A performing arts laboratory
in saxapahaw, North Carolina
Our mission is to foster a creative ecosystem based in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, through the cross-pollination of artist residencies, educational outreach and groundbreaking immersive artworks from local, national and international artists.
We believe that culture is an investment in civil society, and such an investment benefits from the existence of open, dynamic and fluid enclaves fostered by artists and other creative people. We believe that gathering together and sharing knowledge and resources within these enclaves will improve both our artworks and our communities. We believe in the commingling of different ideas, energies and initiatives as a means of sparking innovation and radical possibilities in art and society. We believe in culture as an ongoing creative process, and we seek to support and feed that process through our various programs and initiatives. Culture Mill values a circular exchange of resources, ideas, energy and social and creative capital within a community, rather than linear transactions. As it draws multiple energies in and spirals new ones out, Culture Mill is distinctly and necessarily grounded in a place: Saxapahaw, NC.
Culture Mill develops and produces original works of art or artistic exchanges. These works may be on the stage, site-specific, immersive, or somewhere in-between. Culture Mill's original works may involve any artistic discipline, but are ultimately time-based, crafted experiences.
Culture Mill is an artist-driven organization, which means the people who design its programs and direct it are working professional artists. A loose network of local, national and international artists make up the greater Culture Mill community, participating in its programs through any combination of artistic projects, outreach activities or residencies.
We also believe in the right of artists to receive fair compensation for artistic labor. Culture Mill is the fist organization in the southeast to obtain W.A.G.E. certification, and pays fees to artists for all its programs and projects according to W.A.G.E.'s minimum fee scale.
The Culture Mill Lab
The Culture Mill Lab is a space which supports the realization of our programs and projects. It is a rehearsal and performance space for artworks that will take place in Saxapahaw or elsewhere. It is a place for artists to gather in order to exchange practices, ideas and strategies, and for students to take part in Culture Mill’s educational programming. The Lab is also our office space. All of these events together help to build creative community in Saxapahaw, and to provide a space for the support and development of the arts.
Education and Community
Our Education and community involvement is a central part of Culture Mill's mission to create an active and vibrant exchange between artists and the region in and around Saxapahaw, North Carolina. We do this through our education program, through facilitating artist gatherings, and through outreach with non-arts sectors.
Our education program focuses on innovation, collaborative process and interdisciplinary creativity. Our program hones and develops such essential skills through multidisciplinary, project-based arts, with a specific emphasis on embodied arts.
We believe that an effective form of arts education is providing students contact with working professional artists, who openly share their own current knowledge, questions and processes. For this reason, our education program is always linked to our current projects, involving our artists in residence. We work on a regular basis with Hawbridge Public Charter School and B Everett Jordan Elementary School in Saxapahaw, and have secured funding from Alamance Arts Council and the Kenan Charitable Trust to continue our program of workshops in local public and charter schools.
Open retreats are free gatherings hosted by Culture Mill in Saxapahaw, NC, wherein artists are invited to share their knowledge and practice. Open retreats exist to foster spaces in which creative members of the community may assemble in order to freely exchange -- it is a time in which new ideas, relationships and possibilities may bubble to the surface. A Culture Mill open retreat is a careful balance between structured and unstructured time. For information on past and upcoming retreats, please refer to the CALENDAR section of our website.
Community & Outreach
Culture Mill collaborates in organizing social events with an arts focus, in and around Saxapahaw as a way to enrich our local and larger communities. The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation recently awarded us a grant to produce the project: "Articulating Value in The Arts" - a series of conferences and a publication around how artists define the value of their artwork and their labor. We also believe in sharing our resources, such as the Culture Mill Lab, which we make available to our greater community through our Open Space Policy. For upcoming community events, please visit the CALENDAR section of our website.