FOX WHITNEY STEPS DOWN AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
February 4, 2023
After two years collaboratively leading Velocity, Fox Whitney steps down as Artistic Director to pursue his own artistic projects and interests as an educator and movement researcher. Fox joined Velocity as the AD in 2020 after working with the organization for almost 10 years as an artist in residence, teacher, and curating artist. Fox will continue to work with Velocity as a board member and independent artist. He will also be writing about the upcoming Velocity Spring Season and his experience as an artist and administrator with the organization during the pandemic.
Passionate about supporting artists through the onset of the pandemic, Fox focused on getting as much resource to artists as possible. Together, Erin and Fox took the opportunity to reassess Velocity’s mission, vision, and values; took steps to create more QTBIPOC accessible programming, including instituting the TBIPOC tuition waiver; and supported artists in developing new work during shutdown. Throughout this work, Fox and Erin collaborated to grow connections with artists and partnering organizations, while seriously considering the support audiences and dancers needed in re-entering event spaces, amidst pandemic restrictions and the emotional and physical burnout challenges affecting creatives and the not for profit industry nationwide.
Enacting the values that have been a part of his decade of work with his performance project Gender Tender, Fox contributed to cultivating a community of care, experimentation, and connection that values a myriad of identities and perspectives.
Fox will continue to work with the organization as an artist as he develops the interdisciplinary Gender Tender project MELTED RIOT inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969 first presented by Velocity in 2019. He will also continue to work as a writer, musician, performer and educator working at the intersection of performance, dance, visual art and queer and transgender history.
A NOTE FROM FOX
The most important thing I’ve learned while working as AD is that the work of curating and organizing events is not about the interests of the individual although all our unique perspectives are invaluable in the process. This work is about the synergy of connection and building a collaborative team that values care and genuine interest and support as well as transparency around financial realities.
Advocacy for underrepresented artists inside the field of dance and experimental performance is paramount. I have learned so much confronting the challenges of being an artist and administrator doing what we as a team felt was possible inside of the structures we work inside of. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done with the Velocity team to create the CAiR position, institute the TBIPOC waiver, produce new programs NIGHTLIGHT and FIRELIGHT centering a QTBIPOC curatorial position in collaboration with Moonyeka and other artists, and updating longstanding Velocity programs like SFD+I, the Bridge Project and NextFest NW.
I couldn’t have done this work without the amazing artists, administrators and community members that have worked with me and cheered me on through some very difficult times.
We all deserve care and support, especially in the roughest of times. We all deserve to be celebrated and encouraged. In this post-pandemic reality I see so many others like me that have led the charge through the art field in the last few years make big moves, changing tactics, slowing down, moving to new cities, even choosing to do something else completely….this is the beautiful thing about the creative life, there are so many possibilities! I remain committed to supporting your dreams for a better, more creative world. I am grateful for Velocity and the community at large’s support of my vision as AD and for everyone’s support of my personal artistic endeavors as well.
As a person that has traveled much and moved often to pursue my artistic desires, I see and honor the way artists have paved the way for others with their aptitude for adaptation, improvisation, self motivation, mutual aid and community building skills, creative practices…the list could go on and on…this is what has gotten me and so many of us through the toughest of times since COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter revolution rocked our world.
I believe in my heart that our art will be better for it, that our ancestors in these practices will be more appreciated and recognizable, that the grief we are all confronted with at some point in our artistic and/or personal lives is a reflection of the deep love we have for each other, for creativity, for connection, for self-love and for our courage in responding to our rapidly changing, complex and beloved world.
Thank you for going along on this ride with me since 2020!! And I’m so grateful to have continued to work with some of you since I began Gender Tender in 2012. Velocity has been my artistic heart since I began working with the team virtually during lockdown in 2020. From NIGHTLIGHT (online and in person!), to the creation of the CAiR position and curating online, hybrid and in person iterations for SFD+I and finally producing the Bridge Project, NFNW, SFD+I and FIRELIGHT in person with partnering organizations…you all trusted me and invested your time, energy and hearts by encouraging me and joining me for my first experience as an artistic director for an organization.
Our creatives, our artists, our activists, our beloved dancers, our movement makers: THANK YOU.
You, dear artists…the tender ART heart of the performance world…your radical practices, awesome ideas and passion for the freedom of expression affects others beyond our local art world….creative thought and practice is taking shape at the speed of light all over the world: Let’s SAY YES. Say yes to our visionaries. This is WORK, imagining and making the case for a different, more liberated world. Let’s get messy, let’s get real. Let’s try to get free. At the very least let’s make sure we can say we did the best we could. And we did it from the bottom of our hearts. Let’s continue to take care of each other and remember the truth. Caring for each other makes us stronger and more creative. Vulnerability is a strength.
What if we imagine ourselves as one shared big hearted healing dancing body continuing to move through this paradigm shift together? Anything is possible.