Artist-in-Residence
Joanna Haigood
Picture Powderhorn March-August 2000


To choreographer-aerial dancer Joanna Haigood, grain silos are a metaphor for sustenance and revival. Often overlooked, yet found in industrial lots across the country, these structures represent America's food supply and, to Haigood, the hope and nourishment of its inner-city communities. But more than that, they hold their own spare, aesthetic, industrial beauty--a grain silo makes a great canvas. In late August Haigood will mount Picture Powderhorn, a monumentally scaled site-specific work, on one of the area's largest grain silos. Supported by aerial riggings, the artist and her seven-member Zaccho Dance Theatre will dance on the face of the silo, accompanied by large-scale projections by media artist Mary Ellen Strom, an electronic score by Lauren Weinger, and elaborate lighting. This new piece was commissioned by the Walker and culminates Haigood's artist residency.

Picture Powderhorn is linked conceptually with two companion pieces Haigood is developing on grain silos in Brooklyn, New York (Picture Redhook), and San Francisco (Picture Bayview). Like the Powderhorn neighborhood, Redhook and Bayview are diverse, urban communities that, while perceived as troubled, reveal unexpected and hopeful signs of renewal. All three areas offer Haigood rich turf for exploring the social and personal issues that can be grounded in communities like these. Her involvement with these neighborhoods also brings to light some of the ways that art can become a catalyst for public celebration and pride.

Picture Powderhorn is linked with its partners in another way. Like their counterparts on the East and West coasts, 16 young people from Powderhorn have recently been researching the history and current aspirations of their neighborhood. Through an arts-immersion program cosponsored by the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association and the Walker, teens have been working since March with local arts instructors Kaori Kenmotsu and John Gwinn as well as Haigood's company of national artists to gather oral histories, found sounds, and archival materials. The group has recorded community events, interviewed elders, and explored the types of movements that characterize their neighborhood, from its people to its pace of life. Their research will be combined with materials gathered by teens in Brooklyn and San Francisco into the composition for the audio-video soundscape that will fill the site during the performers' breathtaking aerial dance. After this performance, Haigood says, you won't look at a grain silo the same way again. The same may be true of the Powderhorn neighborhood.



THE JOANNA HAIGOOD/ZACCHO DANCE THEATRE RESIDENCY IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE ONSITE PERFORMANCE NETWORK (A PROGRAM OF DANCING IN THE STREETS), THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, AND THE POWDERHORN/CENTRAL COMMUNITY COLLABORATIVE FUND. THIS RESIDENCE IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUPPORT FROM THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS.