An ever growing series of documentation about artistic engagement in activism, community building and education throughout N. America and Europe
*Picoas Project is presently being revamped!
Click Here if you would like to view any of the miniature videos.
The next phase for this project will be a feature length documentary film titled:
Fill In The Blank
Picoas Project: Art And Activism is a full-length feature documentary about the importance of artistic engagement in the 21st century through the perspective of two perpetually traveling artists and those many individuals and communities they have collaborated with and within.
This project and the eventual documentary film is a natural progression of our work as artists. For the past nine years, we have been touring back and forth and around N. America and Europe without a home base. This way of living on the road, traveling among communities and artists, is unique. In between intensive touring schedules, arranged ahead of time, we often settle down for days, sometimes weeks, in different locations, Thollem collaborating with an extensive array of artists and Angela with camera in hand, documenting what she discovers around her. This has allowed us to develop hundreds of relationships with artists nationally and internationally as well as a special insight we feel is beneficial to society. We are settling for awhile in northern New Mexico to create a narrative film compiled from the footage we've gathered.
This upcoming documentary represents many varieties of backgrounds, approaches, interests, needs and results ranging from WFMU, the longest independent free-from radio station in the U.S. to the Great Basin Native Artists Association; from Cheryl Leonard's work recording and performing with natural materials in Antarctica to the 4-States Sessions in Austria bringing performers from different countries to create together in the moment; from the history of the Bimhuis and the Instant Composers Pool in the Netherlands, to a 35 year old community youth orchestra outside Oaxaca City, to venues and presenting organizations serving their communities on various financial strata; from artists working in educational settings on border issues and ecological issues, anti-war to public art inviting dialogue between friends and strangers.
We hope this film inspires you to participate further as an artist yourself, and/or to explore and support the galleries and performance spaces in your neighborhood and surrounding areas, but most of all to be involved in the decisions that are shaping our world.
Since 2006, Thollem McDonas has lived on the road throughout North America and Europe, playing on average about 130 concerts a year, leading workshops and participating in hundreds of collaborations with a wide array of artists: musicians, filmmakers, painters, activists. Each collaboration is a unique approach with wildly diverse results, published/performed in many different types of venues for a diversity of audiences. In 2008, Angela C Villa joined him and began documenting Thollem's work as well as that of artists and communities with and in which they found themselves working. In 2013, they recognized their accumulation of an incredible amount of footage, much of it representing artists and promoters who are otherwise often working under the radar, with little or no funding but doing integral work that deserves more attention. With this realization, Picoas Project was born. It has gone through an array of incarnations while Thollem and Angela wrestled with the footage that was often taken under less than ideal circumstances technically and, initially, without a particular intent. The first generation of the project is a series of vignettes that both artists and presenters can use and from which viewers can gain insight.
This is our on-going project. Visit whenever you have a chance.
Please contact us HERE to schedule a screening/discussion in your community
Since 2006, Thollem has been playing on average 125 concerts a year, collaborating with hundreds of musicians as well as filmmakers, dancers, poets and painters. During this time, Angela has been traveling with him, documenting his projects as well as those of many others within a diverse array of communities, organizations and institutions internationally, through video, audio, photography, and the written word.
Spanning multiple dimensions, their work exhibits an approach to the arts that challenges the assumed boundaries that have been constructed across the stylistic and socio-economic spectrum.
From Thollem and Angela:
"The continuity of documentation from the first 7 years of our travels has provided, through our experiences, an international panorama of the arts community. These video miniatures, ranging from one minute to 8, illustrate the fortitude and significance of artists and presenters in these increasingly difficult times. Connecting, inspiring and educating the general public, these presentations are windows into arts organizations that serve their communities, often with little funds that are dramatically diminishing.
At the same time, we believe these visual and aural representations bring awareness
to our interdependence as neighbors in communities, cities, states, countries, and cultures. Picoas Project is our way of continuing their work, expanding upon it to provide ways that people can develop, and practice, a more integrated view of the arts."
Picoas /sh/ is the name of a metro stop in Lisbon, and otherwise has no other significance.
Banner Photos from L to R:
Nels Cline at Mass MoCA during the Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, MA
Germaul Barnes with Bitahkiz Ayeli at the Centre Municipal Culture et Loisirs in Gap, France
Hamid Drake at Edgefest with William Parker's Quintet at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI
Martha Colburn at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY
2501 Imigrantes by Alejandro Santiago at CaSA in Oaxaca, Mexico
Picoas Project is all volunteer-run.
Any and all donations go directly
to continuing our work.