coLAB ArtsPublished 2:04 p.m. ET March 12, 2015 | Updated 2:05 p.m. ET March 12, 2015
coLAB Arts’ March programs will focus on the topic of Surveillance.
NEW BRUNSWICK – coLAB Arts’ 2015 arts programming works to holistically engage and discuss current social issues, and strengthen its presence and impact in the local New Brunswick community.
All of the coLAB Arts monthly programs in creative writing, film, story telling, and community conversations are returning to enhance its new social commitment.
March’s programs will focus on the topic of Surveillance. How does the “surveillance state” play out in contemporary culture? How have social media platforms both expanded and restricted our freedom of speech? How has the red light camera controversy in NJ added to our understanding of public surveillance?
litLAB serves as the literary branch of coLAB Arts and provides free programs dedicated to encouraging literacy and engaging local writers. Every month features a book club and a creative writing workshop. The book club, entitled theBOOK, will be held on from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 18 at Christopher’s Lounge, The Heldrich, 10 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, and will discuss the book “A Scanner Darkly,” by Philip K. Dick. The creative writing workshop, entitled thePEN, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on March 21 at Unity Square Community Center, 81 Remsen Ave., New Brunswick, focusing on short fiction and poetry. litLAB is curated by Jad Kaado, with workshops facilitated by Liz Reilly-English.
filmLAB, the cinematic branch of coLAB Arts features monthly workshops with peers and industry leaders, open to casual and professional participants. Producer and screenwriter Ben Travers will lead a workshop entitled “How to Produce Your First Feature” followed by a Q&A session. Travers teaches screenwriting at Rutgers University and is the producer of “Four Dead Batteries.” This will begin at 1 p.m. on March 14, at Alfa Art Gallery, 108 Church St.,New Brunswick. Tickets are $5 and are available at www.colab-arts.org. Feedback Friday is a free open screenwriting workshop that will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on March 27 at Unity Square Community Center, 81 Remsen Ave., New Brunswick. filmLAB is co-curated by Kyra Willans and Rishi Mathur.
Works and Process is a choreographer residency co-produced by coLAB Arts and Lustig Dance Theatre. Each year, eight choreographers are provided studio space to produce new works of dance and have their work premiered on a New Brunswick downtown stage. A free in-studio performance featuring new work from emerging choreographers Miriam Gabriel and Christian Lopez will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 22 at Lustig Dance Theatre, 80 Albany St., New Brunswick. The performance will include an artist talk back and light reception. Works and Process is co-curated by Lauren Connolly of coLAB Arts and Bat Abbit of Lustig Dance Theatre.
The Vom is a story slam where people can share personal stories in front of a live audience. This evening’s theme is entitled “SURVEILLANCE.” “Do you have a bone to pick with Big Brother? Are you guilty of snooping or spying? Been caught on camera or elsewhere? Did you take two weeks off from work to binge-watch The Wire? Prepare a four to eight minute story about recon, investigations, spies, a time you played detective, stood lookout, got caught in the act. Are you being watched? Has extra security made you feel insecure? We want to know! All are encouraged to participate. The three rules for participants are the following: stories must stay between four to eight minutes long, participants can only tell one story that consists of a beginning, middle, and end with a narrative climax, and all stories must be unscripted without any notes. The Vom will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 26 at World of Beer, 335 George St., New Brunswick. To perform, sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Vom is co-curated by Molly Graham and Dustin Ballard.
theTABLE is an intimate event featuring food, arts, culture, politics, and community, in an environment free from assumptions and formal constraints; a thoughtful space where curiosity is required and conversation is encouraged. March’s installment will be focusing on the Surveillance State, where we will be focusing on the following questions will be focused on: Have smart phones, drones, social media, and our own personal habits created a surveillance state? How have we let technology guide our everyday habits? What does our phone know about us that we wish it didn’t? What is the difference between subversive observation and free information? Perhaps most importantly, how do large entities like governments and corporate interests use personal information we regularly and freely volunteer? Noon to 2 p.m. on March 29. Food will be provided. Location revealed with ticket purchase. Tickets are available online at www.colab-arts.org/thetable. theTABLE is curated by John Keller.
coLAB Arts’ mission is to cultivate a hip, mindful, and engaged community of artists and audiences empowered to create inspired and inspiring art. As citizen artists who find inspiration from interdisciplinary connectivity in art, science, business, environment, healthcare, urban planning, and education, they are committed to creating Socially Engaged Art that is fostered by a partnership between artist and community.
In order to bring art to the public eye, coLAB Arts strives to cultivate a community of creativity, providing “unproven” artists with adequate resources including physical space, technical and administrative support, and financial assistance to produce and present their work. By providing sustaining support to emerging artists who are producing investigative and risk-taking work, coLAB Arts spans the media of dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Access to these fresh and insightful creative endeavors is offered to the public, which increases the New Brunswick community’s opportunities to not only learn about the creative arts but to forward civic thinking.
coLAB Arts is a tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Jad Kaado is the project curator of coLAB Arts’ literaryLAB. Born and raised in New Brunswick, Jad went to Rutgers University for his undergraduate degree, where he double majored in Anthropology and Classics. In 2009, he moved to Canada, where he accomplished a master’s degree in Archaeology through the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, at the University of Toronto. Jad Kaadohas traveled all around the Middle East and participated in archaeological excavations in Jordan, Syria, and southern Turkey. Now back in New Brunswick, Jad Kaado is currently employed as a reporter for New Brunswick Today and as a substitute teacher throughout the state of New Jersey. In addition, he has an interest in networking and promoting local writers within the city of New Brunswick. With an interest in writing and literature, both ancient and modern, he is fascinated in how stories evolve over time, reflecting their contemporaneous environment and how it is expressed through material culture.
Liz Reilly-English is a poet and writer from New Jersey, who has earned a BA in English from Kean University and an MA in English from Rutgers-Newark. Liz Reilly-English has extensive work tutoring students in writing and instructing various writing classes. With areas of research including art history, Gothic literature, and LGBTQ representation in US culture, she writes for various blogs and publications.
Kyra Willans has a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Cinema Studies from Rutgers. She assisted the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking on three documentary features, including “Generation at Risk”, “The War After,” and “Antarctica: Beyond the Ice.” In 2013, she wrote, directed, and produced an original film, “Carbon Copy,” which won “Best Documentary” at the New Lens Film Festival in May of that year. She is currently continuing her studies in screenwriting at NYU’s Professional School. Willans’ professional credits include work as both a production and field production intern at The Rachael Ray Show in NYC and as both a segment producer and stage manager at online fitness channel SpiroFIT in LA. She is a member of several NYC screenwriting meetups, including: NYC Screenwriters Collective, Screenwriters Rising NYC, Screenwriting workshops at the Jacob Krueger Writing Studio.
Rishi Mathur has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rutgers University. Rishi Mathur is a producer, writer, actor, and stand-up comic. Currently, he writes, produces, and stars in The Real Men of South Brunswick, which is a mock-documentary/comedy based on his personal experiences. He also writes, directs, and stars in What Makes You Click, in which he interviews current industry professionals, most recently the screenwriters of the award-winning film Birdman, Alex Dinelaris and Nicolas Giacobone. He was a writer and production assistant on Tubby Man with Mike Bocchetti.
Works and Process staff
Lauren Connolly graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2010 with a BFA in Dance with academic honors. She has worked with choreographers Raegan Bliss Wood, John Evans, Kimani Fowlin, Julia Ritter, and Randy James. In May 2010, she presented her work, Vacillation Revisited, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, Distric of Columbia, as part of The National College Dance Festival. She has also presented her work at other various venues including New York Live Arts, Dance Teacher Summit, the Rutgers 2009 Hall of Distinguished Alumni Awards, the Rutgers Theater Company, Your Move, Jersey City’s Modern Dance Showcase, and George Street Playhouse where she served as curator of Collaborative Arts’ 2010 summer dance series called Motion: New Dance Works. In 2011, she was commissioned by Mason Gross School of the Arts’s alumni program to create To Their Benefit or Detriment. She is the recipient of the Florence S. Domeshek Award for dedication and creativity in dance and the Dance Express Award recipient for exceptional achievement as a choreographer. Lauren Connolly currently serves as co-director of the Dance Express Performance Team as well as the director of the dance and creative movement at Children’s House Montessori School in Highland Park. NJ. She also is a freelance choreographer throughout the New York and New Jersey area.
The Vom Staff
Molly Graham is the current Assistant Director of the Rutgers Oral History Archives. Molly Graham is an oral historian, documentary radio producer and archivist with ﬁeld experience in Massachusetts, Maine and the Midwest. She attended Bates College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine. Molly Graham produced an award winning radio documentary called “Besides Life Here,” which was licensed by several NPR affiliates. She earned her M.A. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston.
Dustin Ballard is a storyteller and creative artist who works as an actor, director, writer and teaching artist and originally hails from South Mississippi. With a B.F.A in Theatre Performance from Kean University, he was the 2009 Region II Winner and National Finalist of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. As an actor, he has performed at Lincoln Center with the Little Orchestra Society, Two River Theatre, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, and others. As a Teaching Artist, Dustin works with the George Street Playhouse in the New Brunswick Public Schools creating original theatre based on the American Revolution, Greek Mythology, Native American folk stories, and Immigration. Dustin Ballard is also an improviser and live storyteller and has performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade, the Magnet Theatre, the People’s Improv Theatre, and the Moth.
John Keller is the coLAB co-producer and director of education. He was born and raised in New Brunswick and works as a freelance actor. John Keller earned his undergraduate degree at College of the Holy Cross and holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from Rutgers University — Mason Gross School of the Arts. He has taught Acting in the Rutgers B.A. program, the Rider University B.F.A. program, Westminster College, and he currently teaches Creativity in the Doctoral Program at the Rutgers School of Social Work. Outside of performance, John Keller serves on the Board of the Tyler Clementi Center (TCC) at Rutgers University, committed to creating and sharing knowledge about young people making the transition to college and coming of age in the digital era. John Keller is also a board member on New Brunswick Town Clock Community Development Corporation. The goal of this ambitious project is to re-purpose the buildings of First Reformed Church in New Brunswick into a multi-use arts, community, and worship center that will feature new housing for women and children transitioning out of domestic violence.
coLAB Arts Leadership
Dan Swern is the co-founder and producing director for coLAB Arts in New Brunswick, NJ, providing performance and developmental programs for emerging artists, and arts education and social engagement with the local community. For coLAB, Dan Swern created the Orphanage play development program. He has directed the New Jersey premiere of I Heart Kant, and a bilingual production of Romeo and Juliet/Romeo y Julieta. He is also the founder and owner of Smugbug Productions, providing services in creative development and stage direction, production consulting, and producing. Current directing projects include “I Hope They Serve Beer” on Broadway by Tucker Max with Gorilla Rep, “Hiccups” with American Records, “Flight” with Branch Street Productions, and “Pablo Neruda” with Voice Afire. Producing clients include Sprat Artistic Ensemble, Foster Entertainment, Poetic Theater Productions, Branch Street Productions, and National Theatre of Scotland. Previous positions include production coordinator for Holiday Image, associate producer for the New York production of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, associate producer for the national tour of Gazillion Bubble Show, and company manager for George Street Playhouse. He is a graduate of Rutgers University.