Rael Teeter Totter High Res 16 9 Medium
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, Teeter Totter Wall, 2019. Steel, paint, 800 miles. Courtesy of the artist

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Creative Time and FotoFocus Announce The Convening Schedule

Posted on September 12, 2023

Speakers Charles Gaines, Nicholas Galanin, Gee Horton, Anissa Lewis, Ronald Rael, RaMell Ross, Chip Thomas, Tania Willard, and More to Gather for 2 Days of Art, Performance, and Discussion Around Land-Use, Stewardship, Borders, and Exchange.

Creative Time and FotoFocus announce the schedule and speakers for The Convening, a series of critical dialogues, artist interventions, and performances that highlight the organizations’ shared missions to lead urgent conversations on art and politics. The event takes place at various locations across Cincinnati on October 20 & 21, 2023. It is free and open to the public.

Acting as a prelude to Charles Gaines’ 2024 exhibition, The American Manifest, in Cincinnati, The Convening will delve into the intricate relationship between humans and the environment, addressing themes of land-use and self-determination through contemporary art practices, including photography.

Participant Grid for Eblast w Boarder
Participants, from left to right, top to bottom: Anissa Lewis (Executive Director, Wave Pool, Covington, KY); Tania Willard (Artist and Curator, Syilx Territories, British Columbia, Canada); Charles Gaines (Artist, Los Angeles, CA); RaMell Ross (Liberated Documentarian, Providence, RI); Ronald Rael (Designer and Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley, La Florida, CO and Oakland, CA); Nicholas Galanin (Artist, Sitka, AK); Omope Carter Daboiku (Performance Artist, Educator, Writer, Dayton, OH); The Well; Wave Pool; Welcome Project.

On Friday, October 20, The Convening will commence at MECCA OTR with a welcome reception and performance by Omope Carter Daboiku, Nate May, and Talon Silverhorn.

On Saturday, October 21, The Convening will continue with a morning session at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, promising thought-provoking discourse around land and stewardship. This session will investigate the complex interplay between human culture, land use, and natural history. Speakers in this session include Aimee Meredith Cox, Charles Gaines, Gee Horton, Chip Thomas, and Tania Willard; Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig; and FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore. The morning keynote will be delivered by RaMell Ross, the Rhode Island-based liberated documentarian. 

The Convening will conclude that same day at the Contemporary Arts Center, with an afternoon of performances, food, and conversation focused on themes of borders and exchange. A collaborative music performance session from The Well, uplifting Appalachian, African American, and Native American musical traditions within the Ohio River Valley, will take place following a meal organized by Wave Pool’s The Welcome Project. Artist Nicholas Galanin, designer Ronald Rael, will deliver the final keynote conversation, and the day will conclude with a stirring performance by Guillermo Galindo, a post-Mexican visual and sound artist from Oakland, CA.


The Convening is free and open to the public. For the latest schedule and more speaker details, please visit FotoFocus.org/Symposium.


1429 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH

6–9pmWelcome Reception and Performance featuring musicians and key collaborators for The Well: Omope Carter Daboiku, Dayton, OH; Nate May, Oakland, CA; and Talon Silverhorn, Yellow Springs, OH 


Morning Session: Land and Stewardship

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH

Centering on earth-based themes—land, waterways, trees—these conversations consider histories of land, land use, and the wisdom that can be gleaned from prolific natural histories, in which human culture has played a complicated role.

9:30amLand Acknowledgement
Grounding by Aimee Meredith Cox, Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at New York University, New York, NY
10amPanel moderated by Justine Ludwig, Executive Director, Creative Time, New York, NY, with panelists: Charles Gaines, Artist, Los Angeles, CA; and Gee Horton, Visual Artist, Cincinnati, OH
11amPanel moderated by Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator, New York, NY, with panelists: Anissa Lewis, Artist and Executive Director, Wave Pool, Covington, KY; Chip Thomas, Photographer and Public Artist, Flagstaff, AZ; and Tania Willard, Artist and Curator, Syilx Territories, British Columbia, Canada
12pmKeynote by RaMell Ross, Liberated Documentarian, Providence, RI

Afternoon Session: Borders and Exchange

Contemporary Arts Center
44 East 6th Street, Cincinnati OH 

The border between the United States and Mexico has become increasingly contentious in recent years, symbolizing the inequities intensifying over our dwindling natural resources. Simultaneously, the concept of borders plays an outsized role in the human psyche, defining—often arbitrarily and harmfully—boundaries between not only nations but cultures, genders, species, and generative forms of shared knowledge between these entities.

1:30pmWave Pool/The Welcome Project Lunch
The Welcome Project bridges relationships within neighborhoods, and empowers Cincinnati’s refugee and immigrant population while connecting, assisting, and inspiring all through art and food. This special iteration is grounded within The Convening themes and presents a meal alongside an artistic response and participatory engagement.
2:30pmWorkshop Performance: The Well
Sound Intersections: a collaborative new music commission uplifting Appalachian, African American, and Native American musical traditions within the Ohio River Valley featuring: Nate May, Composer, Oakland, CA; and Talon Silverhorn, Cultural Educator, Yellow Springs, OH; in sonic conversation with Cincinnati-based musicians Jay Bolotin, Kathryne Gardette, and Baba Charles Miller
3:30pmKeynote Conversation with Nicholas Galanin, Artist, Sitka, AK; and Ronald Rael, Designer and Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley, La Florida, CO and Oakland, CA
4:30pmPerformance by Guillermo Galindo, Post-Mexican Visual and Sound Artist/Composer, Oakland, CA

SofS 017
RaMell Ross, iHome, 2012. Pigment print, 36 x 46 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery

Creative Time and FotoFocus are grateful to The Convening’s supporting partners:

Press Release originally published on September 12, 2023.

FotoFocus is committed to providing programming that is accessible and inclusive. Qualified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided at The Convening by AML-Global American Language Services. To request additional information regarding accessibility and accommodations, please email info@fotofocus.org and we will respond as quickly as possible.