Friday, March 17, 2017



It's time for the annual Cilla Vee Life Arts ONE DOLLAR FUNDRAISER!!!


1) Place a $1.00 bill into an envelope.

2) Address it to:
Cilla Vee Life Arts
Claire Elizabeth Barratt
65 Coleman Ave
NC 28801

3) Stick a stamp on it.

4) Post it.

OR ...

1) Go to:

2) Scroll down the homepage to the Donate button.

3) Click onto the Paypal link.

4) Decide what amount you would like to donate to Cilla Vee Life Arts this year.


Saturday, March 4, 2017


Dear friends,

Greetings this mid-winter day!
Although, as I write this, it is the middle of February – the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the daffodils are blooming here in Asheville, NC!


I now have official letters after my name and a certificate stating that I have earned a Master of Fine Art degree!
This was achieved through an intensive two-year program offered by the Transart Institute – an international, low-residency institution based in Berlin and accredited by Plymouth University, UK. I would highly recommend Transart to any artists seeking an independent practice and research based MFA or PhD program.

 My graduating class & graduation celebration at UferStudios, Berlin.

If you are curious and have a lot of time on your hands, you are welcome to peruse my project work and thesis at:

My class’s final summer residency, final project presentations and graduation party was held in the grand city of Berlin at Ufer Studios.
Our graduating class had decided to present our final projects in dialogue with a peer. So throughout the summer, there was a series of Dialogues events … and mine was the very first one! My Dialogues partner was painter Robyn Thomas, with whom I presented an immersive, audience interactive performance installation of painting fragments, text, spoken word, sound, movement, image projection and live-feed video.  This was entitled RAW/MATERIAL/SELF/PORTRAYAL and addressed our common exploration on the roles of selfhood.

Photo: Lindey Anderson

During this year’s residency, Transart was also celebrating its Triennale with a weekend of special events. The one I was participating in was what I can only describe as a wild, crazy Happening! SpaceBodies 2 – curated by Andrea Spaziani, for which I took on the role of a generic humanoid entitled The Selfless Non-Subject – who roamed throughout the space deprived of sight, relying on the sense of touch and the kindness of others to navigate amid the cacophony of performances, video projections, readings and material objects.

The ART of the WORD

Returning to Asheville in September plunged me straight back into production mode – with Cilla Vee Life Arts presenting The Art of the Word – an evening of poetry collaborations at Weaverville Yoga studio.
The Asheville area is blessed with a diverse poetry and spoken word scene. From regional folk to political activism to rap – as well as the Black Mountain College legacy of those such as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley. Many of these artists are highly inter-disciplinary in their work – crossing over into and collaborating with other art forms. It is this enthusiasm for crossing disciplines that inspired me to curate and produce a show that would spot-light three regional poets – Randi Janelle, Jeff Davis and Tracey Schmidt – in collaboration with other artists and art forms of their choice.
In addition, the warm tones and thoughtful lyrics of Momma Molasses embraced our ears and a pop-up gallery of visual art by all participating performers completed the engagement of all senses.
For more information about The Art of the Word, please see:


One of my most fun performance pieces got another run last autumn. SPLAT! is a live-action-paint performance that has had numerous renditions over the years.
Last September I performed a two-hour outdoor installation version for the opening of the 2016 annual Reviewing Black Mountain College conference at UNC Asheville.

Photos by: David Barratt, Ken Fitch, Diana Brewster

Then SPLAT! hit the road and headed for Roanoke, VA to Art Rat Studios and a collaboration with sounds by: Jules Vasylenko, Ralph’s Stool Sample and Second Order Logic. Opening for the night was Moths (Eric Wollersberger) with dancer Cambria McMillan-Zapf.

Eric later purchased the resulting painting from SPLAT! – shown here with Eric’s cat!

Next, SPLAT! went to Philly and joined Pfff!
The Philadelphia Free Form Festival – an annual event presented by ISOP (the Impermanent Society of Philadelphia) – a crew of radical artists and thinkers who perform all things improvised. This weekend-long festival includes performances, workshops, lectures and really fun after-parties! I felt truly blessed to be included in the line-up of amazing artists and left feeling creatively re-charged.

Video linx for my two performances at Pfff!

Pfff! 2016 Philadelphia Free Form Festival

Friday October 21, 2016
@ Icebox Project Space, Philadelphia

Set 4
Liz Meredith, Violin
Bbob Drake, Electronics
Karen Nelson, Dance
Janna Meiring, Dance
Cilla Vee, Performance

Sunday October 23, 2016
@ Icebox Project Space, Philadelphia

Set 1
Alexander D’Agostino, Dance
Cilla Vee, Performance
Jim Strong, Inventions
Kaia Gilje, Performance
Luke Stewart, Double bass
Mauri Walton, Performance

--> Jen Kertis-Velt


Over the winter I have been performing my longest, most grueling, most durational site-specific installation piece EVER … it’s entitled “Elevator Operator at the Grove Park Inn”. I have a costume I wear every day, actions I perform repeatedly with each audience member and I get paid minimum wage – plus an occasional tip!
This performance project gave me excruciating problems with my legs and feet from standing for hours on end and I had to seek physical therapy. But now I’ve come through it better and stronger and out of credit card debt!

Omni Grove Park Inn website:

Photo: John Lomax



As I close this letter I am here at X-Fest and excited to be returning to Massachusetts for the ninth annual festival.
Originating at 119 Gallery in Lowell, the festival’s new home for the last three years is Holyoke – at the big ballroom in the city hall.
This festival of improvised music, dance and video projection is always so much FUN! This year I am collaborating with Philly based DJ Rob Kopi in between the improv sets as: DJ Rob & Cilla Vee the DaDa GoGo Dancer.


To be completely honest – I was about to make a big Thank You list … but it feels like an overwhelming task! There are just SO many people who have done so much to help me through the past year. All I can do at this time is to send out heart-felt collective gratitude!

Joy & Blessings to all

Cilla Vee Life Arts

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Cilla Vee Life Arts
APRIL 2016
Plus GoFundMe campaign - Art Skool in Berlin!

Dear friends,

Yes – it’s that time of year again! … April is my birthday month, so I have chosen it for fundraiser time.
For those not familiar, this is how the $1 goes …

As there are hundreds of lovely people from all over the world on the Cilla Vee Life Arts mailing list, the theory is that if everyone donates just ONE DOLLAR, then it’s nothing from each individual’s pocket – yet a fantastic fundraiser for CVLA!

All you need to do is …
1. Put a $1 bill in an envelope (a little personal note to sat “hi” would also be so nice!)
2. Mail it to:
Cilla Vee Life Arts one-dollar fundraiser
Claire Elizabeth Barratt
65 Coleman Ave,
Asheville NC 28801

For any wonderful, kind, generous souls who wish to donate $5 or more, it would be safer to mail a cheque – please make it out to Claire E Barratt.
You can also go to the CVLA website and click on the donate button there.
Click on this link for CVLA homepage:

I am also running a GoFundMe campaign - “Art Skool in Berlin!” to raise travel and accommodation expenses for my MFA GRADUATION with the Transart Institute in Berlin this summer.
Click on this link for more information:


I am currently finding a way to incorporate all Cilla Vee Life Arts projects into my MFA thesis project! This is achieved through the RAW-(Material) project.
The RAW-(Material) project explores how the raw materials of the self & of nature & the environment can be used as mediums with which to create art.
Click here for a fun example of this with Hay Bales in the Nottinghamshire countryside:

April 23rd – CVLA presents RAW-(Material): Earthday at Interlude Asheville.

Interlude is a whole series of events & happenings taking place around downtown Asheville NC during the month of April. It is produced by Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center, in collaboration with MAP (Media Arts Project)
Click here for the Interlude website:

RAW-(Material): Earthday is a durational performance installation from 12 noon til 12 midnight. Nature’s springtime will be gathered from the Western North Carolina mountains & arranged to create a living environment at Henco Gallery – where performers will respond & interact with movement, sound & word.
Click here for more information about this event:

May 14th & 15thRAW-(Material) (Final MFA Project) at Weaverville Yoga.

Weaverville Yoga studio (where I teach Ballet) will generously be hosting my final MFA project presentation in May. The weekend will include a dance & music performance, a movement workshop, a video screening and a multi-media art installation.
Click on this link or the Weaverville Yoga website:

Circle Modern Dance    

CMD in Knoxville TN is a company I was part of founding & directing when I first moved to the USA in the early 90s. It is still going strong & currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary year! As part of the anniversary celebrations, the founders are being invited back as guest artists. In December I performed in their annual winter production Modern Dance Primitive Light & earlier in March this year I spent a weekend with the company teaching “Living Art” workshops and creating a structure on which they will develop a performance piece.
The core company members will present the final piece for their big fundraiser on May 19th.
Click here for the CMD website:
Click here to see one of the solo RAW-(Material) pieces from the MDPL show:

workshop with Circle Modern Dance

Deal Island – John Cage Memorial Park residency

This February was spent in blissful solitude on Deal Island – Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I had a month-long residency at the John Cage Memorial Park in Chance MD – which is owned by the fabulous Gladdens – Tara & David, who both work at Salisbury University and are greatly instrumental in creating a contemporary avant garde art & performance scene in their community.
There, I continued to work on the RAW-(Material) project in response to the Chesapeake Bay environment in mid-winter.


I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Tara & David in a multi-media performance at their album (yes vinyl!) release party “Transmissions”.

For this performance, I was able to use some studio studies I had been exploring on the subject of Hands.
Click on this link to see these studio Hand meditations:

And click on this link for an example of how they were used via live-feed video in performance:


me (up on stage) with Audrey Chen, I'd m Theftable, Christos Koulendros, Michael Peters

Oh what would we do without XFEST?
This creative chaos of a festival has been going for eight years now! Walter Wright of Gallery 119 started the festival in Lowell MA in rebellion against the local annual folk festival. For the past three years, Holyoke MA has hosted XFEST.
Every year in the brutal New England winter, a multitude (2016 saw 80) of musicians, dancers and video projection artists invade the place and perform a series of improvised collaborations – you just never know what’s going to happen … especially with the crazy characters involved! FUN!

Happy Appalachian Spring from Asheville!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mid-Winter Catch-Up

HAPPY 2016!

This Newsletter serves as a personal catch-up session with my friends & family - rather than my more formal Cilla Vee Life Arts letter to my whole mailing list ......

I am about to begin my final semester as an MFA candidate with the TRANSART INSTITUTE.
During this time, I must not only complete & present my artistic project to the public - but also to write a project thesis defending its validity in the world!

My project addresses the concept of the Self as a "raw material" with which to create.
The performer uses the Self as medium / Self as instrument for the art of performance.
Therefore - my project is appropriately entitled "RAW-(Material)".

I have been creating it in the form of a journal - with text, video, image & sound pieces documenting my artistic practice-as-research into explorations of the raw materials of the Self .... as well as interactions with the raw materials in the environment around me.

This involves various forays into nature ... falling around in wheatfields, picking apples in ancient orchards, perching precariously on the sides of mountains etc ... ! 

As well as creating a video piece with my nature material interactions, I then take the gestures that evolve from those interactions back into the studio & develop them as choreographic motifs that can be used in live performance.

Here are some examples:



In the wheatfield, my instinct was to fall into it ... it seemed to be inviting me!
Once in the studio, I took these same falling actions & then developed them further - until it became an almost violent act of throwing myself onto the floor!
With the autumn leaves, I saw them spinning as they fell off the trees & onto the ground. I wanted to imitate this action with the camera & it became a dance - spinning & swirling with the camera to capture the dance of the leaves.
On taking this into the studio I applied these motions to my whole body.

Here's another pair ... 



I am spending time in different places during each season.
Summer in Berlin, Nottinghamshire UK at harvest time, Southern Appalachia USA in the autumn ....
Next I go to the Chesapeake's Deal Island for the dead of winter!
Here I have a month-long residency/retreat at the John Cage Memorial Park in Chance MD ... it's quiet & remote. I'm looking forward to wintery sunsets overlooking the bay.

I am currently running a fundraising campaign entitled "BOOKS GEAR & TRAVEL" - which is quite self-explanatory! 
THANK YOU so much to those who have already contributed ..... this letter serves to inform you a bit as to what your donations are going towards. 
If you would like to know more - HERE IS THE LINK: 

Thank you for spending the time to read this & catch up with me.
Please do get in touch & keep me posted on YOU!

Look forward to hearing from you.
Warmest wishes for cold winter days (unless you're near the equator or "down under"- in which case - Happy sunshine!)



Friday, September 4, 2015


Dear friends,

"What's this?" I hear you say ... "Am I in the right place?" ... "I thought I was opening a Cilla Vee Life Arts Newsletter - you know, the one with all the crazy performance-art stuff with the costumes & the installations & the dancing & the music .... But all I see here is a bunch of nature specimens!"


Yes ... you are in the right place - this is the Cilla Vee Life Arts AUTUMN Newsletter.


 "And a pastorale landscape?"

Yes - from the Nottinghamshire countryside in England ... home of Robin Hood, you know!



"Well ... I'm not sure about all this ..... where's the glitz & the glamour? the drama? the smell of the grease-paint - the roar of the crowd ... etc ?"

Um ... I can show you pictures of my hand picking apples & blackberries ...

Some pretty wild flowers ... 

Okay, okay ... I will attempt to explain ........

 To re-cap ... I am currently an MFA candidate with the wonderful organization the Transart Institute 
- an international arts program who award  MFA & PhD certificates accredited by Plymouth Uni in the UK.

Students design their own individual course of study & are assigned a Studio Advisor & a Research Advisor to guide them through their process. 
It's a low-residency program - so throughout the semester students are based all over the world, then come together for intensive residencies - WINTER in NYC & SUMMER in BERLIN .... 
The Berlin residency is at Uferstudios ... an old bus repair depot that has been converted into huge, spacious studios ... 

Soooo ... 
My MFA project is entitled "The Process and Praxis of Constructing the Self As Medium" - it is based on the concept of approaching & understanding the "Self" as the medium for performance, in the same way as the sculptor who uses clay learns the properties & qualities & varieties inherent in that medium & then develops the skills to utilize those qualities to achieve their unique artistic vision.

Last year, my practice & research took the form of developing a pedagogical method for preparing the "Self" (body & psyche) as a medium for performance.
This took the form of a series of workshops & culminated in a website "The Performance Anxiety Workshop Experiment" :

THIS YEAR my process will be very different ...
Last year was all about working with lots of wonderful people who volunteered to be my "guinea-pig" students - it was all about wildly experimenting together in synergy, throwing ideas out there, receiving feedback etc - a very social, collaborative, outwardly focused process.
This year, I feel the need to be more "selfish" with the work ... to internalize & explore in solitude. Taking all the amazing results of last years workshops, I want to now "become my own student" as it were - study my own method, go deeper.

My Enquiry is: What constitutes the Self-As-Medium for art and how does the Self transform for and via the process and praxis of performance?

I have two wonderful & amazing advisors:
My Studio Advisor is LINDA MONTANO:
My Research Advisor is LAURA GONZALEZ:
I couldn't be happier than to have these two incredible women to guide me through.

"But you still haven't explained what's with all the nature stuff!"

Ah yes ...

... you see, my whole strategy here is to strip down to the RAW MATERIAL - in fact, that is the title I'm giving to the series of studies evolving from this process ... 
"RAW - (Material)"

These studies are taking the form of a journal ... a daily journal that consists of text, images, videos, sketches & collected objects ... the raw material of the self - where the practices of art & life fuse into one. The art is in the representation of the discoveries made by the self - the communication of the self in communion with environment, with philosophies, with material, with spirit, with self.

So far ...

0 Raw - (Material) #0: Ground Zero
A performance at Somos Gallery, Berlin - in which I (with help from some charming assistants) really stripped down to nothing ... literally - including my hair.
A symbolic gesture of my intentions going forward. 
Camera (video documentation) by Margaret Hart
(Video piece - as yet unedited)

Images: removed hair & result to head!


1 Raw - (Material) #1: Sand
A video piece shot on a sandy beach in Berlin (yes - they do have sandy beaches in Berlin!)
Skin interacting with warm sand.
Camera by Stephanie Reid
(Video piece - as yet unedited)

Images: hand in sand & proof of sandy beach in Berlin (the Muggelsee)

2 Raw - (Material) #2: Wheat
A video piece shot in a wheat field in Nottinghamshire.
Repeated falling into ripe golden wheat.
Camera by Ana MacArthur
(Video piece - as yet unedited)

Image: wheat 


"Hmmmmm ... aaah ... I seeee - very very interesting. I am extremely curious to see how this all transpires"

... at least, that's what I hope you are saying by now!

BUT ... before you go

I am running a new GO FUND ME fundraising campaign for all the various books, gear & travel expenses that the project will incur.
You can click on this link to view the campaign at no obligation to donate ... if you decide to do so, just follow the directions on the site:

 Many many thanks for reading ..... & I promise there will be more crazy Cilla Vee Life Arts performance activity again in the future!

Very best wishes,


All photos by CEB