» Autumn Compton
How did you become an artist?
I have been involved in music and dance since since I was a kid, but it was around the same time that I started being involved at Intermedia Arts that I started to claim my identity as an adult artist in the community. I know that Intermedia Arts has been a steady influence in that journey.
What inspires you?
People's constant strife to make things better, and to align with something larger than themselves inspires me. The seeming inherent juxtoposition of great despair and challenge, with tremendous beauty and joy that exists in our world inspires me. The natural world inspires me.
How can art be a tool for speaking out, for creating change in the world?
I believe true artists reflect back to the people what is going on in a way that people can see it for what it really is. They read us back the current dream we, as a society of humans, have created, and at the same time also imagine what the new dream could be. Sometimes it is easier to "hear" the truth through the arts because it speaks to the part of us all that is creative, and is outside of the "normal" interactions we are "supposed" to have on a daily basis. I have used dance to teach youth about parts of american history that sometimes go untold. I have also used it as a means to talk with teens about sexuality vs sensualty and issues around ownership of our sexual and sensual beings. I have been a part of orgnizing B-Girl Be, which gives a voice to women in an art form that often marginalizes them.
How has Intermedia Arts been a part of your story?
I first became connected with Intermedia Arts by volunteering for the first B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop. B-Girl Be introduced me to this whole world of artists in the hip hop community that I never would have known had it not been for that event. Since then, and largely influenced by my experiences at B-Girl Be, I went on to begin performing as a spoken word artist, formed my own band, taught dance to youth in the school system, and started a monthly hip hop battle series. Intermedia has been a huge catalyst for my own journey as a creative person in the community, and I continue to work with them as part of the box office/event staff, and now have a position in the B-Girl Be organizing team. Being connected to Intermedia Arts keeps me connected to the pulse of what's happening in the local and national arts and activism culture.
“We all have the power to take our experience here and create something beautiful or provocative from it.”
- Autumn Compton
What is one of your favorite experiences with Intermedia Arts?
B-Girl Be 2007 was one of my favorite experiences with Intermedia Arts. It was the largest B-Girl Be yet, and I was in charge of taking care of all the out of town artists. There were over 50! I also performed as both a musician and a dancer as a part of the performing artists. I met so many amazing women from all over the world that were using arts as a means to participate and create change in their communitites, and I was able to rise to the occassion of resposibilities as an organizer and an artist. It was a turning point in my own life, and I was able to witness how powerful Intermedia Arts is as an organization.
How has art changed you?
I don't know how much art has changed me, because I feel like it has always been a part of who I am. I can say that I know that the arts, or creative action, is a means for me to process my experience here in this lifetime, and I am truly grateful and humbled that I have found that path for myself. I take in life, then put it back out in another form. That to me is the essence of creativity, and it lives in all of us. We all have the power to take our experience here and create something beautiful or provocative from it. It's one of the best parts about being a human!
What do you see as Intermedia Arts' role in the community?
Intermedia Arts offers so many different things to our community through it's theater space, gallery, and community programs, it truly is the pulse of what's happening with local and national arts in Minneapolis. Because of Intermedia's commitment to building understanding through the arts, Intermedia creates real change by supporting local artists to be able to do what they do, and at the same time educating and building bridges. It's such a beautiful marriage, and one I full-heartedly believe in.
Autumn Compton came onto the Twin Cities arts scene when she moved to Minneapolis in 2002. Whether it has been spoken word, dance performance, events organization, or rocking the mic Autumn brings a refreshing voice and creativity to everything that she does. She was a performing member of Kotou Dance company, and has been an artist in residence at several schools throughout Minnesota teaching West African and Hip Hop dance. With Minneapolis hip-hop pioneer TruthMaze, she co-founded the ‘Twin Cities Battle League’, an organization that throws monthly freestyle MC battles. Autumn is also a part of the organizing team for B Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop. Currently Autumn is spearheading a new band, TailFeather, and is in the process of recording her first album.