The online home of the music, art, and community of National Sawdust.
Click below to learn more about the Digital Discovery Festival, a program by National Sawdust designed to help artists and audiences during COVID-19 through music and community.
Join us for the New Works Composer Sessions hosted by Composer, Artistic Director, and Co-Founder of National Sawdust Paola Prestini. Designed for composers and musicians, these sessions provide insights and tools for developing the evolving entrepreneurial skills and new ways of thinking that are needed in these unprecedented times. The program is free for all to attend on this website or on our Facebook page.
Performances are free, but we would love to keep in touch. We will provide artist lineups, updates on scheduling, and resources to accompany the performances. We will NOT share your information with anyone else.
This past week has been yet another wake-up call for the country we call home, which witnessed another horrible act of inhumanity and the kind of racism that gives rise to that cruelty.
To acknowledge the senseless deaths, caused by unjustified violence, of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people, we are pausing our Digital Discovery Festival this week. The artists whose work we planned to share with you will stream the week of August 17th to end our festival.
For now, we’d like to leave you with Daniel Bernard Roumain’s A Declaration & Affirmation of Love for Black People and Helga Davis and FLEX'N’s Hold Me – the piece's one lyric "When you hold me like this I can't breathe," says everything.
Stay safe, in solidarity,
National Sawdust team
We, as a dedicated group of artists, arts organizations, and places of education and learning, declare without reservation or restraint, that the presumed innocence of Black people—and specifically Black men and boys—in recurring encounters with errant law enforcement officers, has disproportionately led to a presumed guilt and summary, inhumane responses centered on fear, detainment, arrest, removal, or a growing, repetitive practice of unlawful and unnecessary deaths.
We acknowledge America’s historical propensity towards harm, injustice, and exclusion. We also witness America’s extraordinary capacity to heal, be just, include and embrace. We know that law enforcement is tasked with the difficult work of policing our communities as they uphold the law and their solemn oath to protect and serve. And we are aware and reminded of the distance and divides we face between our politics, as well as the constant struggle we face in finding agreement on what we most value.
However, as artists, educators, and learners, we are clear and committed to the sanctity of life, the promise of liberty, and the most fundamental and absolute right to personal safety regardless of race and gender.
Therefore, we proudly and boldly affirm our commitment to Black people as a vital part of our American identity and families, and implore all of us to see in them your father, mother, brother, sister, and your child—all living within one spirit of one nation engaged in a shared, everlasting pursuit of happiness and love.
Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain, May 28, 2020
When you hold me like this I can't breathe
Written and performed by Helga Davis with:
Marc Cary, piano
The D.R.E.A.M. Ring
Taken from the piece "REQUIEM FOR: A TUESDAY", performed at National Sawdust on our second season's opening night in October 2016.
Conceived by Davóne Tines
Created by Helga Davis and Davóne Tines
Music composed by Helga Davis, Shara Nova, and Caroline Shaw
Choreography by Reggie “Regg-Roc” Gray