After much consideration and reflection, we have decided that Nana Projects will close at the end of the summer.
past December, Nana Projects invited staff, board, volunteers, past
interns and friends to engage in a series of conversations about Nana
Projects' future. Several projects seemed to be finding natural
conclusions and it was gratifying to watch seeds we had sown grow into
exciting new things, both in Baltimore and beyond. Having largely
accomplished what we set out to do 20 years ago, and with doors opening
on new endeavors, closing now feels like a positive step, the right
thing at the right time.
I organized Nana Projects in 1993 to produce a puppet show I was directing at the Fred Smith Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips, WI. From the very first puppet show in Wisconsin, we were dedicated to artistic collaboration and to engaging communities in public spaces to share experiences. I have served as director and principal artist for the past 20 years and have had the pleasure to see passions of mine manifest in the most amazing ways.
For almost ten years, I’ve worked alongside Annie Howe as a colleague and am in awe of how naturally our collaboration has evolved. Quite simply, Nana Projects wouldn't have accomplished what it did without her tremendous talent, dedication and good humor.
The most amazing people have walked into the studio and become part of the programs—the parades, the stilt walking, the puppet shows and the workshops. Seventy-five interns from all over the country worked with Nana Projects over the years. We took our role as mentors seriously and watched many evolve; some returned to work with us and others moved on to their own adventures. We've collaborated with hundreds of incredible artists, performers, musicians and organizations in Baltimore and across the country. The names are too many to list here but we are forever thankful to all of you.
We're already in the process of archiving and storing the most iconic of Nana Projects' costumes, parade objects and puppetry work. I will remain the trustee of these items and we may pull them out for special appearances. Never say never, right?
There will be future collaborations between myself, Annie Howe, ellen cherry and many of our other friends, just not under the name Nana Projects.
We hope Stiltathon, our free stilt walking workshops in Baltimore City Parks, will continue as a self sufficient program and have stored the equipment to support the transition to it’s next phase. Annie Howe will be its primary organizer. She also has an amazing artistic practice, Bmore Papercuts.
I am taking a 6 month sabbatical starting in September and you can follow those adventures at mollyross.org. My family has relocated to Key West where my husband is director of The Studios of Key West and my daughter is starting fourth grade.
Maybe you helped us build a parade or played a musical instrument, maybe we met you at a workshop, and maybe you saw one of our puppet shows. If you're reading this it means that in some way, you are part of Nana Projects’ legacy, and we could not have accomplished all we did without your help. I am so grateful for the support from our board, audiences, volunteers, presenters and funders.
We do have a few final programs and I've listed links below-- we hope to see you there!
Director & Principal Artist