Gibney Dance Becomes Gibney; Unveils New Spaces, Programs, and Vision For The Future
Today, in recognition of its leadership in and commitment to social justice, community and all areas of the arts, widely renowned art and social justice nonprofit Gibney Dance becomes simply Gibney, concurrently unveiling a brand new visual identity and bold vision for the future. Central to that vision is a major expansion in both space and programs that encompasses new partnerships and residencies and provides a host of new opportunities for artists and social justice activists to work and create across a total of 52,000 square feet, 23 studios and five performance spaces, including 10,000 square feet of new studio and theater space unveiled today-see below for details. The milestone caps a period of exponential growth and unparalleled success for the organization which, over the course of almost 27 years, has evolved from a socially active dance company with a single dance studio to a two-location performing arts and social justice powerhouse.
Regarding the change of name, Founder, Artistic Director and CEO Gina Gibney explains, "While dance will always be an integral part of who we are, we've realized that 'Gibney Dance' no longer effectively communicates the breadth of what we do. We have a multitude of incredible public programs, we support so many communities of dancers and artists, and we are deeply engaged in supporting survivors of domestic violence. Using just 'Gibney' going forward affords us the freedom to more easily cross and push boundaries, question mediums and approaches, and absorb and amplify the power of movement."
She continues, "As we looked towards the future and took stock of everything that we do, we talked to our community-artists, activists, dancers, instructors, supporters, survivors, staff-about what Gibney means to them. Over and over we heard that Gibney is a place where people feel empowered, a home for all creative people to train and exchange, work and create. This sense of the importance of community transcends specific art forms or social justice practices." With the new name comes a brand new logo and visual identity, designed to convey movement in many forms-physical, but also emotional, spiritual, and social. It represents what Gibney has long been, but it also allows for a broader, more flexible expression of all that Gibney is and does. The new identity and website are now live at www.gibneydance.org.
The new name and identity usher in the next phase of Gibney's momentous 27-year evolution, with major expansions in both space and programs focused on leveraging all of the organization's resources in close coordination and collaboration, to provide maximum artist support and flexibility.
In terms of physical space, the organization's home at 280 Broadway has undergone a 10,000 square foot expansion, unveiling six brand new studios including a fully equipped black box theater that will be used both for public performances and production residencies (more on that below). The expansion brings Gibney's total footprint (between its two locations at 890 Broadway and 280 Broadway) to 52,000 square feet, encompassing 23 studios and five performance spaces, plus a gallery and a number of other meeting spaces and program hubs. A major facet of this expansion is addressing the urgent need for affordable space and infrastructure to support artists and activists in New York City. With the addition of these new spaces comes a commitment to provide 25,000 hours of affordable space to artists and activists every year, ensuring that many varied voices are heard, that work has a chance to flourish and that it finds its audience.
The new studio and theater spaces at 280 Broadway received support from the City of New York and are part of the City's Affordable Real Estate for Artists initiative (AREA). Announced by Mayor de Blasio in 2015, the goal of AREA is to ensure the creation of long-term affordable workspaces across the city that are accessible to artists of all backgrounds and support healthy, vibrant neighborhoods. With its commitment to affordability and accessibility, Gibney is the newest partner in the City's efforts to maintain New York as a home for artists.
The new fully equipped black box theater will allow for production residencies, enabling artists to develop work that requires technical support in a theater setting during the creative process. Support for the full realization of work and extended access to tech-ready performance space and technical resources is a pressing need in the field, and the new black box theater will allow artists to experiment with their anticipated performance environment, test various production elements and best prepare their work for presentation.
Gibney's signature mid-career residency program, Dance in Process (DiP), will also have a year-round home in the new space. Twelve residencies will be granted per year, incorporating exclusive, uninterrupted space in the new studios, as well as stipends and administrative, production and marketing support throughout the year. Additionally, two artists each year will have the opportunity to transform one of their residency weeks into a fully supported production residency. DiP focuses on immersive, high-impact support for artists working on complex, large-scale projects that require intensive developmental time and are catalytic in the artist's career. Additionally, a vital aspect of Gibney's next phase is to serve the arts and social justice communities through partnerships with other nonprofits and cultural organizations, sharing space and resources to collectively strengthen the field.
Through a brand-new partnership with The Joyce Theater Foundation, one of the new studios will serve as the exclusive three-year home of The Joyce's artist residency programs and rehearsal space needs. The studio-designed as an ideal space for rehearsals, residencies, showings and events-will enable The Joyce to continue to offer its flexible collection of residency packages that are customized based on the specific needs of dance artists. The Joyce will also introduce new artist services at Gibney that include a fellowship opportunity and highly subsidized rehearsal space offered to select choreographers and dance companies. With this partnership, The Joyce continues to fulfill its mission-based promise of serving and supporting the dance community and bringing it to national audiences.
Tied to the physical expansion and the new spaces is a host of new partnerships, programs and residencies meant to serve both artists and activists and address urgent needs in the arts. To address the current state of severe under-support for emerging artists, one entire new studio will be devoted to emerging artist residencies and a host of programs, services and opportunities.
Making Space+ is a brand new extension of Gibney's main stage Making Space commissioning and presenting program, focused entirely on creating new levels of support for emerging artists. The program will nurture the development of new works by early career artists and bring unprecedented resources to bear at every stage of creation-from conception through presentation and beyond-making it one of the most robust emerging artist opportunities in New York City, if not nationally. It will leverage the whole of Gibney's knowledge base and resources as a holistic artistic ecosystem, configuring production, rehearsal and professional development support to have the strongest impact on each participating artist's career. Through nuanced and responsive support, the program will enable its artists to push boundaries and develop their best work at a scale and visibility level that can catapult them into the next career phase. Entrusting substantial resources to early career artists is both an innovation and a risk. The status quo of early career support is to offer small fees and little residency time for artists to use as they make short pieces for presentation on shared programs. Artists are expected to work in this way for years, slowly building their careers as they gradually earn opportunities to use more resources. In contrast, Making Space+ proposes trusting emerging artists right now, at their current career stage. Gibney not only believes in emerging artists, but has the comprehensive resources they need to make their best work. Support will include generous fees, residency space, mentorship by members of the Gibney staff, technical resources, production support, an extensive menu of Gibney resources from which to choose.
Another new program focused on the need to support emerging artists, EMERGE, will commission new works by emerging choreographic voices for the resident Gibney Dance Company each year. With EMERGE, Gibney hopes to cultivate, mentor and actualize the visions of today's young artists to become tomorrow's creative leaders in the field. The program supports the creation of new works, promotes their visibility in the NYC scene and nurtures emerging artists' efforts by pairing them with seasoned choreographers as mentors throughout the creative process. EMERGE highlights the continual expansion of Gibney Dance Company's mission: from its beginning 27 years ago as a vehicle for the choreographic vision of its founder Gina Gibney, to then welcoming works from a wide range of guest choreographers, and now creating a platform to provide visibility, resources and space to rising voices in the community. This three-part opportunity for emerging artists-to create new work on world-class dancers, be seen in a major New York City venue, and be mentored by a seasoned choreographer-makes EMERGE one of the most comprehensive support platforms for new choreographic talent in the field. The inaugural EMERGE presentation will feature New York City-based choreographers Chanel DaSilva and Bobbie Jene Smith alongside Los Angeles-based Micaela Taylor. Mentor choreographers to be announced. Each artist will teach classes, offer creative process sessions and dialogues about the future of the dance field, and create a new work on Gibney Dance Company to premiere on shared evenings, May 2-4, 2019, in The Theater at Gibney 280 Broadway.
Gibney has been committed to social justice since its inception in 1991, currently providing through its Community Action program: over 365 movement workshops per year that use dance to support survivors of intimate partner violence; in-school assemblies that work to promote healthy relationships and prevent violence for youth; and robust social justice programming at the Community Action Hub at 280 Broadway, as well as internationally through Gibney's Global Community Action Residency program.
Now, with support from The Bay & Paul Foundations, Moving Toward Justice: An Arts & Community Action Incubator will take up residence in the new space with the goal of sharing resources and mobilizing artists as activists outside of the already continuously active members of the resident Gibney Dance Company (whose signature domestic violence and teen dating violence programs continue to expand) in order to tackle pressing social justice issues. This will be accomplished through research, reflection, dialogue and ultimately the implementation of impactful projects.
Fred Bay, President & CEO of the Bay and Paul Foundations, notes, "While much artistic expression has always been seen at least implicitly as social critique, this new initiative demonstrates Gibney's leadership in fostering a whole new discipline, one that explicitly utilizes and leverages the power of art for social change. We see Moving Toward Justice as exemplifying a significant and timely shift in the field, further mobilizing artists as powerful agents of change to propel the newly vibrant movement we are all sensing to achieve social justice and healing in these ever more fiercely urgent times."
Current initiatives include: Advocacy Fellowship Cohort Directed by Gina Gibney, the Advocacy Fellowship Cohort will be a structured year-long program designed to develop and incubate projects that work toward social justice outcomes. The Fellowship will provide a landing and launch pad for a cohort of six Advocacy Fellows as they develop and drive their own high potential projects from conception to realization. The program takes the successful model developed for the members of the resident Gibney Dance Company and expands it to additional artists/activists.
Directed by Jill Sigman of jill sigman/thinkdance, Body Politic is a semester-long immersive somatic/philosophical/activist practicum for dancers, movement artists and activists who are just beginning to explore their personal connections to art and social justice. Each semester culminates in a five-week process where participants are paired with a mentor to develop independent social justice projects. Institute for Community Action Training (ICAT) Co-directed by Yasemin Ozumerzifon, Senior Manager of Community Action at Gibney and Amy Miller, Senior Company Director at Gibney, Institute for Community Action Training (ICAT) is an existing program that will be expanded in response to increased demand and interest in social activism within the performance community. The bi-annual four-day intensive will support 50 artists in the development of skills to effectively mobilize social justice projects. Program enhancements will include post-intensive support, mentoring, advocacy training and convening.
Gibney, founded in 1991, is a trailblazing organization that brings the possibility of movement where it otherwise would not exist. Through its Centers, Company and Community Action, Gibney is "Making Space for Dance" in studios, on stages and in partnership with underserved shelters and schools: Gibney Centers are a powerhouse of cultural support for the performing arts community and New York City itself. In 1991, Gibney began leasing a studio in the historic 890 Broadway building to house Company rehearsals, and by 2011 the organization's presence at that location had expanded to comprise an expansive eight-studio creative center. Today, the organization directs a performing arts complex with two facilities: the Choreographic Center at 890 Broadway and the Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. These remarkable spaces enable a robust roster of events designed to meet the needs of the field and audiences by fostering the creative process, encouraging dialogue and providing professional development opportunities.
Gibney Dance Company is the Center's acclaimed resident dance ensemble, led by choreographer Gina Gibney. Since its founding in 1991, the Company has steadily developed its reputation for excellence, building a repertory of over thirty works. Gibney re-envisioned the Company in 2016, empowering its dancers as both artists and activists. Known as Artistic Associates, these dedicated partners advance the quality of the organization's artistry through performance, and deepen its community engagement through administrative fellowships, serving as advocates for pressing issues in the dance field. Gibney Community Action is on the leading edge of mobilizing the arts to address social justice issues. This highly respected program uses dance to help heal and empower survivors of violence through multiple platforms, including Movement Workshops for domestic violence survivors; Global Community Action Residencies that share the program's model and practices internationally; the Community Action Hub at 280 Broadway and its resources for social change-minded artists; and Advocacy Initiatives that spread awareness and mobilize artists to respond to social issues.