Hello again. We’re back! In episode 4 we are honored to speak with Durham-based performance artist and friend of the show, Stacey Kirby. Kirby just returned from ArtPrize Eight in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for her performative interactive work, The Bureau of Personal Belonging. (Over 1,400 artists participated in the festival!) The entire state of NC is bloated with pride!

In this episode we also invited local arts writer, Chris Vitiello, to say a few words about Kirby and to give us his take on some local and regional exhibitions that he thinks should be viewed by all. His recent article on Kirby in the INDY Week can be viewed here. Thanks Chris!

The Bureau of Personal Belonging is a site-specific installation that includes various ongoing performative interactions such as The Declaration ProjectVALIDnationThe Power of the Ballot and I Am. The works evolve with the physical and historical setting, political climate, and audience involvement at each location. This expansive iteration of the Bureau reached over 1000 participants in 18 days and consisted of five offices and an archives room occupying over 1000 sq. ft. in an office building in downtown Grand Rapids.  

Visitors become part of the works through active participation in a series of interactions with Kirby and other performers from the local LGBTQ community and her NC performance team in the designated areas of the Bureau of Personal Belonging: the Department of Declarations, the Civil Validation Department, the Board of Elections and the Facility Permit Office. Each is occupied by a performer in the role of a government official and evokes an office setting tailored to represent the governmental process it critically examines. Kirby implores us to trust in the validity of our own voices and our power to make an impact on the governing bodies that shape our communities.

The work culminates with participants' handwritten responses being processed and mailed to public officials. President Barack Obama, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, various North Carolina Legislators and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are among recipients of Kirby’s work.

3D interactive tour of every office in The Bureau of Personal Belonging

Upcoming Exhibition:
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA)

"Innovative Social Artist Stacey L. Kirby Brings Top Honors (and Two Hundred Grand) Back to Durham from ArtPrize 2016"
by Chris Vitiello
ArtPrize Announces the Winners of $500,000 at Eighth Annual Event
LGBTQ Nation
Office Installation Piece Examining LGBTQ Rights Is ArtPrize Top Winner
North Carolina Arts Council
Durham Artist Wins Eighth Annual ArtPrize Award

Above is the Durham-based Bureau staff preparing for performances in the Local Office of Declarations. Left to right: Civil Validation Officer Heather Gordon, Complaints Officer Warren Hicks, Local Officer of Declarations Stacey L. Kirby, Identity Officer Harriet Hoover and behind the camera is Documentation Officer Alex Maness.

Participants entered the Bureau of Personal Belonging in Grand Rapids, Michigan for ArtPrize 2016 and were greeted by the Identity Officer on duty. Photo by Alex Maness

Officer Ann Maines instructs participants on punch clock etiquette. Photo by artist.

Permit Facility Officer Emily Helmus is in position to issue restroom facility permits to participants. Photo by artist.

Civil Validation Officer Ellie Webster preparing for another busy day of validating participants in the VALIDnation project. Photo by artist.

Hundreds of Civil Validation Cards complete with participants responses waiting to be mailed to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Photo by artist.