Blessed Unrest: An Arts and Social Justice Festival

Produced by Polina Smith and The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women
MAR 25 - 27, 2016
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Leading Bay Area Artists and Activists come together for three days of performances, workshops and panel discussions!

The Arts and Social Justice Festival will include evening performances by leading Bay Area social justice oriented performance groups, including The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, festival-long exhibition by acclaimed visual artist Feldsott, and daytime panel discussions and workshops with Bay Area artists and Change Makers.

Festival Performers Include: The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, Rhodessa Jones, Skywatchers Ensemble, Keisha Turner, Sammay Dizon, Stephanie Johnson, Embodiment Project, Deezba O’Hare, Marvin White, Helen Klonaris, Spulu, Zo Tobi

Photos from Blessed Unrest 2016

Festival Schedule


6:30pm-7:30pm, Opening Reception

Inside Feldsott’s My Enemy Installation

8pm-9:30pm,  Performances with artist Q&A

Opening Ritual by Rhodessa Jones
Marvin White
Deezbaa O’Hare
Helen Klonaris
The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women: Birthright? The Remix


11am-2pm, Workshop

Soul Balm for the POC Freedom Fighter with Keisha Turner

This workshop is for activists, artivists, front lines workers, abolitionists, system-impacted folks and those who support and advocate for them, radical youth service providers, and freedom fighters of all kinds who self-identify as people of color.  Whether we are fighting for our right to our land, to stay in our homes, for fair wages, or our right to exist unencumbered by police terror, the hard work of resistance can have the tendency to leave us heavy and weary.  Soul Balm for the POC Freedom Fighter is an opportunity for us to gather from a place of joy, healing, and the deep, radical love that led us to do the work that we do.  We will intentionally and mutually nurture one another and ourselves through song, movement, food, and ritual.  Come prepared to move your body, lift your voice, and activate your creativity!

 3:30pm-5pm, Panel Discussion

What does arts for social change mean and how is it impacting the Bay Area?”


Rhodessa Jones, director of The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women

Anne Bluethenthal, founder of ABD Productions and Skywatchers Ensemble 

Joanna Haigood, founder of Zaccho Dance Theater

5:30pm-6:30pm, Skywatchers Ensemble Performance and Talkback

ABD initiated the Skywatchers project five years ago in collaboration with Community Housing Project (CHP) and the Luggage Store. Skywatchers illuminates the lives and stories of residents of the Tenderloin who are too often reduced to statistics. Fundamentally, the project is about the connectivity that is essential to the creative process, and the vital importance and humanizing impact of making visible the stories that make us who we are. We engage residents as storytellers, co-creators, performers, and audience members— working in close collaboration with ABD dancers and associated artists—in the creation of performance pieces that reflect the richness and complexity of their stories. Learn more >>

8pm-9:30pm, Performances with artist Q&A

Keisha Turner
Sammay Dizon
The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women: Classical Medea


11am-2pm, Workshop

InterPlay workshop on The Unbelievable Beauty of Being Artists with Interplay Director Cynthia Winton-Henry.

This is both a workshop and performance in which you can have a part if you choose. Do a fun warm up that allows one’s whole being to enter community with ease. Sing and share brief stories about the work you do. Dance on behalf of artists of all kinds who offer vision and hope. Learn about InterPlay’s approach to wholistic social change rooted in the ethic of grace and play.

Using the elegant improvisational language and body wisdom methods of InterPlay you’ll see a diverse community perform dances, songs, music, and short stories that show how humans can collaborate on the spot to inspire health, peace, and love in spite of our obstacles and challenges.

3pm-4:30pm, Panel Discussion

“How can art shape our world?”


Stephanie Anne Johnson PHD,

Cynthia Winton-Henry, founder of InterPlay,

Helen Klonaris, co-editor of Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, with Trans-Genre Press.

Patricia Powell- Author and Director of Mill’s College Creative Writing MFA Program

8pm-9:30pm, Performances with artist Q&A

The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women: How I Cheated Death
Stephanie Johnson
Emodiment Project
Zo Tobi

Cheng-Ling Cheng’s Herliograph project on display in the lobby through the duration of the festival,

Special Thanks to Zellerbach Community Arts Grant for making this festival possible.

For more information, check out the artist website. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook, and invite your community!


March 25 @ 8:00 pm
March 27 @ 8:00 pm
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