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Artists to Share Strategies for ‘Bridging Divides’ among Community Members

Explore how film, theatre and multidisciplinary artists are working with groups such as incarcerated populations and police departments

JUNE 28, 2016 (CLEVELAND, OH) – Arts and culture can be a powerful tool in shaping how we see, understand and engage with one another. During its upcoming “Bridging Divides” event on Thursday, July 28 from 1:30-5:30pm at the Bohemian National Hall, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) will explore how film, theatre and multidisciplinary artists are working with incarcerated populations and building connections between different community members including police departments. Writer, performer, director and activist Marty Pottenger will speak at this event, along with local filmmaker Jakob Hochendoner and local theatre artist Chris Seibert. 

Marty Pottenger, a pioneer in the community arts and arts-based civic dialogue movement, has been making theater professionally since 1975. Her theater work has been produced throughout the US and Europe including the OBIE-winning “City Water Tunnel #3 and ABUNDANCE, a play that Seattle Post-Intelligencer hailed as “one of 2003’s ten best plays” was written from her interviews with 30 millionaires and 30 minimum wage workers asking “What is enough?” In the days following 9/11, international media covered two of her street-art-projects, ‘Forty Signs’ and ‘Gandhi’, made it clear that New Yorkers wanted peace not war. She is the Founding Director of Art At Work, a national initiative piloted with the City of Portland Maine’s departments, unions and elected officials to improve municipal government through strategic arts projects. In 2016, Pottenger began working with the City of Boston and Broward County Florida on their Art At Work-inspired programs, including The Police Poetry & Photography Calendars. 

“There are powerful local and national examples of arts and culture bringing people together around community issues,” said Gary Poth, chairman of CPAC’s board of trustees. “Our aim is to help spark local discussions about the role arts and culture plays in community building and strengthening connections among citizens,” said Tom Schorgl, president and CEO, CPAC.   

Joining Pottenger at the event will be local director, cinematographer, documentarian, producer and educator Jakob Hochendoner who has worked on over 40 films including narrative shorts, documentaries, music videos, promotional videos and theatrical installations. He has produced short documentaries on social issues effecting Northeast Ohio. Jakob is a teaching artist for incarcerated citizens in the Northeast Region of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He leads media production workshops at several rehabilitation facilities around the region and his work as a documentarian has begun to focus on issues surrounding incarceration and prison reform in the United States. 

Theatre artist Chris Seibert will lead attendees through an interactive session based on her work as Cleveland Public Theatre’s Director of Education, where she collaborated with Cleveland inner-city teens, children in public housing, incarcerated women, and adults in recovery to create original performances based on the participants’ life experiences. In 2014, Chris was selected to participate in a week-long creative laboratory with 24 other directors from seven different countries entitled Investigating Adaptation and Devised Work presented by DirectorsLabChicago, and in 2015, Chris was one of 25 national arts educators selected to participate in the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI), a seven-month leadership development program of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. 

The Creative Intersections “Bridging Divides” event will include light refreshments and time for networking. The cost is $25. For more information on the series and to register, visit www.cultureforward.org

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About Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC):

Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) is a nonprofit organization in Cleveland, Ohio. CPAC serves and supports arts and culture professionals and community leaders who are working to create a brighter future for greater Cleveland. Through counsel, relationship building, research, programs and advocacy, CPAC works to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. CPAC envisions greater Cleveland’s diverse arts and culture sector as a leading partner in contributing to our community’s vitality and enlivening the human experience. For more information, visit www.cultureforward.org.

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