Excerpts from the Curatorial Journal: A Note from Artistic Director Rachel Cook Jul 16, 2019

After a recent road trip through rural New Mexico and Texas, I’ve been reflecting on how artist communities are shaped and formed in relationship to the landscape and terrain that surrounds them. New Mexico in particular is a location that multiple artists are drawn to because of the surrounding mountains, the subtle hues of light in the skyscape, and the overall high desert landscape—those puff clouds are truly magical. Why and how artists gather in communities outside of large economic city centers is something to stop and take notice of. Something shifts and ruptures in a community because of an artist's presence. They are visionaries that carve out, reclaim, and create artistic theoretical space within various regions and communities.

We need these artists to be included in more parts of our society, not just filling roles, spaces, and slots in "seasons." Artists live in the same world we live in, they understand more about how to create the world we want – all we need to do is give them more power, resources, time, and allow them to be integral parts of our institutions and occupy roles of influence.

When first arriving in Seattle for this job, I talked about the idea of thinking and experiencing artworks together. What I’ve realized is that it isn’t enough to just experience the work passively as an audience member. I want you, our audience members, to challenge yourselves to emotionally engage with these artists and On the Boards. Really and truly consider what they are talking about, what they are saying to you, stretch your muscles, slow down, and listen. Spend time talking to them, reading about them, and thinking about their ideas. I want to do this with you. I want to build a community of active listeners. I’m interested in audiences that internalize the ideas and propositions being made by each artist we are working with this season, and become changed by the experience of connecting directly with art.  

​The first performance included in On the Boards'  40th Anniversary season, In the Future’s Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings, is Morgan Thorson's Still Life at Base in Georgetown. Morgan’s piece offers you time and space to contemplate through long-form choreography. As an audience member, you can come back and see how the piece changes over the course of a few days, you can see it in a different light each time, and you can be in the present moment thinking about the cycle of time, loss, and animal extinction. ​I hope to see you there! 

-Rachel Cook, Artistic Director 

Photo: A view of the Northern New Mexican landscape. Photo by Rachel Cook.