Get off the internet and come back to MAWA! Cover story from the fall newsletter

We have come through what was previously unimaginable: a multi-year global pandemic, during which time moved glacially as we isolated at home. Each of us accumulated jugs of hand sanitizer, boxes of facemasks, closets of stretchy pants and a bevy of streaming services. Somehow, we managed. We gathered online. We made art in our pyjamas. New verbs, like “to Zoom”, tripped off our tongues. But what now?

That is our question for you. What would inspire you to leave the house and come back to MAWA? And perhaps an even bigger question: What do you want MAWA to be now?

You will notice a few changes this fall. First Friday Lectures have fallen silent. Tough Love crit nights are on vacation. Theory at Home (formerly Theory and Beer) are taking a theoretical break. Are you mourning these losses? Or excited by new ideas and partnerships, like the Art + Science lab residencies and two months of programs focussed on ghosts?

Over the past few years, we found that the hybrid format reduced the quality of programming online and in the room. As a result, MAWA will continue to offer some programs online, like Artist Boot Camps and Critical Painting Perspectives. Others, like the Cross-Cultural Beading Circle, will be largely in person, with the occasional online workshop. But most MAWA programming is returning to IRL, as the kids say. We remember “before,” when In Real Life was interesting, productive, contentious and fun! We have missed you and the synergies that happen when artists are together in time and space.

As we figure out the “now” and “after,” we want you in the room. Do you remember in the first months of the pandemic, when it seemed that the world was falling apart, but maybe new ways of being and doing were possible? Let’s not forget that new ways are always possible. We don’t have to return to “normal”—it wasn’t a concept that served many of us, anyway.

As always, MAWA loves hearing your feedback and suggestions. Write [email protected] or, if you would prefer to address the MAWA Board of Directors, contact [email protected]. We can continue to imagine new ways forward.

Shawna Dempsey and Dana Kletke