Accidentally on Purpose: Marty Pottenger & Jess Solomon in Conversation
Performance artist, theater director, and Executive Director of Art at Work, Marty Pottenger comes in conversation with Jess Solomon, organizational development practitioner, cultural worker, and Director of Art in Praxis as part of the Americans for the Arts Artists & Communities series. The series pairs veteran community arts leaders with emerging community arts leaders to share their visions for, experiences with, and challenges to making healthy, equitable, vibrant communities through arts and culture.
Marty and Jess met for the first time at the National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation, dedicated to serving theater artists of color and women directors. Eager to continue the conversation they began there, the pair touched on:
- Evolution – the challenge of honoring artistic history while staying open to new ways of creating
- Listening – the importance of listening and relationship building in all civic engagement and community-based work
- Teamwork – the necessity of building teams among community-based artists and arts practitioners
Marty and Jess evoke a sense of accident when they speak about coming to their work. “Somehow I accidentally made a career out of going where I’m not wanted and making art there…” Marty recounted of her work with police officers and politicians, among others. Jess spoke of her own practice around art, culture, story, and community that manifested as her organization Art in Praxis, wondering, “Should I go back to grad school for this?” The following conversation illuminates two women who have gravitated toward work that calls to their hearts, minds, and spirits and betters the people and communities they touch.
Part of the Americans for the Arts Artists & Communities conversation series that pairs veteran community arts leaders with emerging community arts leaders to share their visions for, experiences with, and challenges to making healthy, equitable, vibrant communities through arts and culture. As community-based work receives more recognition, and intersections and collaborations become stronger, these conversations illuminate just how artists and community arts leaders can work to sustain and maintain healthy communities through their practice.