Testimonials

"The program helped me to question the politics of my artistic practice in new ways while allowing the process to guide such questioning in a critical and supportive environment. This experience allowed me to deconstruct and reconstruct some of the politics of my work. As a result it reshaped my proposal for my second year as an MFA student and it provided me with the foundations for my current thesis and final project proposal."

"My experience with EmergeNYC was invigorating and affirmed that I was making the right choices in my work. Emerge was a way for me to combine my many selves and interests and see what tangible effects they could have in the world, in writing, in performance, in community. Personally, I found myself using some of the activities from class in my own classes and workshops. This program was feeding me in every way. I was getting a creative weekly outlet and I was generating new material for my paid work, teaching and facilitating."

"I had an amazing experience with EmergeNYC. I feel empowered by the performance strategies I learned in workshops, as well as by the support of the Hemi faculty. I feel energized and inspired in connecting with new collaborators and building community with Emerge alumni. I really appreciate being introduced to and getting to work with amazing established artists in NYC. The activism/social justice focus is definitely unique - I think that's part of what sets Emerge apart from comparable programs, and what attracts such amazing artists to participate."

"EmergeNYC was the artistic and political opportunity I needed to start getting myself together as an artist and activist. I met people around the city doing amazing, fierce, and interesting work. I was pushed to hold myself to the vision I had for a better and more just world. It inspired me to see myself as part of a long tradition of creators and people who use art to challenge the status quo. Since EmergeNYC, I've stayed in touch with both the other students in the program as well as the teaching staff - EmergeNYC was a chance to work with legends in the field, artists I've always admired, and learn from them. I couldn't recommend it enough for people who are looking for a thoughtful and challenging artistic experience."

"EmergeNYC was such an important experience for me—both in the short term view of last year and in the long term view of my development as an artist and an activist. Last year was tough in a lot of ways, in part because it was such a big transitional year—my first year out of college, my first time living on my own. It was really easy to feel lost in all of that. EmergeNYC came at the perfect time: I found myself in a community of artists who were focusing on asking big questions about discrimination and identities and how to use performance to address both. Suddenly I had a supportive group of people encouraging me to try new things and challenging me to think more creatively and radically about power, politics, and performance. That community was incredibly important, and I plan to keep working with people from the program in the future. In many ways EmergeNYC fundamentally changed the way I think about my work. That's probably the biggest long-term gift that the program gave me: the ability to root my work as an artist in my activism. For a long time I've struggled to unite the two; at times I even thought that I had to pursue either one or the other. Emerge also helped me think about new possibilities for "artivism" in performance and to start thinking about what I can do now, with the resources that I have at the moment. There's really no other program like this."


"I had an incredible time as a participant of EmergeNYC. Prior to the few months we spent together, I had never spent so much time with other artists. I really forged some strong bonds with some of the members, and have done shows with a few already, my art has been strengthened immensely. The only true way for me to sum up my experience is to say that I have never undergone so many transformations in such a short amount of time. I found my artistic voice as an adult in EmergeNYC, and that has been invaluable (and needs to be replicated in every city). I can't wait to give something back to this program."

"After spending so much time with my fellow Emergers, a community was formed which I appreciate immensely. I can see how this is going to play a crucial role in my future development as an artist."

"This is dream combination - Hemi and George created the space to build a vital community, and at the same time I felt we were each pushed to strengthen and specify our own individual voices/impulses. I never felt that anyone was trying to get me to tailor my work to a particular style, idea, etc - I always felt I was being pushed to work at the top of my game as an artist, activist, and intellectual, whatever I decided MY game was. The uniting factor in this community is that each of us are confidently, passionately, intelligently doing our OWN work, and supporting fellow artists who are also doing their own work. There is nothing more inspiring than working with artists who are confidently letting their brilliance run wild, and constantly encouraging other artists to do the same. Making the connection to the Hemispheric Institute has had a big effect on me - being exposed to and having the opportunity to immerse myself in an activist community that is fiercely artistic AND intellectual, that is connected to the art/performance/theatre world as well as academia, where folks are working at the top of their creativity and intelligence at the same time - this has felt like a kind of salvation. The struggle to be an activist in the theatre world and an artist in the activist world was one that I, and I think many of the other participants, articulated at the beginning of the program, but I did not realize that I also felt intellectually understimulated with my current collaborators and communities. When I'm with Hemifolk (at work and at play), I feel challenged intellectually, stimulated creatively, and fired up and supported as an activist."

"The way in which the space was almost immediately cultivated as 'safe' by everyone in the group, not just the facilitator, is extremely rare, and maybe one of the strongest components of the program. I have never ever been in such a non-oppressive space."

"I would describe the experience as a program grounded in theater of the oppressed, supported by multi-media artists and activist mentors, that support emerging artists in developing their artistic abilities and form community in real and tangible ways. I would describe it as an opportunity to look at oppression in the world and within myself. As an opportunity to push past the competitive lines drawn in NYC that create isolation and battling for crumbs, to forming genuine community. I would describe it as real love—for sure. I describe it as a space facilitated by George and supported by an amazing team of well rounded folks who genuinely care about us. It's artistic but more than that. Hence the performance is another step in the process vs. the culmination of the process. This will change your life!"