Beginning with the question What’s Your story?, The Mother of All Confessions is one of several works included in Project Space this year is. It is an open confessional booth for discussions that investigate issues surrounding art, maternity, and parenting. This piece will be presented on Wednesday 3/27 and Thursday 3/28 of the NCECA conference in Minneapolis. All are invited to share stories and contribute to an ongoing and developing conversation about maternity, parenting, and art.

Launched in 2014 after surveying, interviewing and documenting a cross section of artists who are also mothers, the website Both Artist and Mother examines how children, or the circumstances of their lives as they include them, changed and impacted the work these artists make and/or how they make it. Material gathered for the web based project Both Artist and Mother, particularly during interviews with artist/mothers, piqued the interests of project collaborators Kate Fisher and Erin Furimsky to delve deeper. The Both Artist and Mother site includes interviews, written and audio, with artist/mothers of all ages, accompanied by photos. Averaging 10,000 visitors annually, Fisher is overwhelmed by the outpouring of interest and the number of artist/mothers reaching out. Since founding the site, Fisher increasingly looks for ways to subversively and overtly discuss what it is to be an artist/mother. The bottom line is a desire to see the Both Artist and Mother project expand beyond a website, exhibitions, and interviews. What if it could also become a physical and interactive work of art?

This interactive artwork takes the form of a modular “confessional” booth. Participants will engage in dialogues about the stereotypes, popular beliefs/misconceptions, struggles, and the future of mothers and artist/mothers. Engaging conference participants in conversations about art and maternity is a meaningful way to expand artist/mother visibility. While this project originated from the maternal viewpoint, the project space will enable exploration on perspectives from: the artists’ child, adoptive mother’s, non-biological mothers, grandmothers, children caring for aging parents, future parents, etc. The confessional structure encourages two beings to occupy a shared space; much like the way maternity requires that women share their spaces, both internally and externally.

The sound booth will generate an audio recording of the participants as they act as confessor or confessee. This community dialogue will become an edited audio work that will be featured on the website Both Artist and Mother. The type of mom in the booth (Ex: Mom of young kids, grandma, mom who her child) will rotate and encourage connectivity and diversity in the conversations. Conference goers are encouraged to drop in and engage in conversations about being “both”.

Additionally, children are welcome to participate in the conversation too. On the exterior of the booth there will be a station for kids to visually explore the questions, “What does a mom do? What does and artist do?” With parental consent, the drawings generated by child participants will be catalogued and featured on the Both Artist and Mother site’s engagement page.

The hope of this project is to engage all generations in an exploration of this subject in an effort to promote a greater understanding of maternity and art.