Urban Garden Performing Arts

Mission Statement 

We produce fully integrated performance that is in, for, and with community,

from process that brings together artists of various disciplines,

resulting in work that brings together audience from various interests.

We cross-pollinate arts audiences.

We prioritize the audience experience.

We make work from a collaborative process based model.  Every Urban Garden project begins with a single piece of pre-existing material or body of work.  Other artists then examine that material and create work in dialogue with it through their own medium.  Finally the work culminates in an event which involves performance and visual display.  This may look like anything from an art gallery opening, to a concert in a music venue, to a play in a theatre.  In other words, we support interdisciplinary collaborations that result in an event with performance.

Tending the Garden:

PJ Maske – Artistic Director

PJ should not be surprised to find herself in the world of interdisciplinary performance making.  She grew up taking dance lessons, attending live theatre, and visiting art galleries with her watercolorist mother.  In high school her primary arts interest shifted to theatre and live performance.  She then went on to complete a BA in theatre and dance at James Madison University.  After attending a production by the UK’s Shared Experience Theatre Company she became acutely interested in studying movement in performance and began to link her dance upbringing to her theatre training.  A couple of years later she married musician/songster Bruce Benedict and subsequently added the final major arts influence into her life.  Pj went on to propose the Harrison Center for the Arts (Indpls, IN) 04-05 Performance Series as Urban Garden’s first project.  With a promise to produce collaborations between visual artists, musicians, actors and dancers who would then bring together their own audience followers, in an effort to cross-pollinate arts audiences, she received generous funding from the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission.  After producing six events with Urban Garden in Indianapolis between 2004 and 2007 Pj went on to study movement in performance at London’s prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama.  Whilst in the UK she received specific training to work as a Movement Director, and teach movement for actors, earned her MA in Movement Studies, produced two site-specific performance events with Urban Garden Performing Arts, movement directed two theatre productions at CSSD and co-choreographed and performed in dialogue with the art and architecture in Centre Pompidou, Paris’s premiere contemporary art museum.  After London Pj & Bruce lived in Raleigh, NC for 5 years where they produced upwards of 15 events, collaborated with over 20 artists, and returned to London and Indianapolis with their performance piece Death Becomes Her During this time UGPA also became a department of Artists For Community Transformation Int’l 501(c)3.  Pj has recently launched Urban Garden along the Michigan Lakeshore where she currently resides with Bruce and their two tiny-humans.  

Bruce Benedict Resident Songster

Bruce began life as a musical homestudy banging on his parents piano and learning to sing every vocal part at the side of his choir-director Father.  After the discovery of the wooden guitar he began to shape words and emotions into small snippets of songs – often a subtle balance of CSNY & Nick Drake.  Later on he studied the texts and styles of Ellis Paul, John Gorka, John Hiatt, and Jim Shelley.  His first album “Felix Culpe” was released under the notorious hometaper ‘Ain’t Records’ banner.  Eventually he moved to Indianapolis where he formed goth-folk super group “The Hymnasters” and discovered the nature of artist as community facilitator through a generous grant from the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission.  He currently works for Hope College in Holland, MI making music and supporting college students.  Recent projects include a collection of songs critiquing the american ideal of ‘Manifest Destiny’, (listen to a demo of ‘Nova Scotia‘ ) and research/writing on the Re-Tuned Hymn Movement.

 Paul Kilpatrick President of Solutions

Prior to his involvement with Urban Garden Paul has worked on theatrical productions here and in Europe as an actor, writer and in almost all the available production roles. Position titles he has worn include technical director, lighting designer, set designer, director, stage manager, and board op. Beyond that he has worked in gallery spaces, convention centers, churches, fields, and once a small cement gazebo.  He has supported the production of events ranging in size from intimate affairs all the way to behemoths attended by tens of thousands, events such as The Child’s Play Charity Auction (Seattle, WA), Penny Arcade Expo(Seattle,WA), and Jin Wua English Camp(China). Graphic Design and publication production round out his more practical skills with credits including instructional books on specific styles of japanese illustration and a satirical look at manga as well as programs, sales copy, grant publications, and various marketing elements for Random House, Antarctic Press, and Cardiphonia.  As a part of Urban Garden he fills the roles of participating artist, co-producer, and action adventure dilemma destroyer.

Luke Wallens – Director of London Projects

Luke is a Writer/Director who has trained at Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK specializing in the study of Advanced Collaborative and Devised Theatre Practice. He has worked as an assistant director for a production of Jon Webster’s ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ at the White Bear Theatre Pub in London, Alison Porter’s ‘Late Bus’  in Norwich, UK and Carlyle Brown’s ‘Pure Confidence’ at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. He has also gained experience working at the Society of Stage Director’s and Choreographers in New York City and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. His written work includes ‘Taste’ which premiered at Taylor Theatre in Colorado Springs, Colorado, ‘Save, Yourself’ at Cossitt Ampitheatre in Colorado Springs, Colorado and ‘Soundtext’ a devised work between a sound designer and a writer in West Block 1 at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He continues his collaborative and devised work of writing and directing with Urban Garden Performing Arts in London.