The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is grateful for renewed funding from the Sustainable Arts Foundation (SAF), which allows for continued support of parent artists in residence in 2019-2020. After previously welcoming parent artists into residence with other kinds of non-financial support, MANCC was invited to apply for and then received its first funding from SAF in 2018.
Bessie Award-winning artist Okwui Okpokwasili, for example, came to MANCC for her second residency in July 2016 and brought her young daughter along. MANCC assisted her in finding a local summer camp as well as local child care for her daughter during the residency. When she returned for her third residency during the school year in the fall of 2016, MANCC researched local schools that would accept her daughter as a temporary student during the residency. In addition to Okpokwasili, MANCC continued to support parent artists by providing private rooms for nursing mothers and high chairs for toddlers and arranging residency dates to accommodate children’s school schedules. Through assisting Okpokwasili and other parent artists, MANCC gained valuable insight into how to best support parent artists based on their unique concerns that depend on multiple factors, including the age of the children and whether or not the children will attend the residency or remain at home.
Last season, five MANCC artists received SAF funds to support either their own childcare or that of their collaborators. One of these artists is Los Angeles-based dancer and choreographer DaEun Jung, who came to MANCC in May 2019 as a collaborator with Milka Djordjevich and again in August as a participant in the MANCC Forward Dialogues emerging artist laboratory; she received SAF funding for both of these residencies. On the topic of this support she wrote, “The childcare fund was not only financial support but also an encouragement to my family. I felt less apologetic for this residency since the action of respect to the artist’s family encouraged me and my family, whereas other events in pursuit of my art career usually cause conflicts with parenting and family life.” Djordjevich echoed these sentiments, “The SAF support was crucial to DaEun Jung’s involvement in the project. It meant that she could be fairly compensated as a working parent and be able to travel and be focused on the work.” This funding has become a critical component of how MANCC supports parent artists and has allowed these artists to choose collaborators based on a project’s needs, as opposed to feeling hindered by the realistic needs of artists who are also parents.
MANCC, as the only dance-specific residency center on the list of awardees, is excited to be named, alongside 23 other multi-discipline residency programs across 14 states and France, who have also received this grant for 2020.