OZ Arts Nashville Announces Innovative Local Artists Featured in Inaugural Brave New Works Lab
Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced the line-up for its inaugural Brave New Works Lab, which transforms the organization’s expansive warehouse into a laboratory for local artists to experiment with new forms as they create new works for the stage. The program features four unique performance pieces from local artists working across multiple disciplines, including dance, theater, multimedia, performance art, and music. Performances will be held nightly from May 19-21, and OZ Arts will also host a cutting-edge visual art exhibit and poetic film screenings presented with local partner organizations in conjunction with the Brave New Works Lab.
Encouraging multimedia experimentation and collaboration, OZ’s Brave New Works Lab creates a safe space for high-risk artistic adventures and celebrates local innovation and creativity by premiering new works and works-in-progress. The Lab aligns directly with OZ’s focus on producing and presenting the work of local artists who reflect the city’s diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences.
The full program includes:

  • A new dance work from choreographer Lenin Fernandez featuring praised local dancers Kristen Cararra, Becca Hoback, Emma Morrison, and Joi Ware
  • A multimedia-music hybrid performance investigating the many facets of personal identity from electronic music artist Gardening, Not Architecture integrating original films by Dycee Wildman and choreography by Joi Ware
  • An original, theatrical performance art creation by genre-bending writer and performer Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva blending elements of Afro-futurism and African folklore
  • A self-choreographed solo dance work by local dancer and choreographer Alexandra Winer

“As part of our mission to support the creation and presentation of innovative performing and visual art works, this laboratory encourages gifted emerging artists to take creative risks and explore the intersections between different artistic forms and disciplines,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive & Artistic Director.
“These original performance creations from four of Nashville’s most adventurous contemporary artists will be presented alongside additional exhibits with community partners working in visual, literary, and media arts, continuing to position OZ as a home for contemporary artists of all disciplines.”
In conjunction with the Brave New Works Lab, OZ Arts will also host the fourth volume of the popular Adult Contemporary visual art exhibit series, presented by the Nashville Scene. In this new installment, DRAWERS: Provocative Drawings, curator Laura Hutson Hunter brings together a mix of national and local artists, showcasing their sensual and erotic drawings. Works from nationally recognized artists like the legendary Betty Tompkins and the acclaimed Thornton Dial will be included alongside local favorites Marlos E’van, Julia Martin and more. DRAWERS will have an opening reception on Thursday, May 12 from 6pm-8pm. Gallery hours will be open from 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, May 13-21..
Along with the Brave New Works Lab performances, OZ will present partner screenings with Kindling Arts and Defy Film Festival of their Heroic Couplets initiative, pairing local poets and filmmakers to create cinematic adaptations of written works. GENDERBEND: Poetry into Film Collaborations features a slate of entirely LGBTQIA+ and/or female-identifying artists, including poets Kashif Andrew Graham, Simba Alik, and Amie Whittemore, and filmmakers Chalet Comellas-Baker, Tiffany Abreu, and Jose Luis Benavides, in addition to 10 other artists. Screenings will be held at OZ Arts on Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 22 at 5 p.m.
Tickets for Brave New Works Lab begin at $15 and are on sale now. Ticket buyers can purchase a combo ticket to the Brave New Works Lab performances and the Heroic Couplets screenings via the OZ Arts website as well. OZ Arts is invested in the health of its guests, artists and the overall community.
This performance is made possible with generous support from donors and grants, including funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission, and media sponsorship by the Nashville Scene. To learn more about upcoming performances at OZ, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.
BRAVE NEW WORKS LAB TICKETS & MORE INFORMATION
Performances: Thursday, May 19 at 8 p.m. Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15-$20. Seating is general admission and tickets are available for purchase at ozartsnashville.org.
DRAWERS: PROVOCATIVE DRAWINGS INFORMATION Opening reception: Thursday, May 12 from 6-8 p.m. Gallery hours: Thursdays-Saturdays, May 13-21 from 1-5 p.m.
GENDERBEND: POETRY INTO FILM COLLABORATIONS TICKETS & MORE INFORMATION Screenings: Saturday, May 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 22 at 5 p.m. Tickets: $10 for individual tickets, or ticket buyers can purchase a combo ticket to the Brave New Works Lab performances and the Heroic Couplets screenings for $22 at ozartsnashville.org
About OZ Arts Nashville Founded in 2013 by the Ozgener family, OZ Arts Nashville has quickly established itself as one of the Southeast’s most influential and respected producers and presenters focused on the creation and presentation of significant performing and visual artworks by diverse cultural visionaries who are making vital contributions to the evolution of contemporary culture. Through performances, exhibitions, and community events, OZ Arts focuses on producing and presenting the work of local and visiting artists who reflect our diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences, students and cultural and civic leaders. OZ Arts’ unique creative warehouse has developed a reputation as a major national and regional laboratory for experimentation and a home for contemporary dance and performance. More than 50,000 audience members have been introduced to adventurous artists from around the world since the organization opened, and hundreds of local and regional artists have used OZ’s 10,000 square-foot warehouse theater to develop new works. For more information, please visit ozartsnashville.org.
About Defy Film Festival and Kindling Arts Established in 2016, Defy Film Festival is dedicated to bringing bold and extraordinary cinematic work from around the world to East Nashville. The festival celebrates unconventional films made by filmmakers who want to defy traditions and expectations. The festival is driven by the desire to bring unknown talent from around the world to Nashville audiences that are looking for a unique cinematic experience. Defy puts the work and the artist above all else. All great art is a disruption. Learn more at defyfilmfestival.com.
Founded in 2018, Kindling Arts develops innovative new works by Nashville’s experimental artists, empowering diverse creators with the resources required to explore challenging ideas in a multidisciplinary context. Now in its fifth year of contemporary programming, Kindling Arts is established as Nashville’s radically unique independent arts incubator. Emphasizing an artist-centered process, the organization presents the annual Kindling Arts Festival, a multi-day event that showcases interdisciplinary collaborations in surprising spaces. Kindling has launched more than 35 unique artistic experiences since 2018, featuring the work of over 200 Nashville-based dance, theatre, avant-garde, music, circus, and visual artists. For more information, visit kindlingarts.com.
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