“Growing Our Own Gardens” Surfaces and Celebrates Queer Communities

Dance, spoken word, drag, and local engagement reflect on queer histories and future in Washington, D.C.

 This season, Dance Exchange brings together artists, organizers, and community members to reflect on, connect with, and celebrate queer life in Washington, DC. Through performance and engagements, the multi-year project Growing Our Own Gardens unearths hidden histories and personal stories to better understand the ways in which queer communities have sought and created liberatory spaces throughout time and to help cast a vision for the future. This intergenerational performance project, conceived and directed by Associate Artistic Director Matthew Cumbie, includes a constellation of activities throughout the DC-area, including a performance with local community members at Dance Place in Washington, DC, on February 24 and 25. Dance Exchange continues to engage LGBTQ+ communities and create connections for sustainable change through conversations and collaborations with local and national partners.  As part of their Organizing Artists for Change initiative, Dance Exchange works with a cohort of local community members in each iteration of Gardens to help lead the visioning and development of the project, and to help create the conditions for continued community action. Growing Our Own Gardens  is a part of Dance Exchange’s 20th anniversary in Takoma Park and Montgomery County, with programming celebrating 20 years of local community-centered dancemaking and is included in the $82 million approved to fund local arts projects across the country through the National Endowment of the Arts in fiscal year 2017. Public engagements for Growing Our Own Gardens continue in 2017-18. They include:  

October 19, 2017 at 7-9PM Film & Conversation: “The Year We Thought About Love” (2015) Dance Exchange: 7117 Maple Ave Takoma Park, MD 20912 Free/pay what you can: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/film-conversation-the-year-we-thought-about-love-tickets-38301414562

November 8, 2017 at 5-8PM Growing Our Own Gardens Fundraising Happy Hour Denizens Brewing Co: 1115 East West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910 $25, includes drink - stay tuned for tickets!

February 24-25, 2018 Premiere: Growing Our Own Gardens Dance Place: 3225 8th Street NE Washington, DC 20017 Tickets: https://www.danceplace.org/performances/dance-exchange/

The full calendar of events and more about the development of this project can be found at danceexchange.org. ABOUT DANCE EXCHANGE Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador since 2011, Dance Exchange is a non-profit dance organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland. Dance Exchange’s innovative local, national, and international performance projects engage communities and partners across a wide range of disciplines. Dance Exchange ignites inquiry, inspires change, and connects people of all ages more deeply to the questions at the heart of our lives through dancemaking and creative practices by collaborating across generations, disciplines and communities to channel the power of performance as a means for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. http://danceexchange.org Growing Our Own Gardens is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Dance Exchange is grateful for the funding from the NEA as well as project and operating support from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland State Arts Council, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts, Embrey Family Foundation, Takoma Foundation, City of Takoma Park, and individual donors.

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About Alison Waldman

Alison Waldman is Dance Exchange's Marketing & Communications Manager and a D.C.-based “entrepren-artist” consultant, performer, photographer, and collaborator.