What Does WCCW Mean to You?

When asked to write a closing blog post, recapping what the SPArt grant made possible seemed impossible to put into words. The last year has been one of the most exciting, rewarding and challenging of my life. It has simultaneously felt like 5 years and 10 minutes at the same time. Instead to give my singular perspective on what’s happened and what it means to have this space that the SPArt grant helped make possible, I asked some of the people who have spent the most time here, done incredible work, helped make it what it is a year later.

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[Rehearsal for Song of Eurydice created by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs and Mecca Vazie Andrews.]

Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs

 

What has the space or WCCW made possible for you?

The roles of the space are manifold: a space of learning, of exploring, of teaching and creating. In this community I have participated in educational workshops related to native plants and ecology, I have lead a workshop (Intro to Song Building), I have held practices for a collaborative choral / movement piece (Song of Eurydice), I have participated in collective art-making (Collage Night), I have attended mediated philosophical discussions regarding the de/construction of patriarchy, I have strategized on project-funding while looking out on the LA river.

Why do you think this kind of space is important?

Women’s Center for Creative Work filled a need we didn’t even know we were missing! It has quickly become a staple of the Frog Town and broader East Side community – consistently providing compelling programming to engage and strengthen Los Angeles’ creative communities. I look forward to witnessing the widespread results of these dedicated visionaries.

What’s something exciting or unexpected that has come from doing something at / being involved with WCCW?

The connections and collaborations generated by being physically present in the space with other creatives.

What do you hope to see at the WCCW space in the next year?

A media arts lab

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[Beth Pickens leading a grant writing workshop]

Beth Pickens

 

How have you been involved with WCCW over this last year?

I’ve taught workshops, gone to events, and sent dozens of women there to find community.  

What has the space or WCCW made possible for you?

A sense of (tenuous, LA-esque) permanency for feminist artists and creative projects. The space also makes it possible to have a home-like setting for the many workshops I teach; people know to go to WCCW for my workshops.

Do you think this kind of space is important?

It’s CRITICAL! Bringing people together physically is paramount to building, expanding, and strengthening communities. Artists in particular tend to get isolated. WCCW’s space brings actual humans together for so many different reasons.  

What’s something exciting or unexpected that has come from being involved with WCCW?

The WCCW got a physical space which then housed the building of a different temporary space- a sukkah, which is a temporary dwelling built and erected during the Jewish holiday Sukkot. I got to participate with a team of feminist builders who designed and built an actual sukkah at TreePeople. This couldn’t have happened with WCCW’s large space.  

What’s your favorite thing that happened at WCCW this year?

A favorite moment was coming out of the WCCW’s office for a Board meeting and stepping into Knitflix where a bunch of women sat knitting and watching a New Wave surrealist Czech film.

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[The Feminist Library on Wheels (F.L.O.W.) out and about]

Jenn Witte

 

How have you been involved with WCCW over this last year?

I head a node of the WCCW (Feminist Library on Wheels) and maintain that node’s library in the space. I volunteer for one regular weekly shift, and occasionally for events. I tend the garden weekly. I attended the stakeholder retreat over the summer to work on the mission statement, vision, and goals for the WCCW. I participated in the Care and Concerns Committee, though that is on hold for now for lack of time.  

What has the space or WCCW made possible for you?

It has made Los Angeles possible for me. It has made dreams come true! It has made magic, connections, taught me so much, and propels me to do more than I ever would have on my own. I have made a lot of friends through the WCCW, too.

Why do you think this kind of space is important?

It provides a means of survival for creative women that is completely visionary. It is forging a path, a deviation from patriarchal structures, we’re hopping off that freeway together.

What’s something exciting or unexpected that has come from being involved with WCCW?

Honestly, every time I’m in that space I have been able to make a connection between what I’m doing and what others there are doing– it is a constant generator. I’ve found a great deal of support among virtual strangers, too. In a city that tends to be isolating, this support and enthusiasm is totally unexpected.

The Feminist Library on Wheels is a product of my involvement with the WCCW, that was a happy accident too.

What do you hope to see at the WCCW space in the next year?

I kind of can’t fathom more programming than you’re already cramming in, I will be impressed with more of the same. I would love to see basic home improvement work, like an expansion of the garden, maybe a seal on the floor, more bookshelves, things like that. Wherever possible I would love to see us continue to loop in the neighbors and outside organizations.

What’s your favorite thing that happened at WCCW this year?

Sanahin!

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[Sanahin at Hey Baby! a feminist parents meet-up that her mom Gilda Davidian hosts through WCCW.

Actors in Gina Young’s theater piece rehearsing in the library at WCCW.]

GINA YOUNG

 

How have you been involved with WCCW over this last year?

After hearing so many great things and wanting to be involved, I submitted a project called FEMINIST ACTING CLASS and was so excited to be accepted. Since then I’ve gotten involved in more events in the space, from performing to stage managing to donating clothes.

Do you/why do you think this kind of space is important?

Women’s work is consistently devalued almost everywhere in the world. Women’s art is important and just naming a space in devotion to it sets certain things in motion. There’s an energy to it. A space like this gives validation to the creative work of women, serves as a central place for exchange of ideas and is also an entry point for women seeking artistic community or identity as artists.

What’s something exciting or unexpected that has come from being involved with WCCW?

The people I’ve met! Collaboration with other artists that I didn’t know existed. Everyone in my workshop was amazing and it didn’t end that weekend– some of them have since collaborated on scenes for a show I curated, or been in each other’s staged readings, or gone to see each other perform. We found each other thanks to the WCCW. LA can feel like such a small town and so many of us get tunnel vision, so it has been incredible to broaden our networks and discover so many other like-minded women.  

What do you hope to see at the WCCW space in the next year?

Everything that’s happening is already so amazing. I guess I look forward to seeing how the space itself grows and improves and diversifies and reaches more people who need it?

What’s your favorite thing that happened at WCCW this year?

Well definitely my workshop! Sorry not sorry, haha. 🙂 26 women came, most of whom I’d never met before. The most amazing, diverse in every way group. I couldn’t believe how great they were. I was recovering from the flu so I was really just hoping to get through the weekend alive, but then the whole thing was magical and just flew by. I never wanted it to end. Everyone really seemed to blossom as they collaborated and performed in front of each other, we laughed and debated and deconstructed and a lot of us have kept in touch since. New projects were born and collaborations are still happening. It was a highlight of my year for sure.

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[Attendees of Fash Mash, Soyoung Shin’s closing event as part of WCCW residency at the Armory Center for the Arts.]

SOYOUNG SHIN

 

How have you been involved with WCCW over this last year?

How haven’t I been involved? I’ve led programming, served as networking committee co-chair, volunteered, hosted an event, used the workspace, had their amazing print studio jefe make riso prints for a zine I co-edited, helped build out the space, taken classes, and performed.

Why do you think this kind of space is important?

There are such few spaces that are so generous in inviting and allowing women to host events, and have spaces to have their voices heard. Case and point, the feminist library having a permanent residence? Stupendous!

What’s something exciting or unexpected that has come from being involved with WCCW?

New friends, my mind being constantly blown, an amazing network of artists, an intruder lizard, learning to use a cement grinder, fields of mint.

What do you hope to see at the WCCW space in the next year?

I’d love to see more programming, the furthering of a revolutionary feminist movement in Los Angeles, and to be surprised by new voices I wouldn’t have expected to hear without the availability of a space like this.

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[The final scene of the Women of Color in Comedy showcase, presented with One Axe Plays.]

April Wolfe

 

How have you been involved with WCCW over this last year?

I run programming for the One Axe Plays project, which is a film and theater collective for female-identifying creators. We do monthly programming of pilot readings, along with play readings, and other productions. We’re hoping to do screening series and writing workshops in the future.

What has the space or WCCW made possible for you?

It’s given me a central place to bring all of this great work. The physical space is amazing, but the volunteers and the people who are there day in day out are what make WCCW special. Film and theater aren’t always welcoming industries, but WCCW sets the tone for what we do. If we produced our work in any other place, we would just not have the breadth of diverse voices or the permission to experiment.

Do you/why do you think this kind of space is important?

Because there’s nothing else like it in the city. You can see it on people’s faces when they walk into WCCW for the first time. Our events bring a lot of newcomers who never would have thought to join WCCW, because they’re really focused and driven by their industries, but what you see when people arrive is that they relax. They explore. People tell me constantly it reminds them of the art spaces in other cities where they got their starts, where anything felt possible.

What’s your favorite thing that happened at WCCW this year?

It’s difficult to choose. One Axe got to join forces with the improv troupe GIRL CRUSH for a night of The Craft-inspired humor, and it was incredible. They had this bit about a haunted grocery store, and people were just dying. And then our writer Kate Mickere brought up her actors to present her pilot A BANSHEE KILLED MY BOYFRIEND, and it was just so serendipitous how perfectly it all went together. It’s nights like that when you feel like everything is in sync. Afterwards, the space always supports discussion, so you have the actors and creators mingling with the crowd and making connection. I personally saw someone walk up to an actor and cast them in their own project that night. And another actor, whose day job is working with women with addiction, ended up making a connection with a journalist who was going to write a story about her work. And yet another actress/creator was hooked up with a director who was going to set up a scholarship for her to attend a weekend filmmaking workshop. This is all in one night, and WCCW being there lets that happen.

 

We hope you will come check it out for yourself!

-WCCW

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