Friday, January 17, 2020

Otra Vez! 43rd Annual Three Kings Day Parade!

For the second year in a row, I lent a hand to my friends at El Museo del Barrio for their amazing, over-the-top annual event - Three Kings Day Parade & Celebration. This year being their 43rd, was entitled, Nuestros Barrios Unidos: Celebrating our Collective Strength, honoring New York City's immigrant and migrant communities of past and present. The parade is a beautiful tribute to Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Latin American and Latinx cultures, and the el Barrio neighborhood. It also helps to keep the cultural and religious tradition of the Three Kings, Dia De Los Reyes (AKA the Epiphany) alive. 

Being that I did it last year, I was asked once again to assist on the Facebook Live filming, hosted by Rhina "La Reina del Barrio" Valentin. I never knew that doing PA work would be interesting to me, but it was great fun to do it with Rhina and her comrades, J Spock and Frank as we ran through the parade filming all of the fun and grandeur featuring giant puppets, live camels and  performances by Bomba Yo, Annette Aguilar & the Stringbeans, Fogo Azul, and Wabafu Garifuna Dance Theater.

The Three Kings event starts early with a breakfast and awards ceremony honoring the Kings, Madrinas and Padrinos -  which includes addresses from local elected officials. Next is the main event - the colorful parade - marching from 106th and Park all the way up to La Marqueta (which has an after party of it's own). And finally, the after-party back at El Museo featuring Los Planeros de la 21 live in concert.  

Here are the Facebook livestream video links:

Morning Interviews with Kings at El Museo
Bomba Yo! Parranda at El Museo
Entire Honoree Award Ceremony at El Museo
Entire Parade Route
After Party at La Marqueta
Live Concert with Los Planeros de la 21 at EL Museo

Backstage with El Museo Executive Director, Patrick Charpenel; Director of Communications, Rose Mary Cortez; Grand Marshall, Marcos Saavedra; King Emeritus, Jesus "Papoletto" Melendez; and some of the Madrenas and Padrinos.

Rhina Valentin (playing double-duty as a Madrina "Celia Cruz" and Facebook Live Hostess) with "King" Elba Cabrera. 

Before an interview with Univision TV.

Rhina being interviewed by MC Victor Cruz.

Bomba Yo

Honoree breakfast award ceremony.

"King" Elba Cabrera speech 

"King" Elba Cabrera

"King" Julissa Arce

Madrinas and Padrinos

Start of the parade route

Rhina with Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams

Rhina with Bomba Yo

Rhina with Fogo Azul

Three Kings

At La Marqueta

A parranda at la Marqueta

(all photos by me - see more on IG @whippedhoney)

Monday, December 23, 2019

So GAAN, So Good

2019 has really zoomed by! The New Year – and new decade – is upon us. So many things have happened this year, I have barely had any time to write any blog posts. What’s taken up most of my spare time was school and studying, but also being on the Executive Board of my student organization. The organization, Weissman Graduate Arts Administration Network (GAAN for short) is something I got involved in last year, as a student in my cohort (James Stanton) founded it as his thesis capstone project. But then he graduated and as the e-board had to be reelected, somehow, I became Vice President for the Fall 2019 semester. “It will be easy,” they said – “It will barely take up any time,” they said. Famous last words.

In reality, being on the e-board of GAAN as VP in Fall 2019, has been fun, as well as a challenge and learning experience. Yes, it is a lot of work, especially since the organization is new, my colleagues – Anastasia Gudko (Pres), Federica Mei (Treasurer), Daveneal Duncan (Secretary) – and I had to put a lot of effort into organizing and professionalizing procedures. And since it is still a small group, the work was all ours to complete. In the end, we surpassed our responsibilities in terms of sustaining an official student organization within Baruch College, and I’m happy to say that it is thriving and growing.

Personally, I was able to utilize some of the skills that I already had, but more importantly, I discovered some new goals and interests. Back in the Spring of 2019, I conceptualized an event for GAAN called the Professional Development Exchange (PDE), subtitled “We Are Our Own Best Resource.” I started by gathering information from students in the program, to identify the most pressing issues in relation to being arts administration grad students looking to secure jobs in the field. With that, I invited a cross-section of students with different levels of experience to participate in a roundtable-style discussion, which I moderated. The PDE turned out to be part professional development, part therapy session, and (to me) felt like a Social Practice art project. Success! 

The success of the PDE lead me to want to work on more professional development projects for GAAN. I always knew that I had a love for event production, but also realized that I very much enjoy being a moderator and facilitator. Who knew?! After becoming VP in Fall 2019, I would have ample opportunity to do this. First, we scheduled our mandatory General Interest Meeting (GIM), within which Anastasia thought it would be a good idea to include a segment called, Success Stories Sessions, which would include one student and one program alumni discussing a recent successful arts-related endeavor, and me as moderator. The SSS worked out very well within the GIM format, where we also made general announcements and encouraged students to participate and take advantage of our club. 

Next, we coordinated with the Director of Baruch Graduate Career Services to collaborate on a larger event called GAAN Insiders. This was to be a moderated panel discussion, featuring five program alumni who are leaders in the arts and cultural field. For this I utilized the power of polling once again, and asked program students and alumni what their most pressing career-related issues were, as well as whom they might like to suggest as panelists. In building our list, I consciously kept in mind the need for a well-balanced and diverse panel in terms of race, gender and professional discipline. We came up with a dream-team, consisting of  Liz Tuncer (Director at Samuel Owen Gallery); Iyvon Edebiri (Artistic Director of The Parsnip Ship, Associate Producer at ArKtype Productions and Public Forum Assistant at The Public Theater); Matthew Brookshire (Major Gifts Officer at The Actors Fund); and Milena Deleva (Executive Director at Elizabeth Kostova Foundation); and moderator, Paola Francisquini (Development Consultant, AnnexB). Being a larger and more complicated event, it required quite a bit more planning and preparation – from promotions through production. In the end, GAAN Insiders was a great success also. In addition to providing useful and inspiring information, it also created a new pathway for current students and alumni to connect with one another.

While GAAN is still relatively small, my colleagues and I have out in have laid a good foundation for our network to grow. So far, we have been recognized by our program directors at Baruch, mentioned on social media posts, and had an article written about us in the Baruch Ticker newspaper.

At the end of the day, being a part of GAAN has provided me with an incredible network of friends and colleagues. It has also enabled me to hone some familiar skills and cultivate new ones which I will carry with me into my professional life as an arts administrator. As VP I’ve had to embrace a leadership role and constantly reflect on what that means in the GAAN context, as I prepare to become President of the club in the Spring 2020 semester. My current e-board cohort are all graduating, but I hope to be working with them still, as they join the new Baruch Arts Admin Alumni Club, officially launching in January 2020. A new GAAN e-board has been elected – Mitchell-Lee Van Rooij (VP), Sarah Kearns (Treasurer), Kimberly Boyce-Lazare (Secretary) – and we have already started working on projects for the Spring 2020 semester.

As a grad student with a full-time job, an art practice, and other responsibilities, taking on this role has definitely not been as easy as I had thought; but like they say, “Nothing good comes easy.” And so far, being a part of GAAN has definitely been good.

Group shot from GAAN General Interest Meeting, Fall 2019

GAAN E-Board Fall 2019

Group shot from GAAN General Interest Meeting, Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders panel discussion Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders panel discussion Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders panel discussion Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders panel discussion Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders panel discussion Fall 2019

GAAN Insiders after-party at Tara Rose

GAAN Insiders after-party at Tara Rose

GAAN Explorers painting workshop Fall 2019

GAAN Explorers painting workshop Fall 2019

GAAN Holiday & End of Semester Celebration at Tara Rose

GAAN Holiday & End of Semester Celebration at Tara Rose

GAAN Holiday & End of Semester Celebration at Tara Rose

E-Board-Elect announcement for Spring 2020

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