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PATRICIA NICHOLSON PARKER TALKS ABOUT RUCMA, (RISE UP CREATIVE MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS)

MAY 17, 2008
Special for THE NEW TIMES HOLLER!
© Amir Bey, 2007
PATRICIA NICHOLSON PARKER
SACO YASUMA'S "INVITATION TO SPRING" concert at The Living Theater, with Ken Filiano, Bass, Jason Kao Hwang, Viola, and Saco Yasuma, Alto. photo by Amir Bey
Lane/Grassi/Whitecage:
Mark Whitecage - Alto saxophone, clarinet
Adam Lane - Bass
Lou Grassi - Drums, percussion
Photo by Yves Remy
Rob Brown Quartet:
Rob Brown alto saxophone
Steve Swell trombone
Joe Morris bass
Luther Gray - drums
Photo by Yves Remy
Steve Swell's Slammin' the Infinite:
Steve Swell trombone
Sabir Mateen reeds
Matthew Heyner bass
Michael Wimberly drums
Photo by Yves Remy
HOLLER!: What is RUCMA's purpose, what gave it birth?

PARKER It began in response to the closing of Tonic the loss of Charas , the loss of Context Studios, in general it is a response to the loss of affordable housing, rehearsal studios and affordable spaces for presentation of events. It is a response to the feeling that art / innovative / vibrant art is being pushed out of Manhattan, the Lower East Side and NY. The value of art is understood only to improve a neighborhood and then is tossed aside like tissue.
So RUCMA is a coming together of artists and in this coming together we find our power We have thus far been able to keep a weekly series going at the Living Theater:
we initiated a jam session
we started a music and spoken word program at Tompkins Middle School
we are beginning to bring together different arts groups
we have launched the rucma.org website
and of course - this is only the beginning

HOLLER!: You're one of the founders of The Vision Festival. Is there a connection between Vision and RUCMA?

PARKERHow can there not be - I am only one person - so the idea of community underlies both organizations. The Vision Festival was a response to the complete marginalization of afro-american avant-jazz music. RUCMA serves a larger group of innovative artists. Also Vision Festival is a non profit organization with a good track record. It is helping to underwrite the activities of RUCMA. Arts for Art and the vision festival will try to get the space that will house the RUCMA series. there will be at some point a stronger distinction - but now since Vision is spearheading things - they are closely entwined.
The distinction being - the breadth of the message. So the Vision Festival pretty much stays in line with its original goal. but the series meets the needs of a more inclusive community. And That is not against what the Vision Festival does.

HOLLER!: Is music the primary discipline that RUCMA is involved with, or does it have multi-discipline involvement?

PARKER Like Vision it is primarily music - but like the Vision - it is dedicated to the importance of bringing the arts together - As we begin to get appropriate spaces we will integrate the arts more - after all I am a dancer - I Love the arts - all of them! We make our art stronger as we challenge each other through the different disciplines.

HOLLER!: How close are you to acquiring an independent space for RUCMA activities?

PARKERIt is Hard to say - somewhere between 1 and 3 years.

HOLLER!: Is RUCMA meant to be a local endeavor? Are there any plans to expand beyond the New York City, and Manhattan in particular?

PARKER: I hope that we will expand - to do that we must make something happen here - a model which can be reproduced in other places. Also William Parker and myself are hoping to take these ideas on the road this summer 08.

HOLLER!: What responses have you had from City officials and agencies like the Cultural Affairs Commission? What about funders such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council?

PARKER: Generally speaking there is a supportive climate - but as they say - talk is cheap; we are not in the district of the LMCC.

HOLLER!: Who are some of the individuals involved in RUCMA's mission?

PARKER: Jason Kao Hwang, William Parker, Tom Zlabinger, Clif Jackson, Remy Yves, Sabir Mateen, Roy Campbell, Saco Yasuma, Ras Moshe, Bradley Farberman, Lisle Ellis, Mossa Bildner, Kevin Ray, Michael Wilderman, Gerald Cleaver JD Allen, Joe McPhee, Clifton Hyde, Seth Meicht, Gunter Grunnar, David Moss, Chris DiMiglio, Lewis Barnes, Jean Cook, James Keepnews, Zak Sherzad, etc etc etc.
This is a growing organization and this list is off the top of my head.
HOLLER!: How can anyone who is reading this help? How can they contact you?

PARKER: First they should come to concerts. They should email me at info@visionfestival.org or remy@rucma.org.
They should be open to new ideas - share them and find folks to help implement the best ideas. The ideas that will make us ALL Great, because they are based on being kind / supporting creativity / and all of Life.

Patricia Nicholson Parker
Arts for Art, Inc.
107 Suffolk Street, #3.5
New York, NY 10002

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