Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is thrilled to be partnering with The Cedar Tree Project, curated by Keoxa/Winona, MN based dance/interdisciplinary artist Sharon Mansur in presenting 1001 Arab Futures. 1001 Arab Futures is an intimate outdoor site-specific solo dance performance and visual installation contemplating imaginative visions, past reckonings, embodied truths and other future potentials from the SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African)/Arab diaspora.

Created/Directed by:
Yara Boustany, Lebanese dance artist (Beirut, Lebanon)
Mette Loulou von Kohl, Lebanese/Palestinian/Danish American dance artist (New York City)
Andrea Shaker, Lebanese American visual artist (Minneapolis)
Concept/Creative Contributions/Performance by: Sharon Mansur
Lebanese American dance/interdisciplinary artist (Keoxa/Winona, MN)
Sound by: woolen lover (Fountain City, WI)
Costume by: Angie Vo (Minneapolis)

1001 Arab Futures’ premiere will be shared as three events in June 2021:
1/ Live Performance: June 10-12, 2021 @ 7pm (rain date June 13):
A live in person solo dance performance event for a limited audience outdoors at MCA’s home at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. Howard/10th Street (and Vila), Keoxa/Winona, MN, Dakota land.
2/ Online Performance Viewing & Watch Party: June 17-19, 2021 
with Watch Party and Artist Discussion/Q&A option Saturday, June 19 @2pm CST

A special online viewing of the 1001 Arab Futures live performance recording, which will include an option to also join a Watch Party followed by an Artist Discussion/Q&A with Arab Futures artists, Saturday, June 19 @2pm CST. Moderated by Syrian/Palestinian performing artist Leyya Mona Tawil, supported by Art of the Rural.
3/Visual Installation by Andrea Shaker: June 1-28, 2021
Minneapolis based Lebanese American visual artist and 1001 Arab Futures co-director Andrea Shaker will transform MCA’s indoor Galleria Valéncia space for audience viewings during MCA’s office hours in June.

COVID-safety guidelines will be followed: Masks and social distancing will be required of all audience members. Please wear comfortable shoes for walking in grass. Bringing your own lawn chair or blanket is also recommended. Indoor restrooms will be available on site. For more information about COVID safety guidelines please explore the Q & A section below.

If you have an audience accommodation request please contact us at cedartreeproject@gmail.com.

Ticket Information

Live Dance Performance Tickets: $15
Space is limited, advance ticket purchase required:
Purchase Tickets Now!

Virtual Dance Performance Viewing Tickets: Sliding scale $10-25

Purchase Tickets Now!

Visual Installation: Free, no tickets required
Exhibit open during Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts office hours

Live Event COVID Guideline Q & A

Q. Do I need to wear a mask during 1001 Arab Futures performances and exhibit?

A. Yes, we want to provide the safest space for all patrons, performers, and staff. Masks or face covings which fully cover the nose and mouth will help us provide this safe environment.

Q. If the CDC says I don’t need to wear a mask why should I here?

A. We want to provide the safest space for all patrons, performers, and staff. We have no way of knowing who is and isn’t vaccinated. We appreciate your cooperation in wearing a mask in all spaces.

Q. Are there any exceptions to masking requirements?

A. The only exception is that dance artist Sharon Mansur will be maskless during the live performance, but will be socially distanced from the audience at all times. For patrons who are unable to wear a mask we invite you to participate in the virtual performance.

Q. What other COVID precautions is the 1001 Arab Futures following?

A. As a partner of Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts(MCA) the 1001 Arab Futures project team is following the MCA COVID Code of Conduct as it relates to the project. Precautions include masking, social distancing, limiting numbers of audience members or exhibit viewers, and sanitizing.

Project Background

In 2019 Mansur invited three SWANA/Arab/Arab American artists, who share Lebanese heritage in
common with her as an intersection point to embark on a creative process together. Inspired, in
part, by Arab Futurism, a cultural movement imagining the future of the SWANA/Arab world, this
project evolved over multiple geographic distances primarily through online exchanges. The
project’s title is also a nod to the 1001 Arabian Nights, classic fantastical folk tales from the Arab
diaspora, often referenced as a precursor to Arab science fiction. Commissioned by The Cowles
Center as part of their McKnight SOLO Commissioning Program, funded by the McKnight Foundation,
and additionally supported by a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership grant,
and Art of the Rural, this project has been in development since 2019. Its content and public
sharings reflect the responsive adaptations and lived experiences during this COVID era.

THE CEDAR TREE PROJECT explores art, cultural heritage, perceptions, and identity through the
lens of Southwest Asian & North African (SWANA) and SWANA American artists. CTP amplifies art
from the SWANA diaspora and invites people to develop deeper understanding and empathy through
artistic exchange. Curated by Keoxa/Winona, MN based dance and interdisciplinary artist Sharon
Mansur, events include dance performances, dance films, visual art installations and exhibitions, as well as workshops, community meals, panel discussions, lecture/demonstrations, artist talks and
other gatherings with Mansur and guest artists. www.cedartreeproject.com

Artist Biographies

Yara Boustany (she/her) is a Beirut-based dance /theater performer and choreographer. After
graduating in Audiovisual, she continued her studies in Dance and Circus in Spain and is currently
doing her Masters in Choreography at Codarts University in Rotterdam. She is the founder of
Amalgam Studio, a dance and theater space in Beirut, Lebanon. Her interdisciplinary work is a
poetic approach to the dilemmas of the human being in a rapidly changing society – technologically,
scientifically and philosophically. She uses imagination and improvisation as tools to unravel the
hidden layers of existence. She has toured with her shows notably in Lebanon and Beirut, and also
in Stuttgart, Ankara, Warsaw, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Chalon sur Saône and Athens. She is
preparing to tour her new piece “Noctilūca” in 2021, supported by AFAC (Arab Fund for Culture).

Sharon Mansur (she/her) is a dance and interdisciplinary experimental artist, educator, curator,
and community mover and shaker of Lebanese and Italian heritage based in Keoxa/Winona, Mni
Sota Makoce/MN, Dakota land. Her creative practices weave movement making, improvisation,
visual environments, food, screendance, audience participation and site-situated/responsive art to
offer multi-sensory and immersive experiences rooted in culture, sensorial embodiments,
identity(ies), imagination and environment. She loves creating artistic opportunities for people
from all walks of life to connect and engage. Sharon was a 2019-20 National Arts Strategies
Creative Community Fellow, and is currently the director of The Cedar Tree Project, presenting and
amplifying regional, national and international creative voices from the SWANA/Arab diaspora.

Andrea Shaker (she/her) grew up in a small town in Connecticut on Quiripi lands. After earning her
BA from Georgetown University and MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, she
moved to Dakota and Annishaabe lands, where she is a professor of art at the College of St.
Benedict | St. John’s University. Andrea’s creative work is interdisciplinary, spanning photography,
moving image, experimental film, and written and spoken word. As an Arab American, she explores
the spaces between home & homeland and migration & diaspora. Through image and word, her
work addresses how these spaces, and the movement of the body within these spaces, are
imagined and experienced through the physiology of intergenerational memory. andreashaker.com

Mette Loulou von Kohl (she/her) was born from the orange at the center before the new world
came. She is a wanderer, performer and cultural worker. Currently living on un-ceded Lenape
territory, now colonized as New York City. Mette Loulou is a queer femme, of Lebanese/
Palestinian and Danish ancestry. She has lived in New York, Romania, Morocco, Denmark and
England. Mette Loulou is fascinated by the intersection between her personal identities as a
jumping off point to reveal, dismantle and rebuild realities and dreams. She grapples with her past
to complicate and better understand her present. Mette Loulou weaves movement and words into
the exploration of her embodied histories. She exists in two places at once.

woolen lover (they/them) is a queer witch mxther sound & movement artist living on the
mississippi river. in 2016 they began developing their live-looping performances & have since
recorded three albums. they have danced in pieces by Fischer Dance Company, Lisa Kusanagi, Erin
Drummond, and Erinn Liebhard, & in 2020 created “the rituals we are searching for,” their first solo
sound & movement film. creating sound for 1001 Arab Futures combines their loves of
interdisciplinary collaborations, inclusive & diverse movements, & site specific pieces. woolen
lover strives to host & hold space that is braver, queerer, more inclusive, antiracist, honest,
playful, & connected to the Earth. patreon.com/woolenlover, woolenlover.bandcamp.com

Project Support

1001 Arab Futures was commissioned by The Cowles Center as part of their McKnight SOLO
Commissioning Program, funded by the McKnight Foundation. It was commissioned on behalf of
Sharon Mansur, 2018 McKnight Dancer Fellow. Sharon Mansur, in partnership with the Minnesota
Conservatory for the Arts, is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of a Cultural Community Partnership grant
from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota
through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the
Minnesota State Legislature; and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional
support for this project is being provided by Art of the Rural.

Event Poster


Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts
1164 West Howard (10th) Street
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-453-5500
Fax: 507-453-5507

E-Mail: mca@smumn.edu

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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