This summer the MAP board of directors voted unanimously to elect new officers to fill the role of Board Chair and Vice Chair. Constance Humphries is now serving as Board Chair and Alec Sturgis is Vice Chair. Like many MAP board members, both Humphries and Sturgis initially became involved with the Media Arts Project as participating artists in MAP’s programming.


Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 9.58.32 AMConstance Humphries, a Butoh performer, video artist and digital media instructor at A-B Tech, was introduced to the MAP by way of {Re}HAPPENING 2013 and was invited to present her work as an Off the MAP artist the same year. Humphries moved to England soon after and upon her return to Asheville in 2015, she presented a compelling discussion about screendance – a genre that melds choreography and movement with video art to produce a new format in storytelling.

MAP: How did your experience in England influence your your role as an artist?
Humphries: My experience as an artist-in-residence at Experimental Studios in Newcastle, England, as well as my participation in exhibitions, screenings and workshops in the UK and Berlin helped me develop and focus my performance practice in an international context.

How did the experience of living in England influence your perspective on arts administration in Asheville – or the US in general?
As curator for performance at Abject Gallery in Newcastle, England I had the opportunity to work within and with arts organizations with similar concerns as the MAP: presenting quality arts programming, gaining funding and marketing to audiences. However, in the UK, there is simply more funding for programming because there is more general support for arts and culture.

How do you balance the role of artist, teacher and administrator?
Gratefully, my various roles overlap and compliment each other creating an integrated life style. And, I keep a careful calendar.

What are your goals for MAP in 2017?
I would like to see the MAP continue to present and support quality media arts programming and collaborate with other arts organizations in this mission. One project I am very excited about is the Screen Dance Festival coming up in March 2017.

How do you think MAP can be relevant to the Asheville community?
The MAP provides vital support for artists and presents unique programming with a specific focus on innovative approaches to technology, experiential formats and aesthetics.

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 10.01.50 AMAlec Sturgis became involved with MAP as an organizer and participating artist for INTERLUDE 2016. In addition to organizing two experimental music shows, Sturgis created a sound installation as part of his artist front, Cairn Desk. In 2014 Sturgis was a fundamental organizer in Asheville’s short-lived but highly regarded Apothecary – a space that featured experimental sound, art, movies, workshops and panel discussions (including MAP’s Copy/Right symposium on appropriation art.)

How do you think MAP can be most relevant to the Asheville community?
Sturgis: The Media Arts Project represents one of the things I love most about Asheville’s art community — it’s an organization propelled by collaboration among the Board of Directors and artists. Its smaller size allows MAP to work flexibly within the community. I think this very direct commitment to artists and to experimentation within our own organization will show the MAP to be increasingly relevant in Asheville’s art scene.

Do you have any goals for MAP in 2017?
I’m excited to see The MAP presenting and facilitating work more frequently and flexibly as we go into 2017 and as we plan for the future of the organization. From pop-ups, artist talks and mini-festivals, there is a lot of exciting programming in the works and my personal goal will be to increase the amount of communication and feedback between the MAP and the arts community through these programs.

How has your experience with Apothecary informed your organizational role with MAP?
While participating in the organization of Apothecary provided me with a lot of hands-on experience curating, hosting events, dealing with the logistics of presenting art, the most invaluable thing about that time was that it put me in contact with incredible artists and friends in Asheville and from all over the world. It’s because of this strong network of passionate, creative people that we were able to do really adventurous programming at Apothecary and that experience has given me confidence that Asheville both supports and really, needs avenues for presenting wild forms of art. Personally, this advocacy for deeply experimental art is what I hope to bring to the MAP.

Can you talk a little more about Cairn Desk?
I was recently up in Boston for the opening of a show at Industry Lab, curated by artist/writer Nora Khan (Rhizome, Eyebeam). My piece in the show featured digital prints, audio/literary installation and sculptures produced by myself and my partner at Cairn Desk, David Grubba this past April as part of INTERLUDE. The work explores themes of white masculinity and leisure culture through the lens of Long Beach ska culture and iconography.