I am interested in collaborative work.
Yes. I’m a writer of witness like all writers. I pay attention to the world around me: the pitch and rhythm of a friend’s laugh; how a swirl of olive oil and salt transforms a sour orange into a meaty dessert; the way the woman I’m interviewing sits up straighter, eyes meeting mine for the first time as she describes the freedom to take unlimited bathroom breaks at her present job, a new work experience for her. Yes. I’m a writer who strives to create empathy. I adhere to Adrienne Rich's teaching that "the greatest art thrives on relationship—not self-sacrifice but the intensely felt connections with other human beings." I also know that empathy may not be enough. Yes. I practice documentary poetics but I also write documentary prose stories, articles and fiction based on statistics, surveys, interviews, facts, all sifted through my imagination and moral compass. I often experiment with written and spoken forms in an attempt to make complexity accessible. Before becoming a writer, I made animated films and videos. Animators are multi-disciplinary, time-based artists, a mix of choreographer, actor and designer hellbent on setting lines and shapes, blobs of clay, rocks—anything—into motion. I also collaborated with dance, music, film, programming, theater, and literary artists. Yes. I’m still an animator. I bring the dead, the vanished, the present and future to life as breathing, changing, contradictory characters, images, poems and stories designed to be read and heard out loud. I still enjoy collaborating with other artists in different disciplines. Yes. I am a Jewish artist. My art stems from the Jewish heritage given to me by my mother: a diverse community bound by laws, histories and customs always in question; a thirst to repair the abuses we humans inflict on the world around and inside us; the embrace of a broken heart—though my mom would never have admitted that her whole-hearted enjoyment of movies that made her both weep and laugh had anything to do with Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk.
Her current project is The Price of Our Clothes, a growing collection of poems about garment workers and the garment industry. These poems stem from her history as a descendant of immigrant Jewish garment workers in NYC and her trip to Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza collapse. A number of the poems have been published in journals and magazines and used in classes and presentations. The project began as a multi-media exhibition made in collaboration with visual artist Rachel Breen, which received support from Rimon: the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council and the Brin Jewish Arts Endowment.
In recent years, Alison has collaborated with visual artists, an architect, and musicians on several projects. She also created TalkingImageConnection, a reading series that invited creative writers to respond to contemporary art in Twin Cities galleries. Her passion for working with artists in other artistic disciplines is inspired by her extensive experience as a film and computer animator. Alison’s experimental animated films were screened at museums, including the Walker Art Center, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Whitney, were shown at film festivals, and were aired on KTCA. She received multiple production and travel grants to support these films. Alison also taught film and computer animation at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota and worked as an animator for a commercial animation studio. She now thinks writing is the best way for her to practice animation.
Alison lives in Minneapolis where she mentors poetry, fiction and memoir writers through the Rimon Young Artists program and the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. She also works as a free-lance writer and teacher.
I have mentored, taught, or co-facilitated classes through the Rimon Young Artists Mentorship program, the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, the Minnesota Jewish Community Center, engAGE, Aroha, Sholom Home-Knollwood Place, Catholic Eldercare, the International Education Center, North Hennepin Community College, Kenwood Elementary School, the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education.
You can contact me at my email address to discuss your needs and my rates/availability.