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Meet the Artists of We The Many

Arts Midwest announced today that three Midwestern artists have been selected to take part in We the Many, a program that funds artist residencies in rural areas to help challenge and expand the idea of what it means to be a Midwesterner through the creative exchange of voices, cultures, and ideas.

From left to right: Alex Barreto Hathaway, Erik Dominguez, and Ana Velazquez

Puppeteer and theater artist Alex Barreto Hathaway will be working with the towns of Sisseton, Veblen, and Agency Village, South Dakota, storyteller Erik Dominguez will be working with the town of Perry, Iowa, and theater artist Ana Velazquez will be working with the towns of Wabash and North Manchester, Indiana.

About We The Many

Arts Midwest has a long history of artist residencies in rural Midwest regions though World Fest, a program where international artists tour to towns and spend a week in communities doing workshops, performances, and educational events. Through these residencies, community members are invited to make new connections, experience deep learning moments, and participate in cross-cultural exchanges.

We the Many takes Arts Midwest’s tried-and-true residency model a step further and invites communities to lead the planning, co-creation, and execution of a year-long artist residency. Planning committees in each town have received a $45,000 grant, an advisor for artist selection, training, and additional assistance to create an artistic residency that leverages the creative assets of their area. Each community chose their featured artist after deep community conversations. Due to the challenges of COVID-19, the shape of the residencies remains flexible, with personal safety as the primary priority. Communities will conduct a variety of residency activities through June 2021.

We the Many is funded through generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and with the help of the Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council.

Meet the Artists

  • Alex Barreto Hathaway will be working with the Sisseton Arts Council in Sisseton, South Dakota (Population 2,500), along with the communities of Veblen (population 558) and Agency Village (population 181). Alex is a process-based artist and educator that leans into playfulness, clown, mask and physical theatre, clown again, stories that celebrate the Latinx experience, and projects that partner with non-theatre groups. He earned his BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota with a thesis project exhibiting Mask, Puppetry, and Street Theatre practices studied in Pernambuco, Brazil. Beyond theatre, Barreto Hathaway makes illustrations, writes tri-lingual folk songs, hosts artist “salons” for new work, and sustains an ongoing project that serves artists, farmers and grass-roots organizers in Puerto Rico, where he is originally from.
  • Erik Dominguez will be working with Art on the Prairie in Perry, Iowa (Population 7,700). Erik is an immigrant who grew up between two cultures and mixed messages, which fueled him to learn and share the tools to overcome those obstacles. For nearly 25 years, his team-oriented teaching style has centered around shared experiences, a philosophy that everyone has a unique story, and a belief that everyone can share their minds and hearts through powerful presentations.
  • Ana Velazquez will be working with The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash, Indiana (Population 10,600). Ana is a Mexican American director and teaching artist in her native Chicago. Her directing experience is deeply tied to new play development and is often in collaboration with playwrights exploring underrepresented stories. Ana received her BA in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Playmakers Laboratory company member. Her teaching artist experience includes Disney Musicals in Schools and Playbuild Youth Intensive Program with Goodman Theatre; Timeline South Living History Program with Timeline Theatre and Young Playwrights Festival with Pegasus Theatre. She proudly served as the Associate Director for the Chicago August Wilson Monologue Competition.

We the Many artist Alex Barreto Hathaway in 2019 leading a first-time Open Eye Puppet Theater puppetry crash-course to help re-design and re-script the Puerto Rican Classic: Las Adventuras de Juan Bobo.