By Kathryn Sclavi (aka Kate Relish)
Art Grants Lead describes Nomadico’s philosophy on immersive experiences and provides guidance for submitting art project proposals.
In 2016, Nomadico awarded me an art grant to bring bring my project “Wandering Wayfarer’s Bazaar” to Nomadico. The project was a roving tea house on a cargo trike. The project originally was part of the Social Practice Lab at Asian Arts Initiative, where I and my three collaborators (Laura Deutch, Katya Gorker, and Lee Tusman) worked in Philadelphia for three years, serving free tea and encouraging conversation between people in a roving pop-up tea shop. The trike, named HOT TEA, was inspired by my trip to see my family in Medan, Sumatra in Indonesia, where I was inspired by the mobile food carts on motorbikes, carts, and more. The three-year social practice project in Philadelphia was named HOT TEA, to signify hot tea being an offering across cultures, the tea cart being a blank canvas for people to come and bring their own stories about sharing tea and conversation from their own backgrounds. You can read about the project here and watch a short film about it here.
I brought the tea trike to Nomadico and transformed it into the Wandering Wayfarer’s Bazaar to fit the theme of Nomadico. The trike was outfitted with many types of essential oil sprays and oils, cardamom seeds, all with a different fortune written on them, some with quotes about wandering. The treats were created with my collaborator and Meso Creso member Diana Rhodes, in a few workshops open to the Meso Creso community to come and learn how to make the potions and write the quotes. During the festival, I served tea and encouraged conversation between strangers at the tea cart, offering them a potion with a fortune attached to send them on their way. I also offered up the tea cart as a platform for other festival goers to give an offering to the festival: a workshop, an art project, a drink, etc. Throughout the festival the tea cart was activated by many different people who gave an offering of a project: a game to learn about mushrooms, a coffee ground fortune telling event, noodle soup, artistic projections using the umbrella attached, a speakeasy, a whine and wine event, and much more. I built an exciting addition for the trike for Nomadico: an umbrella with panels stretching out to the ground, created with Cirque du Soleil costumer Laura Clarke. The umbrella sculpture was meant to resemble a miniature version of the iconic Meso Creso bayt, and meant to represent creating mini-worlds within worlds – the bayt serving as a sacred canopy for people to come together and have safe space and inclusivity in our larger world, and within that umbrella of Meso Creso, we create smaller worlds of connectivity and communication, representative of the mini bayt umbrella sculpture within the tea trike.
You too can bring your gifts to Nomadico!
We invite you to join this labor of love, bring your gifts to Nomadico, and help turn our collective dreams into reality through art, performance, theme camps, workshops, and volunteering.
This year at Nomadico, we have a few opportunities for people interested in bringing an art project. The deadline for all applications is March 15th!
We are offering individuals or groups to work together to bring “Immersive Experiences”. An Immersive Experience invites the participant to feel, experience, do, create, see, and communicate with others. The goal is to create experiential, intimate, and unique experiences for festival-goers through immersive and interactive creative environments.. Immersive experiences are not just for people who consider themselves traditional “artists.” If you have an idea and you’d like to create it, consider applying! Although you can apply as an individual, we encourage you to work as a group, perhaps you want to provide a food dish, and you have a friend who loves to build, and another friend who plays music!
Together you could create an immersive experience.
Some other examples of what an Immersive Experience could be are a fortune teller’s booth nestled in the woods, lit with magical lights and fabric, inviting participants to receive various kinds of divinity. A pop-up cafe roving the festival, serving soup and conversation with tables and chairs. A puppet theatre with nightly shows and a station for festival-goers to create their own puppets and create a play.
Another opportunity for you to bring an art idea to Nomadico is we are looking for artists to propose a Welcome Gate. The Welcome Gate should be large enough for people to walk through, but how people walk through the gate is up to you! What does it mean for you to create a structure which provides a sense of inclusivity and connectivity? Art Grant Applications will be considered for not only a solid plan and safe form of a structure, but also for imagining visionary ways we can welcome every person into the festival from many walks of life, different places, languages, customs, and life experiences. Consider gates you may have seen or experienced from different cultures and places: what does it mean to enter Nomadico, and how should we greet people to make them feel like they are transitioning into our world within a world?
Finally, we are offering an opportunity to bring already-created projects to Nomadico. If you have a project you’d love to bring, but need a small amount of funding ($150-$200) to transport your project or provide some extra support to bring it, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about it!
We want to honor the idea that every person has the right to be considered an artist, and so if you have never done something like this before, please reach out to us at email@example.com and let us help you think through your idea! Remember, applications are due on March 15th!
Kate Relish (Kathryn Sclavi) is a NYC-based artist who has been a long-time creative collaborator with Meso Creso. She creates immersive installations, projects, workshops, and events to encourage greater communication and inclusivity between diverse groups of people. She is a teaching artist and creative consultant for educators, designing strategies to collaborate, communicate, and learn about the world through the process of experimental art making through an arts integration modality. She is also co-founder and member of Shadow Traffic, an art collective creating participatory art experiences in unexpected, public places.