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MDC Live Arts Opens Live Arts Lab Space


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When Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts executive director, took the helm at the organization 5 years ago, she revitalized the 26-year-old organization and strengthened its commitment to not only presenting performance work, but of engaging the local community in a discourse on performance and art.

From last year’s “Holoscenes” performance meditation about sea level rise, to the ongoing commitment to Miami’s veteran community through the Combat Hippies spoken word troupe, Garcia has curated programs that engage the community on many levels. This season, she opens MDC Live Arts Lab, the first performance space in the organization’s history, located on MDC’s Wolfson campus.

“I think there’s a great freedom and flexibility in being able to do things, to go anywhere, for performances and it’s kind of reflective of MDC as an institution,” Garcia explains. “This space is just particularly exciting because it allows us to have another arm out on the Wolfson campus to hopefully provide the community with an opportunity to get curious and engage with art.”

In taking over the 120-seat thrust stage theater previously occupied by Prometeo Theater (Prometeo has moved to the Koubek Center, another property in the MDC portfolio), MDC Live Arts is able to expand their annual Live Arts Lab summer residency programming to run year round, as well as deepen the conversation around performance.

“We were hearing from a lot of artists that the most valuable things that came out of Live Arts Lab, besides the intensive time with the visiting artist, was the time with each other. This space allows us to take MDC Live Arts lab as a program, and expand it into a space, and create a home for creative exploration, for students, for the community, for local artists, for anyone who’s interested.”

While MDC Live Arts will continue to present many of their mainstage programs at various venues around South Florida, they have developed a series of programs specific to the new space: Lab Chats, Test Lab and a Live Arts Lab Alliance.

Lab Chats programming will include conversations with artists presented as part of the MDC Live Arts season, including Nora Chipaumire and Steve Parker. As Garcia explains: “We really want Lab Chats to just become opportunities to discuss arts and ideas, and to get inside the artist’s head in a different way.

“Test Lab is kind of a monthly open mic for performance, so it’s an opportunity for artists to test work. There will be a critical response feedback process following the presentation of the work so that artists can really benefit from the perspective of the audience in developing their work,” she continues. “We really want to make this something that’s an opportunity also for local artists and MDC students to have opportunities to intersect, so Test Lab will always have a slot that’s open for student artists.”

For the Live Arts Lab Alliance, Garcia intends to extend the initial summer residency program into a yearlong process. As Garcia explains, “It will be an application based process, a panel will be selecting a cohort of six artists to work together throughout the year.”

As Miami’s performance community continues to flourish, the MDC Live Arts Lab offers generative artists another way to deepen their practice alongside with professional artists from around the world.

“To finally have a space, a hub of activity, is just really gratifying. We really do want to help, provide seed and support for our community of local artist to grow and help one another grow and that’s the idea behind space,” Garcia says.

Coming up is a Lab Chat: PATH: Preserving, Archiving & Teaching Hiphop, Inc. presents HOLA: Hiphoppas of Latin-American Ancestry; Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Live Arts Lab, MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2 Ave, Miami; tickets are free.

 


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