Redmoon: Creating Structure for Collaboration

ArtsFwd asks the Innovation Lab grantees: What is the biggest question you and your team are wrestling with as you head into the intensive retreat?

A view from Redmoon's recent Spectacle Lunatique event. Photo: Al Zayed.
A view from Redmoon’s recent Spectacle Lunatique event. Photo: Al Zayed.

This is the first post from Angela Tillges about Redmoon’s experience in the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts. We asked her to reflect on the team’s thinking before heading to a five-day focused retreat. Read more from the other Lab participants here.

What is the biggest question our team is wrestling with as we head into the intensive retreat?

Redmoon’s goal during this innovation process is to create a Center for Urban Art and Design in Chicago. According to the idea the team has conceived, the Center will foster unique collaborative projects designed to activate public spaces with design and performance. The idea is that through the Center, Redmoon’s artistic mission will give way to our partners’ social missions.

The Center intends to: foster unique partnerships across cultural, generational, and class boundaries; create a more vibrant city by animating public spaces with design and performance; and develop a diverse set of cultural practitioners who experience the impact of their thoughts and actions on their city. The Center will be a training ground for and a producer of civically engaged art, the efforts of which will translate Redmoon’s expertise into a process to be shared with others.

For Redmoon, this means codifying our process of collaboration, which is currently one that resists codification in favor of responsiveness. That said, our process of collaboration is not without structure. It relies on building strong project architecture and clear parameters for partners involved. Within that structure, we operate with robust flexibility. We believe true collaboration to be malleable, seeking the potential in the living moments of the project and responding at every turn to people, place, and opportunity. It is a fluid, difficult, beautiful, and real process.

The question we are wrestling with is: How do we systematize our style of collaboration while remaining responsive? How will that affect our working style and partner relationships? How will it affect the art and experience of those involved?

About Redmoon’s Innovation Lab project

Redmoon’s project asks: How can we cultivate a well-trained community of collaborators to build the next generation of artists, and invest in individuals in the long-term by scaffolding training from intern to apprentice, apprentice to collaborator, and from collaborator to peer artist?

Angela Tillges is an artist and educator currently serving as Associate Artistic Director for Redmoon, where she oversees the vision of Redmoon’s community and education programs. She has collaborated with Redmoon since 2004. As an Educator, she develops the curricular and aesthetic programming for Redmoon, which serve over 1000 students, 30 educators, and 100 emerging artists annually. As a Director, she has shaped several youth-created Spectacle events locally in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and twice internationally with the community of Donegal, Ireland. Angela speaks about Spectacle and youth authored culture, nationally and internationally, most recently at the Tate Modern World’s Together conference.