Patricia Nicholson's 70th Birthday Benefit
Arts For Art is proud to present a celebration and benefit honoring dancer-choreographer Patricia Nicholson, the founder and guiding light of Arts For Art and the Vision Festival, on the occasion of her 70th birthday. The evening will include performances and artwork from some of the hundreds of artists she has supported over the years, as well as catered food and fine wine.
Patricia Nicholson Featured Ensembles:
Revolution/Resurrection: Patricia Nicholson with Jason Kao Hwang, TA Thompson, Jason Jordan, William Mazza
What It Is: Patricia Nicholson, co-led by William Parker with James Brandon Lewis, and Melanie Dyer, plus guests Mixashawn and William Hooker
BLUE: Patricia Nicholson and Val Jeanty
And the FINALE with over 20 performers!
Spotlight on Patricia Nicholson
Patricia Nicholson’s dance is steeped in the free jazz aesthetic and an attention to spiritual and social responsibility. Beginning with the belief that dance is the visual manifestation of sound and energy, Nicholson has developed a singular practice, drawing from both traditional and unconventional techniques to create an eclectic yet intuitive approach to movement and composition.
Nicholson's dance and poetry are featured through her active projects: What It Is, co-led with William Parker and featuring James Brandon Lewis, Melanie Dyer, Devin Waldman, and Gerald Cleaver; Revolution/Resurrection, with TA Thompson, Jason Hwang, and William Mazza; BLUE with William Mazza, and Val Jeanty; and Hope Cries for Justice, duos and trios with William Parker and Hamid Drake.
Patricia Nicholson has been writing and publicly sharing her poetry since childhood. Though she gives occasional readings, Nicholson's poems are most often tied to performance, whether serving as a written score for dancers or accompanying, rather than guiding, creative movement.
There is choreography to Nicholson's approach to programming as well. She curates evenings with a deliberate arc, while also emphasizing a dynamic flow and messaging. Her goal is to design nights that create a complete experience and engage audiences in active, and creative, witnessing.
Nicholson's widest-reaching influence has perhaps been in her capacity as an artistic and community organizer. In 1981, Ms. Nicholson choreographed and organized A Thousand Cranes Peace Opera, with 1,000 children performing in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the opening of the Special Sessions on Disarmament; in the mid and late-1980s, she responded to a lack of visibility for free jazz by helping to organize the Sound Unity Festivals. In 1994, Nicholson brought together fifty artists to form The Improvisors Collective, whose highlights over the next two years included weekly events at Context Studios, 28 Ave A. Following that success, Nicholson founded Arts For Art and the Vision Festival in 1996 to promote and advocate for free jazz, raising awareness through this notable and uncommonly visible platform. Since, AFA has grown to be a movement annually supporting hundreds of artists working with the free jazz aesthetic.
After decades of creative production, programming, and organization, Nicholson’s focus is on developing strategies for the future: how to better the world in which we live; how to inspire, grow, and build a diverse community of uncompromising artists and audiences; and, most immediately, how to build a sustainable structure for AFA that will outlive her service and serve as a fitting legacy, one steeped in the ideals of artistic excellence and community responsibility she holds most dear. In her own words, “This is my 70th birthday; there is both a community to sustain, and the creative expression of my own art, yet to be shared. I am humbled by the collective creativity waiting to be expressed.”