About the Artist

About the artist:

Three years ago, I parted with a comfortable and enjoyable American lifestyle to seek adventure and exposure to other cultures.  I'd earned a Master's Degree in Social Work with a specialty in Social Circus, a means of healing and opening awareness through play and performance, and I gravitated to Latin America to offer this practice.   I departed as a young woman with a consciousness formed largely by mainstream American experience but prodded by an innate curiousity and a humanitarian impulse.  A year and a half later, I returned personally, politically, and spiritually transformed.

While I'd looked forward to arriving at a heightened understanding of the ways of Latin America, I was taken by how little the culture resembled mainstream American media portrayals of the land as corrupt and crime-ridden, and I was shaken by the hostility with which so many Latin Americans regard America.  Comments from Latin Americans like, "Thank you for helping me see that all Americans are not racist" and "You must accept that America is an imperialist nation" stunned me, and punctuated a quieter distrust that I felt challenged to continually overcome across my travels.

The stress of this experience, however, was balanced by the many inspiring connections I experienced with Latin Americans and the affirmation of my faith in the basic goodness and sameness of humanity.  I returned to the US identifying myself, for the first time, as distinctly American, understanding that qualities such as my directness, relative ease at developing and expressing opinions, creativity, and adventurous spirit are gifts given to me by my family, socioeconomic status, and nation of origin.  I also returned with discomforting questions about the ways that the United States interacts with the rest of the world and with a deep drive to discover my own responsibility in shaping that interaction.

Now, after spending another year and a half inhabiting the States with this widened lens, exploring the history, politics, arts, and communities of my own nation, I find myself drawn back to Latin America, again with Social Circus as a tool, and with a deliberate determination to delve more deeply into inter-cultural dialogue and investigation.