Inaugural Randy Martin Spirit Award Recipient Anne Basting Presents at 2017 Conference

By Imagining America | October 02, 2017

Anne Basting is the inaugural recipient of the Imagining America (IA) Randy Martin Spirit Award. The Randy Martin Spirit Award annually recognizes individuals who embody the unique combination of qualities that made Dr. Randy Martin, Professor of Art and Policy in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, such a beloved and valued member of IA and the many other communities of which he was a part, both inside and outside of higher education.

Award recipients are professionals working in partnership with higher education who consistently achieve excellence and demonstrate original thinking and approaches in at least three of the areas in which Randy Martin excelled: scholarship, artistry, pedagogy, mentorship, and institutional leadership and administration.

Basting is an administrator, a scholar, a teacher, and an artist. For almost two decades, she has been developing, researching, and assessing methods for embedding the arts into long term care, focusing with particular attention on people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive disabilities. Basting teaches playwriting, storytelling, and oversees the Certificate in arts and social entrepreneurship. She also runs the Student Artist in Residence program, in which students have a year-long placement in health settings and work with mentors to identify goals and design arts programming to achieve them. Over the past three years, she has overseen students receiving stipends or a year of room and board in aging care settings in exchange for arts programming.

“Anne is warm, she is kind, she is honest, critical, and a true artist and teacher,” said Kevin Bott, former Imagining America Assistant Director and the Dean of Civic Engagement at Wagner College. “She embodies this consortium by doing the work of imagining. In a world that forgets its own history and seems to be losing its own capacity to imagine hopeful, just futures, Anne’s work is an invitation to resist. It is an invitation to resist narratives of despair. It is an invitation to resist the idea that our future is dark, constrained, and hopeless. Hers is a pedagogy and an artistry of hope.”

In 1998, Basting founded the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project, which offers an elegant, simple, but radical rethinking of elder care by infusing creativity into care relationships and systems. TimeSlips certifies people who want to learn how to facilitate playful, imagination-based stories using words, gestures, and sounds. The TimeSlips approach is being used in care communities, museums, libraries, senior centers, and in people’s homes in 43 states and 14 countries, and has a thriving service-learning program for students across the U.S.

Basting has received numerous major grants, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and a Brookdale National Fellowship. In 2016, Basting was named a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2017 was named a Fellow with the Ashoka Foundation.

She has been presenting her work at IA since at least 2009, sharing the work that has become the cornerstone of her professional and creative life. As the inaugural recipient, Basting is sharing her scholarship at the IA national conference in Davis, California, on Friday, Oct. 13 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center Ballroom. In an interactive plenary session, Imagination and Radical Presence, a collaborative team will share both the story of what happens when people thought incapable of imagination take it up, and some tools for how to facilitate expression through words, sound, and movement. Over the past year, Basting worked with both the non-profit TimeSlips and UWM student artists to train and facilitate creative storytelling at 50 nursing homes across Wisconsin. UWM student artists worked with elders to choreograph and read the stories aloud.

The short performance features dancers Linda Bair, Diego Campos, Sarah Gould, and Amy Sutheimer, highlighting some of the stories and dances created by participating elders. UWM Art & Design faculty Jessica Meuninck-Ganger worked with her students to create print images inspired by the stories as well, on display in book form, and MFA Art & Design student Adam Wertle created karaoke-style animations. Basting opens the session with a brief overview of the training model and the infusion of storytelling service learning programs across Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the country.

After the session, IA will announce the 2017 recipient/s of the Randy Martin Spirit Award.