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Dear friends,

Since September 2018 Mountain House has been cultivating a series of programs and projects called Sutured Shelter: Defiant Connection in Times Defined by Separation , bringing together cultural workers of a variety of disciplines to collectively concentrate on the meaning and power of social connection in this historical moment. We locate this work within a present both defined by separation and inextricably linked to a history of the use of severed social connections as forms of political and cultural violence. We are eager to respond to this moment of acute harm and ongoing cycles of generational trauma to create a body of cultural material that generates experimental, accessible, and inspired modes of action and reflection.

We are happy to share that Mountain House will be taking up residency on the UC Irvine campus, within the Claire Trevor School of the Arts  through Winter and Spring Quarters of 2019 to open this conversation to our student and faculty communities. Students and faculty will be invited to contribute projects to a collaborative process beginning in January and extending through June of 2019. Projects will then be included in an exhibition to take place during Spring quarter thesis exhibitions on UCI's campus as well as a publication to be released Summer 2019. 

Through this process we will endeavor to answer the questions:

Action: How can connection be positioned as a bold form of resistance? What forms and expressions of self-governance must be invented to safeguard and repair communities, and dismantle harmful social systems that produce severed social connection? What are the potentials for the relationships and outcomes of cultural work to create critical, responsive community systems?

Reflection: Likewise, what are the possible limitations of cultural production within radical politics, and how do we connect our labor as cultural producers to other types of workers to create a deeper network of support and more rigorous political analysis? How can we reveal the empowered vulnerability that lies in the space of relationship, the tenderness of connection to one another, the very love that may catalyze social transformation?

The Exhibition: Our work will come together through the form of a public exhibition during the 2019 Thesis Exhibition. Kristy Lovich, co-organizer with Mountain House and graduate student in the Art Department will take up the responsibility of coordinating the presentation of contributor projects throughout the duration of the exhibition. As one part of this she will design and construct the physical layout of the space including a large-scale installation that works to provide an armature upon and through which projects encounter one another and new audiences. The specific form of the structure will be shaped by the significant sites, perspectives, and unique voices embedded in contributor projects, working together through objects, audio/video, and architecture to spatialize a geography and genealogy of our collaboration and the underlying models of cultural engagement that Mountain House is forming.  

Included in the exhibition: Mountain House seeks to bring into close proximity the interrelated need for material sustenance and cultural-intellectual engagement through programs that emphasize a connection between Knowledge Building and Access to Care.  This public presentation will in part serve as a platform for students/artists to address this urgent moment through their projects as well as a site to meet the immediate needs of contributors and participants through the installation of the Mountain House (free) Community Thrift & Food Pantry and Reading Room throughout the duration of the exhibition. 

Dearest community, we need your help to bring this project to life. As you well know, resources for students and artists alike are stretched thin, especially for those whose work is aimed at producing culture which does not operate within a system of profit or monetary exchange value and evermore for those cultural workers that are also members of historically vulnerable communities.  We humbly ask for an expression of your support for this work in the form of a monetary contribution of any amount, great or small. Please visit our fundraising page to support this work: Mountain House: The Sutured Shelter

What will your contribution be supporting?

△ Production of a public exhibition at University of California, Irvine in the Spring of 2019. This includes building supplies, technology, print media, and small stipends for contributing artists to account for materials and labor. 

△ Production of a publication documenting this work and accompanying book release event.

△ Necessary equipment and supplies to strengthen the Mountain House (free) Community Thrift & Food Pantry and Knowledge Building programs. 

△ Contributing artists: Sarah Ashkin &  Paolo Speirn; Sarah Eggers: Babsi Loisch; Ethan McGinnes; Corrie Siegel; Holli Teltoe ; & Additional student artists/cultural workers to be announced. 

△ The Long-Term Growth of Mountain House:  This iteration of our work is laying the foundation for a long-term commitment to positioning cultural work as a strategy for community building, healing, and socio-political empowerment that centers the needs of our most vulnerable communities.  Our long-term vision for Mountain House includes a dynamic clinical program offering support services, housing resources, and regular opportunities for social and cultural engagement.  

We thank you in advance for your generosity in contributing to the realization of this project and look forward to connecting with you through this work. 

All our best to you,
The Mountain House Steering Council