Lara Gonzalez is creating Music, Dance, Visual Art
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Salutations and Welcome to My Art!

Lara is a versatile artist who enjoys multi-disciplinary projects and community collaborations. Connecting music, dance and spoken word to visual art is of particular interest.

As a teaching artist, Lara is passionate about Arts Integration and has honed her skills in educational settings for nearly 20 years. She is pleased to share her techniques and love of arts education as a Professional Development Facilitator and Keynote Presenter for classroom teachers, music and visual arts professionals, as well as education and arts administrators.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Marafanyi Drum, Dance & Song, Lara's performance and educational group whose mission is a commitment to sharing the Transformative, Educational and Therapeutic powers of Drum, Dance and Song with all ages and abilities. Marafanyi is currently recording their Supermoon Collection, a forth-coming release of music inspired by adventures  in Guinea, West Africa! This project is supported in part by grants from Assets for Artists in partnership with MASS MoCA and the Midas Collaborative.

In addition, she is Creator and Director for a second year of Marafanyi Meets the Mural: Alaa Awad's 'Justice' Becomes a Catalyst for a Community Collaboration - funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council .

Ms. Gonzalez has studied West African music & dance in the U.S. with artists including Babatunde Olatunji, Sanga-of-the-Valley and M'Bemba Bangoura - and has traveled to Guinea, West Africa 5 times to study with artists from Les Ballets Africain (Guinea's National Company), Merveilles de Guinea, Wamali Percussione and Les Etoiles de Boulbinet. Lara maintains a full schedule of teaching, choreographing, arranging and performing West African Drum, Dance & Song repertory. After nearly 15 years, she is planning to return to Guinea in 2018!

Lara had the honor of dancing as a guest community artist with Ronald K Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company in the piece On Earth Together at Williams College in 2016, and most recently as a guest dancer in collaboration with world-renowned visual artist, Nick Cave, appearing in one of his “Soundsuits” at MASS MoCA as part of his amazing 2017 exhibition - Until.

A graduate of Fordham University, Lara earned a B.A. in Art History/Studio Art. She is a resident teaching artist and accompanist for NJPAC since 1999; teaching artist for Sharron Miller's Academy of Performing Arts (SMAPA) since 2014. In addition, she has designed custom programs for special needs clients including the Arc of Bergen/Passaic, Life with Joy, Wae Center, Community Access to the Arts and more. Lara is an Assets for Artists grantee.

Tiers
Psychopomp
$25 or more per creation
Goals
0% complete
Support Funds Needed for
Mural Project 2018:

In the summer of 2014 I fell in love with Egyptian Artist, Alaa Awad's, Massachusetts street mural, Justice. I watched the artist create it and soon after performed for the musical "unveiling” at DownStreet Art in North Adams, MA. I was searching for a way to extend my creative connection to the Artwork - and “Marafanyi Meets the Mural” was born.

My vision was/is to explore a deeper connection to Awad's art with community members in an open, flexible and inclusive form. Together we coax the mural off the wall, into ourselves, into the streets and hearts of our neighbors. The project is a collaboration with inter-generational community members of all abilities with musical support from my educational and performing group - Marafanyi Drum, Dance & Song. My aim is to collaboratively compose, choreograph and arrange a site-specific music, dance, spoken word, poetic interpretation of Awad's mural.

This community art-making proposal was
accepted by DownStreet Art in 2016, 2017 and once again in 2018. I couldn't be more pleased since I imagined it would evolve in consecutive years as an annual event that will grow and take a form beyond it's original inception.

Over the last two summers we successfully collaborated with a group of nearly 20 enthusiastic community members, from ages 6-70, to create the bones of a performance art response to the art work presented on site, in front of the mural at the final DSA of the 2016 & 2017 seasons. Our tribe expanded in "the second year to include my sister, North Adams based visual artist, Barbara May, who stepped into help with evolving costume and prop design and creation. We also added a multi-media component that includes graphic projection created by local designer and artist Scott North,  and an exciting L.E.D. component attributed to another local artist, Kate Krolicki. Our storyline and narrative has deepened along with character development.

We now have a viable outline of music, movement, poetic repertory and costuming I am passionate about moving forward! I imagine traveling with this project to meet other art works, artists and community members. Alaa Awad is supportive and happy the mural is receiving this kind of special love and attention. I imagine taking the project to Egypt! Also, the local visual artist, Julia E Morgan (who arranged for Awad to visit the Berkshires from Egypt to create the mural) showed her support for the project and gave an artist talk to the 2017 group – very moving! We'd like to do this more formally this year at open the talk to the public in the run-up to our performance

All this to say, we really need additional funding for our September 27, 2018 presentation. I estimate the cost of the multi-media performance art presentation this year to be $1600. A portion of the funds come from DownStreet Art (supported by MCLA, the City of North Adams and the Massachusetts Cultural Council).

I appreciate your time and consideration of this project - as you can probably tell, it is near and dear to me and my community collaborators!

Images of Process / Performance 2017
Marafanyi Meets the Mural 2017

Images of Process / Performance 2016
Marafanyi Meets the Mural 2016

2016 DSA Interview w/ Lara Gonzalez
about her vision, on-site at the Justice mural
DSA Meet The Artist - Lara Gonzalez
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Salutations and Welcome to My Art!

Lara is a versatile artist who enjoys multi-disciplinary projects and community collaborations. Connecting music, dance and spoken word to visual art is of particular interest.

As a teaching artist, Lara is passionate about Arts Integration and has honed her skills in educational settings for nearly 20 years. She is pleased to share her techniques and love of arts education as a Professional Development Facilitator and Keynote Presenter for classroom teachers, music and visual arts professionals, as well as education and arts administrators.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Marafanyi Drum, Dance & Song, Lara's performance and educational group whose mission is a commitment to sharing the Transformative, Educational and Therapeutic powers of Drum, Dance and Song with all ages and abilities. Marafanyi is currently recording their Supermoon Collection, a forth-coming release of music inspired by adventures  in Guinea, West Africa! This project is supported in part by grants from Assets for Artists in partnership with MASS MoCA and the Midas Collaborative.

In addition, she is Creator and Director for a second year of Marafanyi Meets the Mural: Alaa Awad's 'Justice' Becomes a Catalyst for a Community Collaboration - funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council .

Ms. Gonzalez has studied West African music & dance in the U.S. with artists including Babatunde Olatunji, Sanga-of-the-Valley and M'Bemba Bangoura - and has traveled to Guinea, West Africa 5 times to study with artists from Les Ballets Africain (Guinea's National Company), Merveilles de Guinea, Wamali Percussione and Les Etoiles de Boulbinet. Lara maintains a full schedule of teaching, choreographing, arranging and performing West African Drum, Dance & Song repertory. After nearly 15 years, she is planning to return to Guinea in 2018!

Lara had the honor of dancing as a guest community artist with Ronald K Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company in the piece On Earth Together at Williams College in 2016, and most recently as a guest dancer in collaboration with world-renowned visual artist, Nick Cave, appearing in one of his “Soundsuits” at MASS MoCA as part of his amazing 2017 exhibition - Until.

A graduate of Fordham University, Lara earned a B.A. in Art History/Studio Art. She is a resident teaching artist and accompanist for NJPAC since 1999; teaching artist for Sharron Miller's Academy of Performing Arts (SMAPA) since 2014. In addition, she has designed custom programs for special needs clients including the Arc of Bergen/Passaic, Life with Joy, Wae Center, Community Access to the Arts and more. Lara is an Assets for Artists grantee.

Recent posts by Lara Gonzalez

Tiers
Psychopomp
$25 or more per creation