Queer In(n)

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$8,066 raised of $5,000 goal
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This project will only be funded if $5,000 is contributed to 3Arts by May 14, 2021, 11:59PM
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In a Nutshell

 

STRETCH GOAL! We’re blown away! On behalf of our team, we are deeply grateful to our early donors who helped us reach our initial $5000 campaign goal so swiftly! Your belief in Queer In(n) gives us the confidence to scale our work and continue fundraising to commission even more artists+interviewee pairings, upgrade our equipment wish list, and begin constructing our website. Our goal now is to raise an additional $10,000 to realize this immense dream. We appreciate any amount you can contribute to celebrate queer lives, art, history, and futures! I am fundraising to launch the first phase of Queer In(n)—a curated, generative online gallery inspired by interviews with Chicago LGBTQIA+ and/or gender and sexually diverse youth/elders and their advocates. As a theater artist, much of my career has been devoted to writing, devising, and performing interview-based documentary theater. Several years ago, collaborators and I conducted 60 interviews that reflected the intersectional diversity of LGBTQIA+ communities. We endeavored to make a play, The Loneliness Project (TLP), which culminated in a devised workshop performance in 2018. We hoped TLP would bring intergenerational voices and artists together to explore historical and current issues impacting queer communities. Since that workshop, I’ve yearned to revive the project and reconnect with the interview subjects. Enter 2020: unprecedented social isolation and the undeniable call for social justice. Live performance ceased. Simultaneously, artists were out of work and demanding change. But restrictions often birth innovation. I was roused to wander into new territory and envision creation beyond theater. What if these interviews could inspire artists working in different mediums, spark inventive forms and create paid work for them? Enter Queer In(n). In phase one, we will commission three multidisciplinary Chicago queer artists and ask them each to creatively interpret one assigned project interview and make a new work based upon it, within their respective medium. These new creations will be presented as online installations on the Queer In(n) website, which aims to center and celebrate the histories, revolutions, and joys of queer lives. Your early investment in this project will create space for togetherness that honors both our history and our future, even when we are apart.


The Full Story...

Queer In(n) takes its name from twin inspirations:

First, it is an artistic digital refuge, not unlike an inn, where one can travel to a new place and stay awhile to find respite, connection, joy, and inspiration. Each subsequent return offers familiar comforts, with the potential to experience new “rooms.” At Queer In(n), all guests are welcome, but this project is intentional in its efforts to create home specifically for queer humans, storytellers, and artists. It’s a place to feel less alone and to see reflections of self in the radical revolutions and artistic excellence of queer contributions. Queer artists and activists have changed the zeitgeist from the beginning.

Second, it’s a site of non-violent resistance, taking its example from sit-ins and similar forms of occupied protest that call attention to the need for social and political systemic change through art. Queer In(n) will take all necessary steps to ensure an ethical framework for art making at all levels of engagement and collaboration.

I plan to work with collaborators Caitlin Kane, Al Evangelista, Reed Motz, and producing partner Adithi Chandrashekar to commission queer Chicago artists—muralists, composers, photographers, animators, actors, choreographers, and more—and pair each of them with an interviewee from The Loneliness Project. I am thrilled to announce our first pairing: the brilliant multidisciplinary artist Sam Kirk will make a wheat paste portrait of elder activist and bar owner Marge Summit.

Each artist in the project will propose a new work based on the selected interview and our team will curate and co-produce each segment from beginning to end—connecting artist/interviewee, collecting research, structuring revisions, documenting process, and shaping the final installment with an editor. Additionally, I will interview each artist before, during and after creation, and re-interview the subject whose words and life inspired the content and form.

This is an ambitious project. Down the line, I envision an expansive digital platform with monthly installments of new pieces and a commitment to long-term sustainability. But right now, we need an injection of support to get my dream off the ground. Donations to this campaign will support phase one, including: paying artists, interviewees, and the production team; funding costs of documentary equipment; and sourcing a web development team to construct our website. I am presently recruiting artists, brainstorming artist+interviewee pairings, and developing design ideas for this platform. My hope is to have a prototype of the website by December 2021.

My ethic is increasingly about love and visibility, and the art I explore and make with others is not separate from my activism—creating and performing work that celebrates the innumerable identities of gender and queerness and championing the historically underrepresented. This is my heart-song and my panacea—making art with, for, and by queer people. Art is essential to life, and all artists are essential workers! Your contribution is an investment in this belief, and your contribution is deeply appreciated.

List of original collaborators and contributors of The Loneliness Project:
SK Kerastas*
Bonnie Metzgar
About Face Theatre
Biz Wells
Patrick Andrews
Benjamin Sprunger
Caitlin Kane*
Reed Motz*
Al Evangelista*
Judson Rose
Andrew Volkoff
Chloe Johnston
Abigail Boucher

* Heartfelt thanks to SK, specifically, for their original idea to create a play about intergenerational loneliness and for writing and receiving the first grant (NEA) that produced the interviews and our first workshops. I also want to thank Caitlin, Reed, and Al for their years of hard work, talents, and dedication to telling these stories.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    A personalized thank you on social media ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above, plus a handwritten thank you from the creative team ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus your name honored on the project website ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above, plus access to a curated "Queer In(n)" playlist (15 songs we choose to go along with each installation and what it inspires) ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above, plus a digital download of the first "Queer In(n)" installation artwork ($175.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above, plus a behind-the-scenes, 'sneak peek' directors cut video of the making of a new creative installation of artist/interview pairs ($300.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750
    Above, plus a private digital 1-hour Q&A with creators (first 20 donations at this level also receive an original signed print by artist Sam Kirk, our first "Queer In(n)" contributor) ($0.00 is tax deductible.)




Kelli Simpkins

Merrill Lynch Awardee

Kelli Simpkins (she/they) is a theater, film, and television artist whose career has spanned thirty years. They are dedicated to telling stories often excluded from the mainstream and that focus on class, queerness, disenfranchisement, and ‘the other.’ They are a …

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