephone is a tough sell. The retreat’s goal was to book the 12 months of national artists within 48 hours. However, the result was not achieved since the time was also invested in envisioning and defining the parameters of each residency. Instead of garnering many broad commitments we generated a few deep commitments. This took much longer than expected… We sense that we experienced our first UNexpected disappointment; but it made everyone rethink strategy. We realized we need to put the UNSCENE! description and vision in writing so that the national artists quickly become as excited as we are about UNSCENE! So post retreat we are e-mailing all potential artists the UNSCENE! overview and making follow-up phone calls to answer questions and entice participation.
Another challenge is finding the perfect, cohesive pARTnerships each month with all of the different artists. What local theater company would complement a world-renowned graffiti artist? How do we innovatively collaborate with the traditional, historic events in the city to create a synergistic, UNforgettable event that appeals to all demographics?
A final challenge is communicating this vision and UNprecedented artistic opportunity to the Northwest Louisiana artists. We fear that if we are not careful this opportunity may be UNseen instead of UNSCENE! Therefore, we went straight to our professional artists community to ask them how we could communicate effectively. The answer: A retreat! Brandon and the artist management team will gather with Northwest Louisiana artists on Saturday, July 27 for an all-day cookout while we cook up new ideas and pARTnerships.
The UNSCENE! team knows the process will not be completed overnight, but everyone is ready and willing to rise to the challenges. With UNSCENE! taking us to UNchartered territory, the future is UNlimited. UNSCENE! will be UNbelievable and UNlike anything Shreveport has ever SEEN!