by Helanius J. Wilkins


Download Video: Closed Format: MP4 Open Format: OGG / WebM

Make a donation and watch it grow! With your generosity not only will we be able to create and complete the video and technology components of our multimedia “Trigger” project but, we will also be able to secure funding for the set design and costumes for this project. We have recently been awarded a 1:1 matching grant for “Trigger”. That means your support will double, and afford us a unique opportunity to make an impact through our art. 

Specifically, the funds will support the purchase of needed equipment as well as materials to build two video walls that will be part of the set design for the project; and will enable EDGEWORKS to cover artist fees for the videographer and two camera men for shooting, editing, and creating master DVDs of video segments to be implemented into multimedia project. The final result of this work will be an elaborate dance theater production that integrates video and technology with dance, original music, text, and an expansive set design. The video will be infused to trigger the environmental landscapes where the dance will take place as well as serve as a vehicle to provide factual content linked to the dance and expose real human stories. Going one step beyond how video is often used, the work will also include live video feed – affording audiences closer access and a different point of entry into the project.

This project idea is to support components leading to the completion and public premiere of TRIGGER - my latest multimedia project, and the final installment of a trilogy of works examining and exploring often difficult issues such as race, sexuality, spirituality, class, and how economic conditions affect individual choice from the perspective of black men. The work will be performed by EDGEWORKS Dance Theater.

This project demonstrates how EDGEWORKS links the arts and creative justice by partnering with Miriam's Kitchen - a DC based service organization dedicated to combating the issues of hunger and homelessness - and engaging homeless men in the creative process.  I see Miriam’s Kitchen as an organization that is actively doing what I hope the dances of EDGEWORKS inspire audiences to do – to discover ways of how we can become better human beings and to see strength in working together to make a difference. Our work together is a testament to both organizations’ commitment to bridging community gaps. Our relationship will yield several outcomes and included an informal dance performance in conjunction with a food & clothing drive in July 2009. It will make possible a unique opportunity to research and develop TRIGGER which examines and explores class, and how economic conditions affect individual choices. Through workshops, discussions, and the collection of personal stories, this partnership will not only lead to making a positive impact on the DC community but, it will lead to an opportunity to create meaningful art.

The goal for this project is to not only utilize the arts to engage communities, but to go one step forward to actively engage, challenge and influence conversation around the perceptions of African-American men in contemporary society.

TRIGGER is influenced by my desire to create a link between the past and the present, bridge generational gaps, and expose a truth about the legacy of black men and how they exist in America today. I strive to dig deeper beneath the surface of stereotypes, media images, and assumptions about how black men exist to reveal a greater truth that is honest and not a fictional account of their complexities. Through this work, I am on a quest to chronicle the lives of black men through their own eyes. This project affords me a special opportunity to continue creating art that speaks to my passion and vision while providing a vehicle to make locally and nationally significant work, to build communities through creative processing, and to publicly share work that will give a glimpse into extraordinary lives of ordinary people. EDT will serve the artistic community but will pro-actively engage disenfranchised and artistically under served communities, communities of color and youth.

We are thrilled to have the following support for the project. However, to complete the full work, your support will make a tremendous impact.

*** Trigger is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Dance Place (Washington DC) in partnership with Legion Arts Center (Cedar Rapids, IA), and the National Performance Network. Major contributers of the National Performance Network are Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).

The National Performance Network is a group of cultural organizers and artists facilitating the practice and public experience of the performing arts in the United States. NPN serves artists, arts organizers, and a broad range of audiences and communities across the country through commissions, residencies, culture-centered community projects and other artistic activities. For more information:

 This project is made possible by Doris Duke Fund for Dance of the National Dance Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

***This project is made possible in part by support from the D C Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; was commissioned as part of a national series of works form Meet the Composer's Commissioning Music/USA program.

Match Funds are not currently available.

Previous donations matched by: