The importance of diverse voices in XP: Q&A with arts exec Ana De Archuleta

Ana De Archuleta

Ana De Archuleta is director of artistic operations at National Sawdust, a nonprofit performing arts organization and music venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn founded in 2015. She’s built a career as a strategic and dynamic leader in the performing arts who is committed to the arts community as a whole and the diverse individuals within it.

Years in the biz: 28+
First job in XP: Haunted house in high school, 1990
Currently working on: Sensorial 21c Liederabend, “an expansive re-imagining of the traditional art song recital”
Where others can find you: Instagram, National Sawdust

Q: Why do experiences matter generally? Why do they matter to you?
The best gift you can give is a memory. Experiences, especially multi-sensory ones, will craft our memories. The more immersed we are in the performance or event, the better record of it our entire self will have for years.

When I look back at my years in arts, there are some performances that turned out to be life altering. As a producer, creating those impactful moments for people is what drives me. These experiences are not exclusive to audiences, they also impact creators.

It’s easy to surround ourselves with people that think and create the same way we do, but the beauty of communication technology is the world has become smaller and it’s become easier to team with people from all cultural backgrounds.

Q: Share some wisdom: What’s the best advice you’ve received, or biggest lesson you’ve learned, when it comes to working with creative teams and overcoming obstacles?
Building a great team is essential for success; we must seek complementary skills and mindsets. It’s easy to surround ourselves with people that think and create the same way we do, but the beauty of communication technology is the world has become smaller and it’s become easier to team with people from all cultural backgrounds.

Like a well-balanced brain — analytical as well as creative — our creative teams need to bring diverse thinking, and pull from their own XP to build an all-encompassing experience.

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Q: Where do you look for inspiration when approaching a new project?
I really enjoy the exploration of ideas with a team, followed by creating a plan and executing it. The discovery in artistic curation requires an open mind, vulnerability and childlike curiosity, and this ideally drives the project creation. That said, my biggest inspiration is people, and their stories.

Q: What qualities define the perfect experience?
The ideal XP needs to feed our senses and be curated in a way that impacts us. At National Sawdust, we are looking at the future of XP; our intimate space lends itself to challenging the creative minds of our artists and audiences. We are in the business of building connections, experimentation and breaking barriers with our ever-evolving multicultural programming.

Q: What one word would you use to describe your outlook on your own work these days?
Interconnectivity.

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