Founded in 2014, Propelled Animals is a group of artists, dancers, scholars, musicians and designers who embed innovative and provocative art in unconventional spaces. They are committed to creating work that interrogates, challenges and ultimately attempts to dismantle the systemic “isms” of oppression. They adapt their projects and processes to address the specific needs of the communities they engage. Their performances encourage efficacy of the body, resilience and radical tenderness as strategies for self-empowerment. Their work is centered on art as social action and ritual as performance. They are Raquel Monroe (Austin, performance artist/dance scholar/dramaturg), Esther Baker-Tarpaga (Philadelphia, choreographer/performance artist), Barber (Chicago, painter/performance/sound), Heidi Wiren Bartlett (Pittsburgh, performance artist/designer) and Courtney D. Jones (Boca Raton, trumpet, sound design).
The Propelled Animals have presented work nationally including site-specific performances at: University of Iowa and Englert Theatre (Iowa City, Iowa); University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa); Wassaic Project (Wassaic, New York); Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); Pivot Arts Festival (Chicago, Illinois); Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). In 2019, they were recipients of a MAP Fund grant for their project TRANSMISSION and a Frank-Ratchye Fund for Arts @ the Frontier grant through the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2020, they postponed the project due to COVID-19. In 2021, TRANSMISSION became SWITCH SIGNAL and morphed from a live stage performance to a performance film that premiered in September 2021 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. They’ve received generous support from the following: National Performance Network (NPN), USArtists International, MAP Fund, Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of the Arts Midwest & Crane Group and The Puffin Foundation. Headlong Studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is their fiscal receiver, and from 2020-2022 they were International LabX-change artists-in-residence at High Concept Labs (Chicago, Illinois).