Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Cilla Vee Life Arts - REPORT of 2021 HAPPENINGS



image from Reflection - photo by Julie Becton Gillum



Greetings dear friends,


It’s already the Spring Equinox as I write this and I’m scrambling to complete my annual report that usually goes out at the beginning of the year!


Most of my efforts this year have been invested in the time, money and labor-intensive occupation of renovating my humble adobe in Asheville NC into The Center for Connection + Collaboration – a local and global creative community hub.


… But more about that later …


In spite of this diversion Cilla Vee Life Arts has still managed to pull together a decent collection of creative projects throughout 2021.

I will share some highlights with you … 





VIGIL: Angel of Light at Asheville Art Museum - capture by Rebecca MacNeice






VIGIL: Angel of Light was a one-hour solo durational Motion Sculpture Movement Installation performed inside the oculus window of the Asheville Art Museum overlooking Pack Square below.


My intention for the project was as a continuation of the VIGIL: Prayers of Healing for theLiving and the Dead 30-day installation at Chashama NY in July 2020 for the NEA / NYSCA sponsored Enliven NYC series.

I wanted to bring a healing VIGIL ritual to my home-base community in Asheville. …. I also had my eye on that wonderful oculus window at AAM as a performance space for some time.


I invited the citizens of Asheville to bring bells and chimes to play in response to the performance as they viewed it from the square.

The Angel of Light bringing hope for the future on the one-year anniversary of pandemic lock-down.


With gratitude to AAM curator Hilary Schroeder and the supportive museum staff who made this happen.



"Behind the scenes" Angel of Light waiting for darkness so the show can begin!



VIGIL: Angel of Light documentation by Rebecca MacNeice


Angel of Light stills – Flickr:



Angel of Light short excerpts – YouTube:







REALIGNMENTS video series with

Debbie Danbrook HEALING MUSIC

(REALIGNMENTS is part of the on-going RAW MATERIAL project to promote an awareness of our nature environments as sanctuary.)


I’ve known Debbie Danbrook for many years. She is a gifted multi-instrumental musician and composer based in Toronto and is a Shakuhachi flute Master. It is her work with Shakuhachi that led her into the life of Healing Music to which she dedicates herself wholeheartedly.

We met through our work with the International Sacred Dance Guild and have also collaborated on other performance projects together.


During pandemic lockdown Debbie reached out to me to consider how we could approach a collaboration. The result was our year-long project Realignments – a music and movement video series marking the Equinox and Solstice days of each season.


For each piece I invited a local Asheville area, female video artist to collaborate with me on creating the visual element, which was then sent to Debbie for her musical response and final production with her partner Steve Raiman at Kensington Sound Studio in Toronto.


Each video was released on the date of the Equinox/Solstice.


RENEWAL - video artist Martha Skinner


RENEWAL – Spring Equinox


RESPLENDENT - video artist Sara Baird


RESPLENDENT – Summer Solstice




RESTORATION - video artist Liz Lang


RESTORATION – Autumn Equinox




REFLECTION - video artists Julie Becton Gillum and Claire Elizabeth Barratt


REFLECTION – Winter Solstice


(photo montages by Chloe Harnett-Hargrove)


For a complete project exposition, please visit the REALIGNMENTS blog:






RADIO ART commission for



For a small Southern Appalachian town, Asheville’s got some heavy hitters of the avant-garde!

… Three of these local contingents combined forces last year on an unusual project to commission five regional sound artists to create a short Radio Art piece.

Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center, Make Noise modular synth manufacturers and Asheville FM Radio put out a call for proposals.


As an interdisciplinary artist I have experience working in a variety of media. I consider anything as a potential material for art-making, so I have worked with sound and have an understanding of the specific genre of Radio Art. However, I didn’t think I stood much of a chance, given how many devoted sound artists there are in the Western North Carolina region. But at the last minute on the night of the deadline I decided to give it a shot … When my proposal was accepted I then had to follow through with creating the piece!

It all turned out well and I enjoyed the process of making my Radio Art piece Public Service Announcement.


Public Service Announcement is a commentary on the authority and self-control possessed by the voice of the radio announcer. There is a nod towards the famous Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio drama in regards to the ultimate trust that is placed on the radio announcement as a voice of authority. However, during this announcement the voice is interrupted by the human compulsions of the anatomical construct of “voice”, cracking the veneer of superiority and revealing the vulnerability of the human condition.




Public Service Announcement on BMCM SoundCloud:



Listening Session – BMCM event website link:



Interview with Jess Speer on Asheville FM Radio – Ecstatic Listening:













A continuation of my collaboration with artist Martha Skinner on her Asphalt Drawings series. This one entitled Displaced Drawing when we had to find an alternative location after being banished from the street by the Marshall NC law enforcement!


Displaced Drawing YouTube link:






The Body and Collaborative Movement in Quarantine.


A roundtable discussion as part of the Transart (notso) Short Fest curated by Jean Marie Casbarian and hosted by Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven CT.

This artist talk between myself and these two phenomenal Canadian movement artists really brought on a serious bout of “imposter syndrome” but I think I managed to fool everyone okay!


Event page on Ely Center website:



Symposia Roundtable Talks page:




Sacred Dance Guild


Living Art article for the International Scared Dance Guild Journal:



SDG Sacred Sundays online presentation about the VIGIL project:




Regional NPR – Blue Ridge Parkway Radio


Interview with Matt Peiken about my work in general:


(Click LISTEN button to hear feature)



Performance with Charlotte NC gothic rock band Solemn Shapes at Club 27 Asheville.





Interview with Matt Peiken about the CCC on feature spotlighting new regional art residency spaces:


(Click LISTEN button to hear feature)



the Asheville Cesspool of Synths summer event at the CCC


As I mentioned in the introduction, most of my daily blood, sweat and tears this year (and actually for the past two years) have been spent on the renovation project of converting my home into a creative community center.


So far …


Kitchen renovation.


From master bedroom to Costume Shop conversion.


From living room to Studio conversion. 



New garage roof



Plus many other construction and improvement jobs.




We rescued the entire Cilla Vee Life Arts costume collection from it’s cramped, mildewy life in the basement, washed it all, aired it out in the sunshine and established it in the new CCC costume shop! 


"From the Deep" sea-creature costumes airing out in the sun




This spring … Garage to performance venue/workshop space conversion.


This summer … Study room to resource library/tech lab conversion.



For more details about my vision for the CCC and the renovation process, please visit:







The CCC was put to the test as a Local and Global hub this past winter when we produced a whole season of poetry events. A Winter of Poetry.


My Dad, David Barratt who is a literary artist and retired professor, has been compiling his lifetime’s work of poetry over the past couple of years. As he was going to be spending the winter here in Asheville it seemed appropriate to have him as our winter artist-in-residence and create a full season of events.


Throughout December, January and February we had three different concurrent series:

- Six David Barratt poetry workshop sessions.

- Four regional guest poet sessions.

- Four winter holiday community readings.

Culminating in a big Poetry Collaborations night hosted by Poetry Cabaret Collective.


All events were offered in-person and via Zoom – and we were joined by people from around the world!



Winter of Poetry pictures






Thank you so much for taking the time to read this year’s report.

In spite of 2021 being so focused on the hard work and labor of construction/renovation for the CCC plus the hundreds of hours invested in production and administration for our Winter of Poetry, Cilla Vee Life Arts still managed to come through with some satisfying creative projects!


We look forward to many more CVLA projects and events in the future now that we will have a real home-base studio workspace established in the CCC.


To support this valuable work, please consider making a donation to our on-going CCC GoFundMe fundraising campaign:




Blessings and well-wishes for the rest of 2022!



Creativity and community are antonyms for impotence and isolation

… and therefore antidotes?

Let’s assume so!