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$5,125 raised of $5,000 goal
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Funded on December 16, 2019
    • 102% contributed

For over a year and in different iterations, I have been collaborating with dance artists Solomon Bowser, Dedrick "D. Banks" Gray, Damon Green, and Orlando DeLeon to develop aMoratorium, a response and tribute to visual artist Charles Wilbert White. With a primary focus on Black male identity, visibility, temporality, and its absence, the piece also examines death as it relates to the Black church and Black spiritual traditions. aMoratorium is important to me because I have been ruminating on the fact I have been doing creative work in Chicago for nearly twenty years. I want to celebrate this by continue doing something I love and making a tribute to a Chicago artist whose work resonates with me on many levels. In January 2020, I am presenting the first evening-length version of aMoratorium as part of the LookOut Series at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. This will be a 50-minute performance featuring Dedrick "D. Banks" Gray, Solomon Bowser, and live DJing by Jared Brown. We are currently in our final phases of development and preparation for this new rendition. With this campaign, I am raising funds for production costs, including stagecraft and design elements, which will enable me to fully realize my vision for the public presentation of the work. Additionally, contributed funds will cover collaborator fees, an essential element to honor the talent and labor of the artists associated with this production. With your support, aMoratorium like White’s work will uphold the legacy of honoring the life of Black and Brown people.

About This Project

Last summer I was commissioned by The Art Institute of Chicago to make a performance for their 125th Anniversary Block Party event. The Charles Wilbert White Retrospective opened then as well. When considering what I would choreograph for the event, I ended up deciding to respond to the retrospective. As I was musing over and studying White’s drawings and paintings, I was captivated by how I saw remnants of my family history in his work: my grandparents’ and parents’ stories of struggle, resilience, and joy growing up in Southern Georgia. It made me think about what I am contending in this current day, the societal concerns around Blackness, and my desire to be in spaces/company/studio with other Black men.

The development of aMoratorium has pushed me in new creative directions, not only with choreographic strategies but stage design. I am currently researching and drawing upon texts about trees (by Danez Smith, Jericho Brown, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Shikeith) to uncover new embodied meanings about visibility and temporality. I chose trees because they are a loaded metaphor to unpack, particularly with regard to the history and physicality of lynching. The question is why they let them hang us? By digging into these works about trees, I foresee much of aMoratorium having a poetic modal tone with a succession of moments that result in no apparent ending to comment on death and Black spiritual traditions.

As the production phrase quickly follows, the stagecraft and design elements that I envision for aMoratorium include a tree, amulets/objects hanging from it, and video projection. I enlisted Jacob Snodgrass to assist with production elements, Khortni Nicole for the video projection, and some of the amulets/objects I hope the audience can bring to the performance and hang them on the tree as part of the performance. With your support, we can bring in the New Year with a beautiful performance and new beginnings.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Thank you on social media ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + "aMoratorium" print created by Rebecca Peterson-Hall ($30.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    Above + digital copy of the live music mix by collaborator Jared Brown ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + two (2) tickets for the premiere of "aMoratorium" ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $200
    Above + a window into our dancemaking process: two writings, annotated compositional score, and playlist ($80.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $300
    Above + an exclusive 'meet & greet'/New Year's Champagne toast with J’Sun and collaborators ($130.00 is tax deductible.)

J'Sun Howard

RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker. He holds an MFA in Dance and a certificate in World Performance Studies from the University of Michigan. He is a 2020 3Arts Awardee, a recipient of the inaugural Esteemed Artist Award from the …

View J'Sun Howard's profile
  • Update 1: aMoratorium Named A Top Moment In Dance By Dance Magazine!
    Posted on November 18, 2019


    In August, Dedrick Gray performed his solo for aMoratorium in "EXPLODE," a queer dance festival curated by Clare Croft and 2018 3Arts Awardee Anna Martine Whitehead. Thank you to Clare and Martine for having aMoratorium in the festival. And thank you Dance Magazine for the recognition!

    "In J'Sun Howard's heart-catching solo work, aMoratorium, dancer Dedrick Gray's courage and vulnerability infused every shake, pounce, and stagger."

    Dance Made Edgy Again, magazine spread

    Update 2: aMoratorium Received Support for the Illinois Arts Council!
    Posted on December 02, 2019


    Thank you to the Illinois Arts Coucnil Agency for supporting aMoratorium!

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • AMI Ocampo

    • Ginger Farley

    • Emily Navarra

    • Thomas DeFrantz

    • Aurora Tabar

    • Carole McCurdy

    • Cynthia Bond

    • Abra Johnson

    • Rose Parisi

    • Khadijah Kysia

    • Alicia McGhee

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Angela Gronroos

    • Mitsu Salmon

    • Angela Howard

    • Michael Howard

    • Marceia Scruggs

    • Jon Satrom

    • Meida McNeal

    • Victoria Bradford

    • erin kilmurray

    • Maggie Kast

    • Evelyn Brown

    • Jan Bartoszek

    • Anonymous Supporter


    • Emma Draves

    • Bonnie Brooks

    • Vershawn Sanders-Ward

    • Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li

    • Alyssa Gregory

    • Jennifer R. Harge

    • Jennifer Karmin

    • Selene Carter

    • Amy Chavasse

    • Norman Long

    • Anna Martine Whitehead

    • Nora Sharp

    • Melissa Mallinson

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council