International Presenting Commons
The International Presenting Commons (IPC) is an emergent, evolving, volunteer group of United States–based performing arts presenters and creative independent producers who have joined forces to keep international cultural exchange and engagement alive and vibrant now and into the future. IPC does this through advocacy, active learning, resource sharing, and collaboration among performing arts presenters, artists, producers, and funders, who work together to build more sustainable policies and funding models for the exchange of work around the world. The group’s mission is in service of its increasingly diverse communities throughout the country. IPC celebrates its role as part of a global cultural ecosystem and by partnering with artists and presenters from all over the world.
IPC does its work through a commons-based approach and is currently organizing with the support and thought partnership of HowlRound.
Below is a list of interconnected values surfaced from the initial commitments and goals that drew the IPC together, as well as the mission statement, case statement, and position paper we eventually developed to provide necessary context and focus for our ongoing work.
Artists and other Cultural Workers, Creative Practice, and a Culture of Care
We acknowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the disenfranchisement of artists within the presenting field and the precarious working conditions for many cultural workers. We further acknowledge that our institutions cannot continue to advance themselves at the expense of artists or other workers in our field. We commit to embracing a culture of care, to a deeper, slower way of working, to fair and equitable practices, and to being flexibly responsive to the current and future needs, ambitions, ways of working, and capacities of artists with whom we work.
Advocacy and Shared Leadership
Some of us are primarily focused on bringing artists to the US; some of us are primarily focused on helping US-based artists find work in other countries. In either case, as a volunteer commons committed to fostering opportunity and modeling change, and given current conditions and the general climate for cultural exchange in the US, we recognize a present urgency to advocate individually and collectively for necessary attention, resources, and infrastructure for international cultural exchange within our institutions and local communities, as well as with national and international funders, policymakers, federal agencies, and other field associations.
Reciprocity, Celebrating Diversity and Diaspora, and Global Dialogue
As institutions and producers working to build a better future in the wake of Covid-19 and to counter xenophobia and nationalism, we believe it is critical that the US become a more welcome host to international artists; that we better serve our local diasporic and diverse communities and support a culture of abundance and learning through the presentation of international work; and that we become a more engaged and meaningful contributor to the global field of international cultural exchange. In prioritizing reciprocity we are humbly resisting American exceptionalism as a worldview, committing to respectful interactions with all, and embracing an ethos of mutual exchange and cooperation.
Addressing Structural Racism, Equitable Practice, and a Commitment to Learning and Change
We acknowledge the White Dominant Culture of the presenting field, as well as the patriarchal and autocratic nature of the historic impresario model, which endures in many of our institutions. We commit to engaging in necessary and difficult conversations about this, to individual learning and change, and to collectively addressing practices and behaviors in the presenting field that are rooted in systemic oppression.
Interdependence, Collective Action, and Network Building
We recognize our global interdependence and the necessity of shifting our focus away from individual advancement (often manifested through pursuit of premieres and exclusive engagements) and towards the advancement of a thriving international cultural exchange ecosystem. We commit to fostering collaboration, working in networks, sharing knowledge / resources, inclusivity, transparency, and a spirit of collectivism among presenters, creative producers, agents, managers, artists, and others working in the field of international exchange.
Climate Consciousness, Sustainability, and Reducing our Carbon Footprint
We recognize the climate crisis, its relationship to social inequality, and the potential role of the arts in helping people make sense of their relationship to both. We are committed to climate consciousness in our programming and other practices. Having made the digital shift necessitated and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain committed to ongoing exploration, post-Covid, of new (including virtual) forms of scouting, developing, producing, touring, or otherwise distributing work in order to reduce our carbon footprint as a field.
Who We Are
Current IPC Steering Committee members include: Alicia Adams (vice president of international programming of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Mary Lou Aleskie (director of Hopkins Center for Arts), Roya Amirsoleymani (artistic director and director of public engagement of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), Ron Berry (co–artistic director of Fusebox Festival), Philip Bither (senior curator of performing arts of Walker Arts Center), Linda Brumbach (founder and director of Pomegranate Arts), Rachel Cooper (director, Culture as Diplomacy of Asia Society), Lane Czaplinski (director of performing arts of Wexner Center for the Arts), Jacqueline Davis (independent consultant), David Dower (executive producer, US Operations of Les 7 Doigts/the 7 Fingers), Kristy Edmunds (executive director of MassMOCA), Susan Feldman (artistic director of St. Ann’s Warehouse), Ashley Ferro-Murray (senior curator for theater and dance at EMPAC), Alison Friedman (executive and artistic director of Carolina Performing Arts), Olga Garay-English (principal of OMGArtsplus), David Howse (executive director of ArtsEmerson), Mara Isaacs (founder and executive/creative producer of Octopus Theatricals), Colleen Jennings-Roggensack (executive director of ASU Gammage), Greg Kastelman (president and founder of Unbound Artists), Michael Kondziolka (vice president of programming and production of University of Michigan’s University Musical Society), Chris Lorway (executive director of Stanford Live), Edgar Miramontes (deputy executive director and curator of REDCAT), Mark Murphy (artistic director of OZ Arts), Michael Mushalla (founder of Double M Arts & Events), Claudia Norman (director and founder of Celebrate Mexico Now Festival), Ronee Penoi (director of artistic programming at ArtsEmerson), Diane Ragsdale (independent arts consultant), Mark Russell (artistic director and producer of Under the Radar at the Public Theater), Pamela Tatge (executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow), Meiyin Wang (producing director of Perelman Performing Arts Center), Jay Wegman (executive director of NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts), Miranda Wright (executive director and producer of Los Angeles Performance Practice, executive director of Center for the Arts at Kayenta), Ichun Yeh (vice president and director of sales of Sozo Media), and Cathy Zimmerman (independent producer and creative consultant).
HowlRound staff supporting this project include Jamie Gahlon and Abigail Vega. ArtsEmerson staff supporting this project include Kevin Becerra.
Want to be in the loop about upcoming IPC events? Interested in finding out more about the IPC? Email us at [email protected].
When Arts Presenters and Creative Independent Producers Come Together
How Did We Get Here?: The History/Future of International Presenting: The US Perspective
Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance