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Voices of Women

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Clarice Assad Headshot.jpg
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Preeti Vasudevan, Clarice Assad, and Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke)

Voices of Women is a multimedia project rooted in storytelling through music, dance, and visual media, created by women, about women, and for everyone. VoW is the brainchild of four American cultural storytellers: South Asian American choreographer and producer Preeti Vasudevan, Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad, Apsáalooke (Crow) curator and cultural consultant Nina Sanders, and a black filmmaker* (in current discussion). The project presents universal themes of women’s stories while also bringing unique and unheard female experiences to light through movement, music, performance, art and digital media.

Women trace their identities as Americans along three paths that they or their ancestors have followed: Indigeneity, immigration, and African enslavement. Indigenous women are originally from North America. Their ancestors’ presence predates the United States. African American women’s ancestors were stolen from their own land and forced to live in America, often under brutal circumstances. In the past as well as today, immigrant women arrived on this land under diverse circumstances to carve out new identities as American women.

These three pathways are both timeless and time-bound, demonstrating ways that these women incorporate their own personal journeys and the steps of their ancestors into defining a uniquely American life and culture. Furthermore, complete with the range of human emotions and experiences, Voices of Women forms the foundation of an unbroken and often invisible narrative of the lives of women worldwide.

About vow
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Image Credits: Sammy Jo Bird, Nina Sanders, Shreya Mehta, and Thresh

Circle of Women
circle of women

Circle of Women, curated by the four core creatives, is an invited group of women leaders from varied fields to foster a rich dialogue of experience, resilience, and inspiration that has shaped this country. The research fostered by the Circle of Women sets the foundation for the designing of the final output of the project (immersive and educational).

From incubators to panel discussions to digital films, these women engage with the larger public to share experiences from distinct areas of indigeneity, immigration, and enslavement. The Circle of Women experience helps engage with shared and universal emotions, grit, and humor inspiring future generations to express their true voices shaping a more positive and empathetic society.

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vow pres options

1. Live Performance:

An evening featuring a multimedia theatrical production that presents a tapestry of personal stories representing the diversity and shared experiences of women expressing the kaleidoscopic richness of America. The theatrical production will feature 6 to 8 performers on stage including dancers, actors, and poets alongside multimedia projection, against an original musical score to be performed either by a symphony orchestra, small chamber ensemble, or prerecorded.

2. Immersive Installation:

​A digital immersive and experiential experience that takes the audience through a specially curated journey, following American women through time in their environment. VoW Immersive will be filmed specially for the immersive and digital space. Audiences will navigate a landscape of never-before-heard, personal stories of women, joining the storytellers and artists on the emotional journeys who have built the narrative of this country. Audience members will be active participants and will be invited to engage physically, mentally, and emotionally with the stories. The focus will be on curating how the audience responds to unexpected encounters through the stories, provoking thoughts on identity and reflecting on definitions and perspectives on others.

 

3. Art Film:

​An art film integrating a series of stories representing journeys within the pathways of Indigeneity, immigration, and African American enslavement. Each individual story would be 10 minutes. The full art film would be 50 - 60 minutes.

4. Documentary Film:

​A documentary film will focus on the making of the project, including interviews with the creative team, researchers, educators, and others who bring the final project to life. There will be interviews with intergenerational storytellers and knowledge keepers and other documentation of primary source materials. This film serves for educational and outreach, as well as archival purposes.

5. Educational Resources:

Educational resources will be developed throughout the process with a focus on intergenerational learning in school, community, and home settings. A specially designed website will host a robust platform for education, including behind-the-scenes footage, learning materials, and content based on the curiosity and response of young women nationally, who are present while VoW is produced. By integrating young people into the entire process, we create a platform for the voices of the present and future generations of women through inquiry-based growth and authentic engagement.

vow team
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Preeti Vasudevan: Choreographer and Producer

Award-winning choreographer and cultural storyteller Preeti Vasudevan's provocative theatrical works redefine individual identity, uniting artists and audiences alike. Her creations have been lauded as a refreshing collision of Eastern and Western aesthetics pushing for a new expression in art-making. Using just about every mode of the performing arts (including dance, music, poetry, visual art, mime, and theater), Preeti invites cutting-edge collaborators to form a 21st-century language of expression. Her unconventional storytelling challenges the status quo of dance-theater, bridging ancient traditions with the contemporary world.

 

More on Preeti.

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Clarice Assad: Composer

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres. The Grammy Award–nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and educator is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. With her talent sought after by artists and organizations worldwide, the polyglot musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off. Clarice Assad’s 2022–2023 season includes commissions by the Camerata Pacifica, Music Accord, the League of American Orchestras, the Oregon Symphony, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

 

More on Clarice.

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Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), Artist

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), is a scholar, curator, editor, and Apsáalooke matriarch. Her work in museums is founded on historic collections of archives, art, belongings, and sacred objects from her community. She concerns herself with building education around these items and their histories through the implementation of Indigenous people and methodologies. Over the years her work has expanded to include the curation of contemporary and historic art and objects. Collaborative exhibitions and publications. She has done work for institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the School for Advanced Research. Nina is grounded by her children, family, animals, and art. She resides in Crow Country at Medicine Tail Coulee with her sons and their Blue Heeler.

 

More on Nina.

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Mary Serbe, Arts Educator

Mary Serbe is a certified art educator with an MAT from the Art Institute of Chicago who has taught in schools, museums, and arts organizations with students from preschool age to adulthood. For four years, she was Education Director at the Yellowstone Art Museum, overseeing all aspects of education and learning including partnerships, classes, tours, docents, a dedicated gallery for art of young people, and all online learning and engagement. Currently, she is the curator and co-proprietor of Kirks’ Grocery, an alternative art gallery, performance venue, and gathering space where she also teaches and manages educational programming. At Montana State University Billings, Mary teaches Fundamentals of 2D Design. Mary Serbe has had the privilege of being part of the Advisory Board for the First Voices project since 2020. She currently serves in that capacity in addition to writing grants and developing educational resources for First Voices.

*We are currently in discussions with a black filmmaker to join our creative team.

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