Douglas Dunn (left), Carolyn Brown (rear), and Merce Cunningham (far right), Persepolis Event, Shiraz Arts Festival, 1972. Photo courtesy Cunningham Dance Foundation archive.
Bowerbird will investigate the Shiraz Arts Festival in an effort to lay the foundation for future exhibitions and programs centered on the festival’s history and artistic legacy. Held annually in Iran from 1967 to 1977, the Shiraz Arts Festival featured music, theater, dance, and film staged at ancient, medieval, and modern venues. The festival cut across time and musical boundaries, stimulating a dialogue among generations, cultures, and languages and featuring a diverse lineup of artists that included Morton Feldman, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, the National Ballet of Senegal, and Iranian classical singers Mohammad-Reza Shajarian and Parissa. Bowerbird’s discovery process will engage an interdisciplinary group of thought partners in research and a multi-day workshop in Philadelphia in which the group will prototype concepts for a future project. A series of public events will invite audiences to learn about the artistic ideas that were central to the festival and their relevance today.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.