“Widows…Temporarily” watch now!

Widows, Temporarily from Kristen Jeppsen Groves on Vimeo.

Widows…Temporarily
Directed by: Kristen Jeppsen Groves
Dancers and Military Spouses: Melissa Baker, Veronica Hovander, Brittany Starr, and Erica Constancio
Music: “Hallelujah” by Vitamin Strings Quartet
Location: Vicenza,Italy

Widows, Temporarily is a short dance film I created for the Artist, Interrupted national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. It premiered last weekend at the “Initial Impressions” dance concert which included 26 dance artists who each explored a different letter of the alphabet under a time limit of 1 minute and 30 seconds. My letter was W and I focused on “women, waiting, war, wives, wishing”, and of course, “Widows…Temporarily.”

Special thanks to my friends and fellow military spouses: Melissa Baker, Veronica Hovander, Brittany Starr, and Erica Constancio for their work and willingness to create the film.

Military Arts

My new work “Two to One” is a duet created by me and my husband about military and art identity and lifestyles that will be presented at the Artist, Interrupted show at the Wild Goose Creative on May 20, 2011. As part of the research process for the work I created a short film using photos and footage from a recent military graduation. The video is one of my first explorations into military identities and bodies as a performative construct. As of now, I am interested in exploring the more personal triumphs and challenges of a military and arts relationship that my husband and I share. We are both athletes and we are both teachers – we train and command, direct and lead, create and destroy. The duet is a way for me to draw my family into my art instead of my art taking me away from them.

Artist, Interrupted: A Woman’s Art Collective

About three months ago I had three specific experiences that have led me to my most current and compelling project, “Artist, Interrupted: A Woman’s Art Collective.”

My three experiences included the following: a discussion with a dear friend about female identity that shifts with marriage and family, reading a riveting book entitled “Meena”, and viewing lots of art about female identity and power.

I started simple, I sent a blast of questions to many friends about women and identity and received lots of feedback and varying thoughts. From there, I contacted a few other female dance artists whom I love and trust. Slowly and collectively we have created “Artist, Interrupted.”

On my own page, I don’t want to restate what our websites and blogs already say. But, as a woman in transition from dance academia to the ‘real world’, I am learning the immense value of meaningful work with women. The relationships I’m creating with these women are not based on pre-set entertainment outings, but on challenging problems, questions, and needs that, for me, is creating a deep emotional and artistic relationship in ways that my artistic and personal self needs. Collectively, we are creating an artistic organization that is stronger, bigger, and beyond all of our individual abilities; yet, combined we are generating a very needed project for women who have taken a break from their art to follow other healthy life pursuits. And I love that I feel strong enough to pursue this project knowing that I’m leaning equally on talented and giving women artists.

I had a meeting today with an interested participant for the project, a stay at home mother of three, who teaches painting and drawing out of her home. After two hours of talking with her about our project I was touched again by her creative and artistic uses of her talents in her own home. She timidly moved her hands over her work, wondering if it’s note-worthy for a gallery showing, and feeling that all-too-common-feeling of fear and intimidation to step back into an art world that was left years ago.

I’m preparing myself for that bridge that I’ll soon be crossing: no school, no deadlines, no space, nor dancers. And I’m wondering how that something to nothing transition will happen. But, I am happy to know that this project is fluid and flexible and can meet my needs wherever I go. I invite you to check out our mission and goals at http://www.artist-interrupted.com and our blog at http://Artistinohio.blogspot.com/.