Questions about artmaking and motherhood

Questions from Hope Mohr for Laura Elaine Ellis and Julia Adam in preparation for a Pre-Show Panel for S.E.A.M. (Support and Elevate Artist Mothers), Saturday September 30 at Dance Mission Theater.

How old are your children?

How long had you been making dances when you had children?

Interruption is part of parenting. Deep focus is important for creative flow.

As an artist parent, what strategies have you developed to deal with interruption?

How do you manage your time to safeguard the kind of attention that artmaking requires?

Has your personal or choreographic relationship to fragmentation changed since having kids?  

“The fragment is the whole” –Brenda Hillman

How do you make time for your art? (e.g., Do you use grant money to pay for childcare? Rely on a partner or family member? Work when kids are asleep?)

Did parenthood change the rhythm of your art practice? You could think about this question in terms of logistics or in terms of how you work in the studio.

Some artists aim to blur the line between art and life; other artists need to keep daily life out of the studio.

How has parenting challenged your ability or desire to quarantine parts of your life/self from other parts of your life/self?  

Has parenting affected the divide between your public/private self?

How have the emotional highs and lows of parenting affected your art?

How does context impact how you present your artist parent identity?

Have you experienced bias against you as an artist parent?

Do you ever feel the need to avoid talking about your kids in professional situations?

Is there something inherently queer about pregnancy itself, insofar as it profoundly alters one’s “normal” state, and occasions a radical intimacy with—and radical alienation from—one’s body? How can an experience so profoundly strange and wild and transformative also symbolize or enact the ultimate conformity? -Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

Is there anything else you’d like to share about how has motherhood affected you and your work?


Come see the panel and the performances of S.E.A.M. (Support and Elevate Artist Mothers), a new collective making featuring the work of Tanya Bello, Kristen Daley, Amy Foley and Yayoi Kambara.  Fri-Sat, Sep 29-30, 8p & Sun, Oct 1, 7p, at Dance Mission Theater.