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A Seat At The Table

A Conversation About Cultural Equity In The Arts

In an intentional effort to elevate cultural equity, diversity, and inclusion in our arts and culture community, the Des Moines Arts Festival hosts a quarterly conversation on how you can find your “Seat at the Table." Each conversation will include a panel of community partners sharing how they've been working towards cultural equity and how we, as a community, can collaborate to elevate the arts.

A Seat at the Table is facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

Recordings from previous sessions are available in the recordings section below.

Questions? Please reach out to Daphne at ddickens@desmoinesartsfestival.org

2022 Schedule and Registration

All sessions will be held over Zoom and are open to the public. Registration is required.

August 9, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Healing through Art
This session will focus in on the important role art plays in healing and empowering people who are incarcerated, as well as how art influences the re-entry process. Leadership from The Justice Arts Coalition and artists who are part of the program will share their experiences and how their art practices impact their daily lives.
Panelists: Wendy Jason, The Justice Arts Coalition (JAC) founder/co-director, Carole Alden, artist, JAC Advisory Council member, and founder of Desert Shelter + Healing Art Project, and Brett Gonzalez, artist and JAC Board Chair.

REGISTER AND ADD TO MY CALENDAR.

November 3, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
How the Arts Communicate the Native American Experience, Part 2
Creatives will share how music, dance, and regalia play a critical role in telling the Native American Story. To review Part 1, visit our recordings section below.
REGISTER AND ADD TO MY CALENDAR.


Meet the August session panelists

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Carole Alden was born in Orleans, France to American parents. She grew up in the Western US, where she began her art practice, first in clay and bronze, then after her children were born, shifted to fiber. She was incarcerated in 2006 for an act committed in self-defense after severe domestic violence. She served 13 years in prison, where she created art against all odds, developing her whimsical wildlife sculptures as well as a body of work that reflects experiences of women dealing with domestic violence and the legal system. Her work has been shown at national and international conferences and exhibits.

Having spent many years as a successful public artist prior to her incarceration, Carole struggled to find materials to create with inside. She taught herself to crochet and developed her own innovative techniques, reflecting on her own experiences and crafting vibrant worlds in the colorless setting of prison. This fantastical and colorful artwork that Carole created inside her prison cell, was a militant act in the face of her confinement within a system that criminalizes survivors of trauma and abuse.

While incarcerated, Carole supported other women by teaching art and mentoring other survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Carole has long had a vision to support other women who are experiencing abuse or healing from trauma, particularly women in rural communities who have fewer resources available to them.

After her release in 2019, Carole realized that she needed stability and secure housing for herself before she could help other women. Her instinct to make art, no matter what, led to the vision for the Fish House: a glowing larger-than-life fish sculpture rising out of the desert where she could live with her chickens and pet fish. The fish structure will also house an art studio. Once she is set up there, she will upgrade the land for a retreat space and therapeutic sculpture workshops where other survivors can come, learn, create and heal. Learn more about the Desert Shelter & Healing Art Project, and how you can support the project HERE.

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Brett Gonzalez, J.A.C. Chair, is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and an artist currently incarcerated in a federal facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. When first imprisoned a friend encouraged expression through drawing as a coping mechanism for his new environment. Inspired by this new sense of empowerment, he enrolled in the institution’s Hobby Craft program where he received a surprisingly thorough art education from another inmate. Brett’s deep love of art, found in an unlikely environment, fuels his desire to support other system impacted artists as they discover art for themselves. Brett is the author of Pandemic Lockdowns as Pathways to Empathy, published in Mississippi Quarterly’s Special Issue on Mass Incarceration in the US South. Learn more about his story and his portfolio on the J.A.C. website.

About The Justice Arts Coalition
Justice Arts Coalition (JAC) unites teaching artists, arts advocates, artists who are or have been incarcerated and their allies, harnessing the transformative power of the arts to reimagine justice. Through the sharing of resources, stories, and learning opportunities, JAC is building a nationwide collective of people who are committed to increasing opportunities for creative expression in carceral settings, amplifying the voices of those most impacted by mass incarceration, and shaping public dialogue around the intersection of the arts and justice. Initially formed by veteran teaching artists Judith Tannenbaum, Julia Taylor, Emily Harris, Allie Horevitz, Rachael Zafer (Hudak), Jaime Nelson, and Suzanne Gothard in 2008 as the Prison Arts Coalition, JAC has remained a grassroots, volunteer-led project throughout its recent transformation into a national 501c3 nonprofit organization.

CONVERSATION RECORDINGS

(click on the date to view)

August 9, 2022 conversation
Healing Through Art
This session will focus in on the important role art plays in healing and empowering people who are incarcerated, as well as how art influences the re-entry process. Leadership from The Justice Arts Coalition and artists who are part of the program will share their experiences and how their art practices impact their daily lives.
Panelists: Wendy Jason, The Justice Arts Coalition (JAC) founder/co-director, Carole Alden, artist, JAC Advisory Council member, and founder of Desert Shelter + Healing Art Project, and Brett Gonzalez, artist and JAC Board Chair.


May 3, 2022 conversation
Latino Heritage and the Influence on American Art and Culture
Prepare for Cinco de Mayo with an exploration of how naming and identity impact art and culture.
Panelists: Sesó Marentes (multi-disciplinary artist) and Michael Nuñez (musician)

February 3, 2022 conversation
BLM Today and Tomorrow: Pain and Healing through Art
A look back (and forward) on how the arts give way to communication and healing. The expression of remembrance through visual art, dance, music, and words. Panelists include Cadex Herrera, Emmett Phillips, and Jill Wells.

November 11, 2021 conversation
Kate Hightshoe and Kelly Montijo Fink led an open dialogue from the American Indian perspective about cultural equity regarding American Indian art, and the influence of American Indian culture on American art.

May 26, 2021 conversation
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, our May conversation included topics of positive/negative stereotypes, the "model minority" and breaking the "bamboo ceiling." Panelists includes Clarence Padilla (educator and Des Moines Symphony Member), Christine Her (Executive Director of Art Force Iowa), and Pragnya Yogesh (owner of Indian Dance Academy and CultureAll ambassador)– facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

February 11, 2021 conversation
Thanks to those who joined us on for a conversation in celebration of Black History Month: Transforming Barriers into Opportunities. Expert panel included local community creative and educator Emmett Phillips , artist H.C. Porter, and Des Moines Symphony member, Jason Wells. This conversation will be facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

December 17, 2020 conversation
Expert panel included Executive Director of the Des Moines Art Festival, Stephen King, Executive Director of BRAVO Greater Des Moines, Sally Dix, and Des Moines Artist INC facilitator Beau Kenyon and Dr. A'ndrea Wilson; facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.


Meet the Facilitator

Kate Hightshoe has a proven track record in implementing cultural change management strategies at all organization levels – organizational compliance and enterprise risk management and mitigation - and community building, development, and engagement. Her areas of expertise include the strategic building of highly functioning teams and partnerships designed to support business objectives and sustainability - convening conversations and opportunities for innovation and creative business - and tying equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility values and initiatives to corporate strategy that can further assist the organization in achieving key objectives. Kate has her BA in Oboe Performance and minor in Music Composition from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Interdisciplinary Masters: American Culture, American History, American Music. Kate is the immediate past Chair of the Inclusion Council for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, serves on The Des Moines Symphony EDI Committee, the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Art Center, and the Executive Board of Directors for BRAVO Des Moines.
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