As a creative, Andrea Moore can't be categorized: She works in words and action, embracing poetry, performance, photography, visual art and the less definable art of self-discovery -- not just as a form of expression, but as a way of helping others. Working with the Wayfaring Band, the organization she co-founded, Moore animates self-actualization among members of the special-needs community and other marginalized groups through experiential voyages; she also works with at-risk youth through programs like PlatteForum. What propels this proactive, people-friendly dynamo? Read her 100CC questionnaire below to learn more.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Andrea Moore: I love the great polymaths of history: They weren't burdened by the need to choose only one thing to be. It wasn't considered incongruous for Leonardo da Vinci to be a painter, designer, architect, sculptor, mathematician and more. At heart, he was an innovator, and that creative power seeped out of every pore. I'm also inspired by the practice of innovation, the doing of thinking. Galileo didn't just do his work sitting at a desk: He dropped cannonballs out of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to study the relationship between mass and acceleration. I would love to collaborate with scientists and be jogged out of my complacency about the universe.
Gandhi wasn't initially a man of the people: He was awakened to a life of social activism because of his experiences. He was a London-educated lawyer from a privileged Indian family. As he was exposed to injustice, Gandhi chose to use his privilege as leverage, and he was willing to transform his own life in order to back up his ideas.
And finally, I'd love to collaborate on problem-solving with Willow Rosenberg. Yes, she's fictional, and yes, she's a witch. But difficult problems make her come alive. I think together we could knock pretty much any challenge out of the park.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews are musical-theater creators pioneering the documentary-musical genre. Their new musical Witness Uganda is the tale of a gay, black, Christian American who struggles with the ethics of aid work abroad in Uganda. Gould and Matthews are doing incredible work challenging the casting and storytelling conventions of mainstream American theater. I think our culture is desperate for stories that represent more of our members, and Gould and Matthews are answering the call.
Robin Blankenship runs a stone-age-living skills camp called Earth Knack in Crestone, Colorado. Earth Knack is an oasis of presence, mindfulness and sustainability, and Robin has become a role model of femininity to me. She is unbelievably accomplished and competent, oozing practical skills. She is also radiantly beautiful with her braided hair, dangling earrings and long skirt tucked up over boots. She can bake a pie, build a fire from friction and sing soprano. She doesn't seem to get too spun out about gender roles: She embodies abundance and gratitude with sincere simplicity, and I dig that about her.
Zane and Carter Wilson are two teenage brothers. They are both nonverbal, and they both experience autism. They are independent and loving, clear and mysterious, blunt and circumspect. I think Zane, Carter and our other friends who experience neurodifferences will be interesting to me until the end of time.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
To be honest, I don't know much about art trends. In fact, maybe one trend I would love to see die is the notion that an artist should know anything about art trends. It saddens and frustrates me that brilliant, creative people who need to make art in order to survive are reticent to identify as artists unless they make a living that way. I wish more people would identify as artists regardless of how they pay their bills. And I wish more of the people who do make a living in the arts would root down a little closer to the ground and not behave as though "ordinary" people do only ordinary things.
What's your day job?
I don't view my "day jobs" as separate from my creative work. For me, being creative about my livelihood is consistent with living a creative life. I do a lot of different things to keep me engaged and to keep the boat afloat. I run my own arts company doing writing, performance, photography and producing. I rent out my guest room and sometimes my whole house on AirBnB. I also co-run a company called The Wayfaring Band, which provides road trips and social programs for young adults experiencing special needs and emerging thought leaders. Although we like to rock, we aren't a rock-and-roll band. We are a wayfaring band, which means we are a group of people who band together to travel. If you're into road trips, hi jinx, shenanigans, and biker bars, you might want to think about following us on Facebook.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would first designate a percentage to fund other people's projects and initiatives. Service is a circle, and I think it's dangerous for anyone to think of themselves as the last stop on the ladder of need. There is always someone in a different kind of need than I am, and no matter how little I have, I am equipped to provide some degree of help to someone else. Josh Greene is an artist living in San Francisco, and he had a grant called Service-Works where he donated one night a month of his wages as a waiter to another artist in need. Artists would apply for a $163 grant, or a $207 grant, so they could accomplish a small project. I loved that! There is no time like the present to live according to your values.
If the funds were unlimited, I think a quarter of a million dollars is the going rate for private space travel. Count me in.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
It would be hilarious and wonderful if we had a program where people could sign up to take a random artist to dinner. Artists need to eat, and from time to time everyone needs a creative perspective on old problems. Who knows what kind of synergy could spark from such encounters? Plus, we're a cheaper date than your therapist.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Maureen Hearty is a sculptor (musician/designer/landscape artist) tirelessly working on intersecting creativity and community. She is currently using art as a means to connect people in a declining community on the eastern plains. She is one of my main role models for how to build a kick-ass creative life.
John Kuebler is a writer who consistently shows me how to make a life around your craft. He writes, edits, writes, edits, rinses and repeats. He doesn't get bogged down in whether or not he is "making it." He is totally devoted to the work, and I respect the hell out of his practice.
Tracy Weil s a tremendous leader in the art community. I originally blind-emailed him through the RiNo website when I was moving back to Denver eight years ago, and he generously responded with a warm welcome and extensive housing advice. He goes above and beyond to build community while still investing in his own art and life. To me, he's living the package deal.
John and Linda Maikowski are the passionate power-couple behind Converge Co-working Space in RiNo. They foster connection by creating an inviting, electric space for creatives to come together. I've been a member there since the beginning of the summer, and I feel hugely bolstered by their abundant energy and support.
And finally, my friend Cody Bailey is a 26-year-old writer with cognitive delays, ADHD and bipolar disorder. Cody can't read or write, but he dictates his stories to his caregiver who transcribes them. His work is refreshingly honest, original and endlessly interesting. You can find his zine It's Hard to Be Me in My DNA at the legendary Kilgore Books & Comics.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I'm currently the artist-in-residence at PlatteForum in the Riverfront neighborhood downtown, so I'm pretty focused on that until after my performances at the end of the month. I'm also working on my first public art commission for the city of Denver, which has been an exciting new challenge. I'm collaborating with middle-schoolers from the Bridge Project based in the La Alma neighborhood, facilitating their creation of original poetry. The poems will be used to create a permanent word art installation in their new community center.
I'm also traveling with my company, the Wayfaring Band, returning to Uganda to continue fostering my relationships with university students there, speaking at an Arts and Abilities conference in western New York and officiating my college roommate's wedding. That should get me to November!
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts (or literary) community in 2014
Honestly, probably the usual suspects who are producing their usual brand of products. But I find process more compelling than products. If it were up to me, I'd vote for Maureen Hearty. I love the way she lives. If there's a creative city of the future, I want Maureen to be mayor.
Andrea Moore is currently in residence at PlatteForum and the Bridge Project's La Alma Neighborhood House, mentoring students in a variety of poetry projects while also creating her own one-woman performance and installation. The residency will culminate with free performances July 31 and August 1 and 2 at PlatteForum. Learn more about Andrea Moore and the Wayfaring Band online.
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Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
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