Update of The Quarry Project

Photographer: Julia Barstow

This newsletter will highlight the two collaborators who create the primary public visuals for the project: Lukas Huffman – film director/editor, and Julia Barstow – photographer.  

Please consider supporting their work this summer, here is the link. We need to raise $12,000 to cover their stipends. 

The Quarry Project is funded by the Vermont Arts Council, The Oakland Foundation, The Amy Tarrant Foundation, The New England Foundation for the Arts, Polycor, The FlynnCenter, and many generous individuals. 

Julia Barstow and I met for the first time when she was a student at Bennington College, studying visual arts, dance, and journalism. In 2015, she studied photojournalism and Arabic in Rabat, Morocco. By 2016, she had her BA from Bennington and in 2017, we sat down to talk about The Quarry Project. To me, having danced with her in two workshops, she seemed a natural fit with her photographic emphasis on connection to place and her felt sense of the body in motion. Her initial images from that day in 2017 in the quarry launched the public face of the project. Her stunning photographs from summer 2018 are what have been gracing these newsletters. She will be in residence in the quarry for August 2019. She currently makes her home in Portland, Oregon.

Lukas Huffman and I have been partners since 2012 when he created the film for Dear Pina at Shelburne Farm’s Breeding Barn. He then went on to edit footage for Threads and Thresholds at the Kent Museum in Calais, and last year’s quarry film. He will be in the Wells Lamson again this summer to make the second of a trio of films that capture this project. When not in the quarry, Lukas is based in Brooklyn NY with his wife Lauren and daughter Clara where he runs Huffman Studios. Lukas’ past life as a professional snowboarder was what convinced me he could film dance. Here is a short clip from last summer.

In anticipation of green grass,

Update

Photographer: Julia Barstow

We are well underway creating and developing scenes and composing music in preparation for the full ensemble rehearsals in the quarry in August. There are 24 dancers, 6 musicians and the infamous “tall, dignified couple”. For the work I create, each performer needs a deep and abiding sense of self, a responsibility to others and to the setting in which we work. To foster those qualities, the entire group gathers once a month at the Contemporary Dance studio in Montpelier for a 3-hour workshop in building ensemble. We focus half our time on the skills required to move as one body, no leader, blending and supporting the group choice. Then we delve into the exercise Being Seen, which is all about honesty and courage. We end our time rehearsing the full ensemble SUITCASE scene.

Everyone in the ensemble is paid for their time and skills. This is my commitment to bringing attention to the importance of artists and their contribution to our culture. Each performer is paid $20/hr which translates to $1500/ person for this year. Each collaborating artist (choreographic partner, film director, costume & set designer, composer, historian) is paid on average $4,000 for the year. Your donation this month will go towards supporting their work. Here is the link. All donations are important and bring this unique project that much closer to a successful culmination. 

Photographer: Emily Boedecker

In that vein, let me introduce one of the ensemble: Willow Wonder and I have worked together since 2011 when she joined the Dear Pina ensemble. She lives in Barre Town with her family and teaches Pilates and movement classes in Central Vermont. She is an excellent improviser, dance maker and skilled at realizing the visions of other choreographers, yours truly included.  She earned her BFA in modern dance performance from SUNY Purchase in 1998. You can see her in the clips from Dear Pinaand Threads and Thresholdsprevious Quarry Project newsletters and in the photo above from 2015’s performance at the Kent Museum. I am honored to be working with Willow again.

Gratefully,

End of the Year News

Photo by Julia Barstow


The Quarry Project has proven to be a truly ambitious and far-reaching creation. Here is what we realized in 2018 and are anticipating for 2019:

AWARDS
The Quarry Project was selected for a National Dance Project (NDP) finalist award – a big deal for yours truly, 1st VT dance artist to be invited to the final round, and one of a tiny handful of site-specific dance artists considered. I was encouraged to re-apply in 2019.

Cradle to Grave Arts was honored by the Vermont Arts Council, along with two other long-standing VT arts organizations for our commitment to working in community. The $5000 award sited The Quarry Project as an excellent example of Creative Placemaking.  

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Our August time in the Wells Lamson Quarry was magical, arduous, informative, and very encouraging: 

  • We connected with many locals who shared stories of the quarry; 
  • New stages were constructed with local help and six scenes were developed with 17 dancers and musicians; 
  • A short film was created from the 2018 footage which will be screened during 2019; 
  • The quarry owner, Polycor, continues to stand by this project, knowing its intrinsic value to the community, the state, the region and all its citizens;
  • Our fundraising efforts for 2018 have been successful, which means a great start for this third year developing The Quarry Project
  • Linda Waite-Simpson has come on board as the Project Coordinator. She is proving to be steady, smart, calm, efficient and highly competent. It means I can direct the majority of my focus on the design, creation, and development of this project. If you have questions about the project, they can be directed to Linda, either email or phone 881-8528;
  • The Technical Team has come up with practical and safe solutions to making stable floating stages. This winter, a Technical Director will join us to develop and refine the infrastructure, be onsite this summer to make sure all is running smoothly and carry us through 2020;
  • The full ensemble of 31 skilled performers (dancers and musicians) have begun. They are a powerful group. Starting in January, we will train and rehearse together, preparing for our 2019 Development Phase in the quarry, and ultimately, the 2020 performances.  

The Quarry Project is firmly rooted in the belief that art has the power to reveal, illuminate and clarify our worlds. Together, we are engaging with others, learning from the quarry history and our surroundings (the deep waters and high granite walls of the Wells Lamson), and honoring the long arc of the creative process. We are crafting a piece of art that, from all our research, is unique; nothing like this has been made anywhere. Please join us. Click here to donate, either in one lump sum or reoccurring over the course of the year.  Here is a short clip from 2018.

May this new year be a healthy one in all ways.
With Gratitude,

Photographer, Julia Barstow/Graphic Designer, Linda Provost

The Quarry Project, September 2018

JuliaBarstow-RaftCorner
Photographer: Julia Barstow

 

Update

August was a full month for The Quarry Project: construction of new stages, expansion of the infrastructure, rehearsals of the scenes created in the studio, and capturing them on film. Our days were deeply satisfying, shimmering with magic and at the same time overwhelming, scary and grinding. Ultimately, we got exactly what we sought in terms of a further understanding of the setting and the creative ideas that arose from it. We have a clear path forward.

Julia Barstow’s photographs of the HOUSE and CHAIR scenes beautifully capture the multi-faceted nature of this evolving project. A film clip will be ready next month.

JuliaBarstow_Chairs
Photographer: Julia Barstow

I want to thank the following individuals, businesses and foundations for their part in 2018 Development Phase of The Quarry Project. It is clear that it takes many interested and committed people to bring such an endeavor to life:

Steve Adams
Ellen Smith Ahern
Leslie Anderson
Michelle Bailey
Julia Barstow
Carolyn Bates
Maddy Bell
Nick Bennett
Emily Boedecker
Paul Besaw
Mark Borthwick
Paul Bruhn
Sue Burton
Nicole Carignan
Joyce Cellars
Coulter Cluett
Selene Colburn
Emilye Corbett
Amy Cunningham
Jessica Deschenes
Ruth Drake
Erin Duffee
Nel Emlen
Patricia Fontaine
Drew Frazier
Tom Gardner
Barbara Gavin
Anna Marie Gewirtz
Ilene Gillander
Harry Grabenstein
Sharyl Green
Sofia Hirsch
Neil Hochstedler
Ginger Hobbs
Joan Holcombe
Christine Holt
Jesse Huffman
Lukas Huffman
Damien Hutches
Keith Ingalls
Mary Lynn Isham
Stefan Jacobs
Sarah Judd
Patrick Kelly
Cyd Knight
Faith Knowles
Doreen Kraft
Peter Lackowski
Bev Lawson
Amy LePage
Becky Lescaze
George Little

Bob Machin
Ben Machin
Allison Mann
Tracy Martin
Terence Mathieu
Carolyn McCarthy
Thomas McNeil
Karen Mittelman
Brad Morse
Jeffrey Morse
Susan Morse
Michael Nedell
Bob Neeld
Radetta Nemcosky
Liana Nuse
Kevin Otis
Vicky Paton
Patrick Perus
Leigh Phillips
Alana Phinney
Pamela Polston
Bob Pope
Glen Prior
Linda Provost
Janet Ressler
Pat Robins
Hanna Satterlee
Lisa Schamberg
Andric Severance
Dave Severance
Linda Waite Simpson
Kevin Spaulding
Lisa Spencer
Fran Stoddard
Vicki Tansey
John Thomas
Chris Violette
Elaine Wang
Steve Ward
Avi Waring
Lida Winfield
Michael Wisniewski
Willow Wonder
Charith Zickmund

Vermont Arts Council
Oakland Foundation
National Dance Project
Southgate Steeplejacks
RETN – Community Media
The Flynn Center

I am profoundly grateful.

July 2018 Update

JuliaBarstow-smallchair
Photographer: Julia Barstow

July 2018
Update of The Quarry Project

Summer is in full swing as are the plans to bring ideas and scenes into the Wells Lamson quarry for development. Here are the salient points since last I wrote:

CREATION & DEVELOPMENT

  1. Amy LePage, my choreographic partner and I had three June days of creating material for three scenes involving the bed, the house and chairs.  This week, we work with five dancers, expanding the ideas from June. Over the next four weeks, rehearsals will continue off-site.
  2. A through-line of the project is couples in relationship: what do they need; what works for them; what doesn’t; what are they saying to each other, to others; what does compromise look and feel like…that sort of thing. For this summer, we will be developing three duets.
  3. Dave Severance is creating the music, working with a band of five for this summer’s iteration.
  4. Stefan Jacobs will bring new lighting – battery driven LED theatrical lights – to try out on the stages. He will also capture a quality recording of the band to be used in the film of 2018.
  5. Six more stages will be constructed and installed in the quarry by mid-August.
  6. Dancers and musicians will be on these stages with sets and costumes for the last two weeks of August to adapt the material to the very different environment of the flooded quarry.
  7. The last week of August will be devoted to filming and photographing this year’s creative work.
  8. John Thomas, historian/researcher/narrator for The Neighborhood Project and The Bus Barns Project has come on board. We are excited about our continuing collaboration.

FUNDRAISING

  1. We held our first house-party in June at the home of Pat Robins and Lisa Schamberg who have been assisting me with so many aspects of this complex project. There were 25 people in attendance, most of whom know my work and with whom I have a long history – a perfect group to hear the first public announcement of the project.
  2. The Quarry Project did not get funded by National Dance Project (NDP). We were ranked 22nd of the 37 finalists with a strong project and application. Twenty artists received funding, including well-known choreographers familiar to you. The touring aspect to this grant was the sticking point for the panel – and challenging for me, too. I was encouraged to further explore the touring idea come fall and if the piece can be adapted in a comprehensive way, then we could re-apply to NDP in the winter.
  3. Meanwhile, Creative Capital, another national granting foundation, invited the Quarry Project (and 999 others) to submit the full application having selected it from a field of 5,000 applicants. Out of the next pool of selections, 10% will be invited to take the final step, from which 46 projects will be funded. We will know by the end of the summer if we are in the 10%.

Any support you can give for this Development Phase is much appreciated. You can donate online or send a check to Cradle to Grave Arts – PO Box 8 – Chelsea VT 05038.

Here is a clip from last summer in my neighbor’s pond when I invited 12 dancers to come test out the dynamics of the prototype stage. Lots of laughter and splashing interspersed with discovering how to dance on a moving, super-responsive surface.

Once this summer’s development work in the quarry is complete, you will hear from me again with new images and ideas. We continue to be grateful for your interest in contemporary art and its capacity to shed light on new pathways.

Sincerely,

May Update

JuliaBarstow_Violin
Photographer: Julia Barstow

Three big pieces of news that have given all of us affirmation and energy:

  1. A major donor has come forward with significant support for each year of the process.
  2. The Vermont Arts Council has offered me a $5000 award (based on my history and The Quarry Project) for the work I do in Placemaking. Gratitude to the arts council board and Karen Mittelman, new executive director.
  3. The Quarry Project and I are a finalist for the National Dance Project which supports development and touring of new work. 150 applicants across the country. 37 finalists. I am the only dance artist from rural New England and the only one with a site piece. Final application due June 1st. Will hear at the end of the summer if The Quarry Project is one of 20 selected. Cross fingers and toes.

On May 4th, the CEO of Polycor and I stood at the water’s edge of the Wells Lamson where I spoke in more depth about the vision I have for the performance. It was his first time at the quarry and he concurred with my feelings of awe and inspiration for it as a setting for dance.

Our May Community Information Gatherings have been low-key and sweet. I love getting to know those who live with the quarry in their back yards, hearing their stories. It is such an important part to my process.

In early June, Amy LePage and I go into a three-day choreographic retreat to begin making the movement vocabulary. We are excited to get going after having several conversations and sharing of inspirational images and writings.

Our kickoff fundraiser houseparty is being held in Burlington. I am grateful for Pat & Lisa and Sarah J’s support and belief in the worth of the arts in our lives. Their generosity means so very much. Thank you for standing with me on this project.

Here is the next film snippet from August 2017 by Micheal Fisher.

Sincerely,

The Quarry Project – April Update

Photographer: Julia Barstow

Oh, April is indeed cruel this year. It is snowing. I continue to feed the birds. My lettuce starts are leggy, waiting. We are all waiting.

At the end of March, I took a trip to Quebec City to meet with Patrick Perus, CEO of Polycor, and the company lawyer to further clarify the relationship. Perus and I will see each other again in early May, and hopefully I will have the definitive green light that I am seeking.

Before I left for Quebec, a donor came forward with a big contribution/challenge that if matched by Polycor this year, will give the project strong legs on which to move forward. Thank you, Tom, for your generous, unsolicited pledge. Along with this promise, I brought all the words of support that flooded my mailbox when I voiced my doubts. Your belief in this project and my abilities accompanied me on my journey north. Gratitude all around.

Snow cancelled the first two of the Community Information Gatherings in March at the local school. At the most recent one, Steve Adams and Barbara Gavin shared their memories of growing up in town while the Wells Lamson was active. Their stories are just what I hoped to hear. We will hold more meetings in May, this time at Websterville Selectboard Meeting Room to continue to listen to our neighbors. People are stepping forward to chronicle the memories. These writings will be on-hand at each gathering and ultimately incorporated in The Quarry Project book that Leslie Anderson recently made.

Discussions are underway with Spaulding High School’s Work-based Learning program to engage students at all stages with this project.

Each day brings new ideas, discussions, and possibilities that give The Quarry Project even more definition and depth. Here is another film from last summer by Michael Fisher.

Thank you for your continued interest.
If you are able to make a donation to the 2018 development phase, you can do so securely online or you can send a check made out to Cradle to Grave Arts to PO Box 8, Chelsea VT 05038. The money will go to paying the artists involved in the quarry experiments this summer.
If you want to volunteer for various aspects of the project, the link is where you can sign up.

Sincerely,

 

 

TheQuarryProject
Linda Provost: Graphic Designer

March 2018 Update

JuliaBarstow_Drum
Photographer: Julia Barstow

Remember summer?
Here are Sofia and Andric on the stage in August, experimenting with sounds in the quarry.  Just to give you some perspective, in the far distant right-hand corner of the photo, you can maybe see me sitting on the rock ledge, listening.
Here is a short film by Michael Fisher from that day.

February was a busy month spent nudging The Quarry Project along.  The first half was punctuated with overnight visits to Burlington for meetings with project planners. The second half was devoted to writing two major grant applications.

Writing these two grants, as arduous as they were, gave me a firmer grasp on how to speak about the Project.  Heading into the spring, Kristen will be taking over the next batch of grants.  Come April, Amy, Laurel and I will be in the studio for a 4 day choreographic residency, letting our thinking bodies begin to create the dances!

On March 7th, we (the community engagement team of Christine Holt, Amy LePage, Molly Kaye and myself) will have our first Community Information Gathering (CIG) at the Barre Town School for the residents of Websterville. We are interested in hearing their quarry stories which, in turn, will form the foundation for creative ideas that bubble up as we fashion the piece. We will have three more CIGs this month and then several more throughout the year to ensure a good connection to our hosts and a welcoming environment in which the project can grow and flourish.

For all my past site pieces, Leslie Anderson (costume designer and set consultant) has crafted an Audience Response book for audience members to record their experience of the performance. At our recent CIG team meeting, Christine suggested the book be a reflection of the entire scope and scale of the creative process. With that broader idea in mind, Leslie has created The Quarry Project book that will be present at all public gatherings. In it, people can record their memories of the Wells Lamson Quarry, their responses to the gatherings, and thoughts on the project’s progress. It will have its first entries on March 7th.

Thank you for your attention and interest in The Quarry Project.
When next I write, it will be spring!!

Dennison_signature

TheQuarryProject
Linda Provost: Graphic Designer

January 2018 Update

JuliaBarstow_LowerBodies
Photographer: Julia Barstow

Lately in conversations, the process of The Quarry Project has come to be referred to as slow dance, honoring the time it takes to bring forth the desired quality. Here is a lovely, slow snippet from Michael Fisher who was there to capture our experiments this past summer.

I am grateful for all those who have jumped on board to help with this multi-faceted work. Your involvement at this nascent stage is definitely contributing to the shape of the outcome. Due to the project’s many layers, we are finding leaders who will form “teams” to concentrate on each particular aspect. Alana Rancourt Phinney has agreed to be the Media team leader and will be gathering people to help. We have a motley crew, leaderless at this point, working on the platform for the audience, leaning into the challenge. I have had several meetings to do with a secret aspect of the choreography requiring rigging, with more to be revealed in a few months. The group for Community Engagement just met and are planning a series of meetings with the residents of Websterville who will be our hosts. It has been a delight to be getting to know so many people in this process. Together we are laying a strong foundation for The Quarry Project.

After a setback with a pair of grant writers who left the project, we have gained our footing, made the right connections, and have submitted the first grant applications with more in the pipeline. Sarah Judd, our new lead grant writer was in the audience for Dear Pina and ready to buy a block of tickets for the hoped-for second go around in 2013. She has extensive experience in both writing art-focused grants and in arts development, and also connects with the creative process through her partner who sculpts snow, a most temporary art form for sure!

I’d also like to introduce Kristen Fountain, who has written successful Economic Development grants, and responded to our inquiry saying she wanted to write about meaningful, community based art projects. She introduced herself thus: I enjoy modern dance, studied it a bit in college and wrote about it with relative frequency during my previous life as a journalist in the Upper Valley. I was a big fan of your “Dear Pina” project, though only got to see it on film. 

During our first fundraising drive, we raised nearly $17,000. This gives us traction for Phase Two Development expenses which are $114,480. If you want to help financially, please make a secure donation here.  Contributions go directly towards The Quarry Project.

If you are interested in offering your skills, please click here to sign-up on my website and Molly, my excellent assistant, who, amongst other things, is organizing the volunteer teams, will be in touch. Help is needed in the following arenas: Media, Fundraising, Technical, Education, History, Institutional Partnerships, and Production.

Thank you,
Hannah
www.hannahdennison.org
I leave you with this quote that says it all for me today.
If you know who wrote it, please tell me.“Art is at the core of our most intimate being and a part of the nature of things as surely as is a tree, a lake, a cloud. When we ignore it, even as spectators, we deaden ourselves in this brief transit.”

TheQuarryProject
Linda Provost: Graphic Designer

Help Commission the Quarry Project

JuliaBarstow_RedDressChair
Photographer: Julia Barstow  /  Dancer: Amy LePage

Since clearing the initial hurdle of access permission to the Wells Lamson as the site for a new dance/theatre project, I and my core production partners have been taking the next steps.

Currently, we are gathering people to focus on particular branches of the project: Media, Fundraising, Technical, Administration, Education, Community, History, Institutional Partnerships, and Production; so many layers in this three-phase project, all important to the stability and success of the final performance.

In preparation for the coming summer of further testing and refinement in the Quarry, my collaborating artists and I are working on choreography, sound, lighting, set, and costume designs. It is my goal that by the summer, I am focusing the majority of my energy and attention on the creation and direction of the piece.

Last year, two people gave money towards this project (even though it was still just a desired dream) which allowed us to pay for materials and construction of the prototype stages as well as initial research into appropriate grants. Now, with permission in hand, I am turning to you to help jump-start the Phase Two budget of $106,500.

You know the importance of the act of creating and the many ways that art enhances and transforms our lives. Thank you for your past support. Here are three ways you can be part of commissioning the new work:

  1. You can make a secure donation below
  2. You can send a check to Cradle to Grave Arts – PO Box 8 – Chelsea VT 05038.
  3. You can contact me for details for a donation of stock.

If you would like to join a support ensemble to volunteer your skills, click here to sign-up on my website. Help is needed in the following arenas: Media, Fundraising, Technical, Administration, Education, Community, History, Institutional partnerships, and Production. Together, we can slowly and surely bring this unique project to a powerful completion.

Gratefully,
Hannah


Donate Button with Credit Cards

Your secure donation is tax-deductible and goes directly to supporting the creation and production of The Quarry Project. If you prefer to donate by check, please mail your contribution to Cradle to Grave Arts, P.O. Box 8, Chelsea, VT 05038. For details on donations of stock, please contact Hannah.

 

TheQuarryProject
Graphic Designer: Linda Provost