Performance Collective Events

Performance-based artists are uniquely skilled in building community, and in evoking empathy, dialogue, and action—a vital function in our culture now more than ever. These public events engage artists and community in the exploration of making and meaning together.

The Performance Collective produces these public events, as well as the public components of artist workshops and residencies. Join us in exploring the evolution of American identity, the ways creative works do (or don’t) reflect our lived experience, and the ways we are (or aren’t) changed by them.

All events have suggested donations and are open to the public.

Past Events


Keith Hennessy and Taja Will investigated, verbally and non-verbally, questions of what’s up, what’s bubbling, what’s troubling, what’s unfinished or unresolved. What is queer performance? How useful is “queer” to describe desire, a body, a creative intervention, a dance, a performance? What happens when queer is white (or not)? How can queer resonate with decolonial intentions and Indigenous knowledges? How can queer performance engage with critical whiteness theory?

Event Info

Gina Montet’s groundbreaking Overactive Letdown was read, after a workshop where the playwright, director, and actors investigated creative choices that can open up the story to audiences from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and experiences. A professional mental health provider guided the audience and artists through a conversation about our own experiences of parenthood/being parented, and the realities of living (and parenting) with mental illness. These multiple paths into the story support both artists and audiences who seek broad representation and deepened experience in art works and in their daily lives.

Artist Interview  /  Event Info

Wing Young Huie presented photographs from his book and exhibit, Chinese-ness: The Meanings of Identity and the Nature of Belonging; live guzheng music by Jarrelle Barton and guided conversation by theater artist H. Adam Harris were also planned. Together we explored the nexus of identity and art—how the artists’ identities shaped their work, and how our perception of identity shaped the way we experienced the work.

Event Info

Ritual & Resilience Pop-Up Art Sale was a themed pop-up art sale presented in tandem with the 2018 New Works Residency. The artists worked within a range of rituals and traditions that brought them into encounters with resilience. CFPA community and local artists of all stripes gathered, connected, and shared work. All were invited to reflect and anonymously share experiences of ritual and resilience.

Blackout Improv—an all-Black improv group composed of actors, comedians, activists, and teachers—performed with participants of their workshop, where improv was explored as a tool in daily life. Improv is a means of utilizing everything you’ve got to get everything you need. It allows you to ‘roll with the punches’ and be your best self in every moment, by acknowledging every gift you’re given and supporting those around you.

 Joy Dolo Interview  /  Alyssa DiVirgilio Interview  /  Event Info

Emily Mendelsohn invited the audience to be a part of an art laboratory, exploring the transformational potential – for artists and audiences – in understanding “where we are” as we strive to honor and envision who and where we want to be. Mendelsohn spent a decade investigating cross-cultural performance, from Uganda and Rwanda to Brooklyn and L.A. This research helped her identify key elements to support artists in: 1) opening up their personal constellations of identity, history, and culture; 2) integrating what’s discovered in creative practice.

Artist Interview  /  Event Info

Neighborhood Roots and CFPA produced a meal and conversation between farmers and consumers. While food economy is a hot topic, food cultivation is an art. The evening investigated creative impulses that drive a healthy, sustainable, and equitable local food system.

Margo Hanson-Pierre Interview  /  Tamara Johnson Interview  /  Event Info

JuCoby Johnson produced a reading of How It’s Gon’ Be, his heartfelt, funny, and incisive memory play, which illuminates the roles of parent and child, interrogates his own teenage choices, and deconstructs whether the compromises his parents and family made were worth it. He celebrates the community that raised him, and all of the ways in which it shaped him for the better, while he challenges familiar assumptions and tropes, questioning whether there might be other ways to build a family and community.

Artist Interview  /  Event Info

Saúl García-López presented concepts from his Handbook for the Rebel Artist in a Post-Democratic Society, co-written with Guillermo Gomez-Peña, and his workshop participants presented a human installation exploring the iconography of funeral/rebirth as an exercise in identity reinvention. The installation of collective altars, with the human body as the medium, examined memory, gender, ethnicity, migration, and politics. The ritual installation called for audiences to recapture their own identities as a site for creativity, activism, imagination, and compassion.

Event Info


Shá Cage and E.G. Bailey provided selections from Tru Ruts, a Minneapolis arts group innovating work across media. Among the poetry, performances, and videos presented was the short film New Neighbors. Written, directed, edited, and co-produced by Bailey, and starring and co-produced by Cage, the short explores race and how far a mother will go to protect her children.

Event Info

Kristin Idaszak presented a stage reading of her play Strange Heart Beating, a darkly fantastical look at the rural Midwest, the murky nature of justice, and the prejudices that lie just beneath the surface. “When the body of Lena’s daughter is found near the lake outside of town, their friendship is stretched to the breaking point. Have girls been going missing for years? Why are the loons acting so strange? What has the town’s lake witnessed?” Following the reading, Dispute Resolution Center of MN facilitators led the audience in unpacking their experiences of the story together.

Artist Interview  /  Event Info

Grow With Us

The Campaign for Imaginative Action has begun! The Performance Collective is currently raising funds for equipment, and programming to create opportunities for art-based dialogue, engagement, and presentations of work. Learn more and give here: