For the past 10 years, my wife, Natalie Berry, and I have enjoyed a highly collaborative art-life. We take turns working on pieces or alternate roles to create drawings, paintings, costumes, and performances. Our child has been raised in the studio as an equal partner. The entire family is responsible for making sure each other’s ideas are incorporated into each piece. This means letting go of preconceived plans, egos, and certainty. In return, we get to make something that shines brighter than anything we could have imagined on their own.
When COVID hit, Natalie and I schemed on how to create an immersive, imaginary world. Our goal was to keep our child’s mind active until more regular socializing was safe again. The project that emerged was a huge, collaborative boxfort that took over the entire basement. We worked on it everyday for long hours, building and creating until bedtime snuck up each night. We created the project video to inspire other parents in providing escape and togetherness with their family during quarantine.
As the Community Builder at NEW, I bring my experience as a collaborative artist to projects at work. Working with a diverse group, I use a lot of the same skills I practice with my family. And in the end, I’m always hoping to build meaningful connections across the community.