From the Executive Director
Hey NAMAC people—welcome to March. It is Women's History Month, among other notable monthly distinctions: International Women's Day is on the 8th, Pi Day the 14th, and then the Ides of March. It's Human Rights Day in South Africa on the 21st, International Day of Tree Planting and World Poetry Day (also on the 21st), Purple Day on the 26th, and Cesar Chavez Day on March 31st. So much to celebrate, and much to do. I call upon all of you this March—step into the NAMAC community as you never have before. Join the Alliance if you haven't done it yet, or renew your membership at a higher level. If our programming is going to bust out this year—the Innovation Studio, the Creative Leadership Lab, the Youth Media Roundtables, the Survey, and everything else—we need your buy-in, your contribution, your voice and your participation. Read on:
1. If you are a youth media organization or practitioner, please join our Youth Media: Present and Future Virtual Roundtable discussion on Monday, March 9th. It’s going to be a powerful field-building discussion, hosted by NAMAC and co-moderated by Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, Better Youth Executive Director Syd Stewart (NAMAC Leadership Institute alumna) and Spy Hop Executive Director Kasandra VerBrugghen (NAMAC Board Member). You’ve got to sign up to get an email invite to the Zoom meeting, so don’t wait until the last minute. Do it now: namac.org/programs/youth-media
2. NAMAC’s Creative Leadership Lab (formerly the National Leadership Institute) is happening at Sundance this summer and applications are now open! Apply at the link above—deadline is Friday, March 27th at 5pm.
3. Please fill out the short and fun survey that The Fledgling Fund and the Philadelphia Foundation have helped us put together to find out how NAMAC can best serve the need of media arts and culture organizations and practitioners everywhere.
Last thing—NAMAC is on the road this month for a couple of events that demonstrate the range of impact we’re having and the kickass possibilities for the future.
SXSW Interactive is always a radical deepthink, and this year is no different. How does the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture find its voice in this Austin technology mecca? My panel, Technicians of the Sacred: The New Native Apps is an attempt to integrate culture and media innovation with a discussion about Native American and indigenous communities working with technology and storytelling to preserve, challenge and sustain their identity.
Lauren Chief Elk of the Wiyabi Project (fresh from her recent Twitter dust-up with Rosie O’Donnell), Lewis “Bleu” St. Cyr, Media Specialist of the Winnebago Tribe and NAMAC Board Member and Googler Eric Doversberger will join me for what I hope will be a unique and soulful SXSW conversation. Lewis is not only the tech guy for his tribe, he’s also an incredible hoop dancer—anything could happen. The panel is happens on Monday, March 16th at 3:30pm in Salon 2 of the JW Marriott. NAMAC members, friends, fans, followers—please come say hello.
The SXSW panel will not be a one-off conversation—in the Google universe, October is Map Your Indigenous Community Month, and NAMAC will be working towards a virtual members event this fall to get everyone involved in storymapping in their communities. If you are a NAMAC member who would like to join in the effort, or lead a project in your area, please contact me soon at email@example.com!
After SXSW, I’ll be part of the California contingent at Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. The event brings together a cross section of United States-based cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 500 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. What should we be saying to our elected officials? Let me know!
Notes from the Field
Congratulations to NAMAC member Chris Johnson—he and the creative team of Question Bridge are the recipients of the 2015 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. Question Bridge is an innovative transmedia project that seeks to represent and define Black male identity in America.