An Artist Dinner with the Nomadique Cooperative

Nomadique is a collective of Brooklyn based artists “committed to facilitating cross cultural communication, self expression and empowerment.” The collective hosts a monthly dinner to bring artists together through exchange and discussion.

An Artist Dinner with the Nomadique Cooperative

Nomadique is a collective of Brooklyn based artists “committed to facilitating cross cultural communication, self expression and empowerment.” The collective hosts a monthly dinner to bring artists together through exchange and discussion.

On February 27, 2020 I was invited as a guest to a monthly artist dinner thrown by the Nomadique cooperative. Nomadique is a collective of Brooklyn based artists “committed to facilitating cross cultural communication, self expression and empowerment.” (1) The dinner took place in the cooperative’s home in Bedford Stuyvesant and has been running consistently every month since December 2012. At each artist dinner a creative is invited to present their work, whether through an introduction to their work or through a specific work in progress. They receive feedback from different artists with a variety of creative backgrounds over a home-cooked meal.

Our dinner was prepared by Justin J Wee, a self identifying queer photographer from Australia who is the community chef (1). Over a delicious meal of baharat spiced chicken, roasted green beans, and labne, the 10 or so of us sat down to eat and introduce ourselves. We shared our names and something we’ve learned from our grandparents.

"We were encouraged to ask questions, share our honest impressions, and be sensitive to our bodies..."

After our dinner the artist of the night (who had just recently moved into the home) passed out homemade herbal tea to begin her presentation. Marisa Hall is a herbalist, writer, and yoga teacher from Berkeley, California. She was inspired by her grandmother to create Augustine Herbals, through which she creates and sells her own blends to “soften the edges of healing.”

Through her interactive presentation, Marisa gave us a peek into how she came to herbalism. She described the ways that herbalism “let(s) the body do what it is best at.” Marisa had us try tinctures by squeezing droplets onto the backs of our hands to taste the mixture. We were encouraged to ask questions, share our honest impressions, and be sensitive to our bodies and how they reacted to the mixtures. She described multiple blends that contained motherwort, chickweed, tulsi, and mugwort. Marisa described how each brings their own ways of healing through creativity, clarity, and anxiety relief.

"Marisa’s presentation gave me new ways to honor and tend to my body, stirring me to reimagine modes of self care."

Before the dinner, I had never heard of herbalism. As a dancer I am very serious about finding holistic ways to take care of my body. I try to be conscious of how my body reacts to stress and build practices that help me perform at my best. Marisa‘s presentation encouraged me to listen to my body. There were a couple mixtures that I was drawn to because they help with clarity and stress relief and their tastes were soothing and nostalgic. There were also some mixtures the were bitter and piercing that I didn’t enjoy as much. It was comforting to hear Marisa explain that not everyone reacts to her mixtures in the same ways. She said it was okay if mixtures felt unpleasant, that we should honor those reactions. It made me think of the ways that people take care of their bodies. That some processes of healing work for some and not for others. To build these practices of healing you have to be receptive and sensitive to your body. Marisa’s presentation gave me new ways to honor and tend to my body, stirring me to reimagine modes of self care.

"I would be eager to participate in communities that show their interest by posing questions, giving honest feedback, and providing the space to articulate discoveries within art."

I was invited to the dinner by Jonathan Seale, a composer who created the entire soundtrack for the Project Home film “Home.” Jon was born in Texas and grew up in South America. He co-founded Nomadique and also founded Mason Jar Music, a visual/audio production company (1). At the dinner I also met Sasha Arutyunova, who co-founded the Nomadique cooperative with Jon. Sasha is a Brooklyn based photographer, she was born in Moscow and grew up in Florida (1).

After he showed me around the home, Jon explained how the cooperative came together. He said that in moving to New York he found that many artists experience loneliness. He said that New York is made up of many people who have left their hometowns guided by a hunger and drive to pursue their careers. He explained that the talent and ferocity of the city can be shocking for some who move there. He wanted to be a part of a community in New York, so he created one, curating an apartment whose residents inherently belong to a respectful and artistically curious community.

I believe gatherings like Nomadique’s artist dinner are important for members of the dance community to experience. As a dancer, I rarely explore multidisciplinary art environments where dance isn’t the central focus. I was excited at this opportunity to explore outside of my usual artistic territory and exchange thoughts with artists of different backgrounds within a topic I previously knew nothing about. Although I’m sure more environments like these exist, I would love to engage in more gatherings where perfection and polished work isn’t the main focus. I would be eager to participate in communities that show their interest by posing questions, giving honest feedback, and providing the space to articulate discoveries within art. It’s important to share and discuss our processes not just witness the final product. The artist dinner from the Nomadique Cooperative can serve as a thoughtful format for artist community gatherings to share creative processes guided by transparency and curiosity.

1 Nomadique Website

2 Nomadique Instagram

3 Marisa Hall, Nomadique Artist Dinner, February 27, 2020

All photos taken by Sasha Arutyunova

Back to stories