“Reflecting & Gathering” with Nathalie von Veh
Get a newsletter every other week from WPAJoin Our Mailing List
Happy new year everyone! As we enter 2024, I can’t help but want to stay in reflection mode a little longer and try to ease in slowly. It seems like everyone I know is either sick or recovering. If that includes you, I hope you are taking care of yourself.
It’s truly mind blowing that it’s been four years of a global pandemic, and as we all deal with yet another variant and spike in Covid cases, I’m reflecting on all we’ve learned (and everything we’ve forgotten). It also makes me extremely grateful that we were able to gather in 2023 with so many of you in truly beautiful and inspiring ways.
The highlight of my year was our spring symposium, How can we gather now?. The symposium gave us the opportunity to work with dozens of incredible artists from all over the world, culminating in a gathering with more than 200 of you. Very Sad Lab’s program, which Naoko Wowsugi opened with her gong, was especially moving for me. I was transformed while Smoke & Tea and Imka played ambient sets, and then again when we collectively experienced a moment of rest. After so much time in isolation, I don’t take these moments lightly and all these months later, I’m still sitting with the magic that was felt in that room.
Questions that consider collectivity and gathering remain so relevant and pertinent in our work at WPA. I’m thankful that we can continue thinking through these questions together with you in the year ahead.
This winter we’ll be taking some time at the top of the year to step back and work on longterm planning and systems-building. As we begin a new chapter at WPA with our new director—after navigating numerous changes and challenges over the past few years—this quieter, behind-the-scenes work feels crucial to our success and ability to continue producing exciting programs and to continue to best support our artist community.
We will begin our 2024 programs with two events responding to the question of “How should we start?” Over the next couple of months, we’re working with two pairs of artist-duos, who responded to our fall Open Call to organize one-day events around this question. We’re excited to announce the artists and program details very soon. But in the meantime, the themes they are thinking about and offering to us center artist solidarity with global decolonization movements, and the importance of making and taking space for collective grieving. I hope one of these will meet you where you’re at and offer a chance for us to come together again with intention.
Another project we’re working on is a publication to complement our 2023 symposium, entitled “How can we gather now? A Field Guide.” I’ve spent the last few months combing through the archive and organizing content for our amazing design team Mindy Seu and Yotam Hadar to weave together. We’re planning a book launch for late spring/early summer and I’m so excited to share it with you!
Lastly, I’m also really looking forward to welcoming our 2024 cohort of Wherewithal grantees. In December, we met with an amazing group of jurors and we can’t wait to announce the artists and share their work with you in the coming weeks.
And with that, I hope this message finds you well and that we have the chance to connect this year!