Common Ground#793

The Camargo Foundation

Featuring Julie Chénot, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Cassandra Medley, Jenny Polak, and Amanda Millet-Sorsa, with Samira Negrouche


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Camargo Foundation Executive Director Julie Chénot and Camargo Foundation past and present residents author Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, playwright Cassandra Medley, and artist Jenny Polak join Rail contributor Amanda Millet-Sorsa for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Samira Negrouche.

In this talk

More on the Camargo Foundation →

Julie Chénot

Photo of Julie Chénot
Julie Chénot joined the Camargo Foundation in January 2014 initially as Program Director. Following the separation of the Jerome and Camargo Foundations, in September 2017 she was appointed Executive Director of the Camargo Foundation. From 2007 to 2013, Julie Chénot worked on the organization of Marseille Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture. Ms. Chénot was a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the Center for Folk Life and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution. She holds a Masters’ in Business Administration with a specialization in public administration and city economy from the ESSEC Business School in Paris.

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Photo of Alex Marzano-Lesnevich
Photo by Greta Rybus
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, which received a Lambda Literary Award and the Chautauqua Prize, among many other recognitions, and is in development with HBO. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Bread Loaf Writers Conference, among others, Marzano-Lesnevich is now a 2023 United States Artists fellow. They have written for publications including The New York Times, Harper’s, and The Best American Essays. In July 2023, they will become an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Their next book, BOTH AND NEITHER, is forthcoming from Doubleday (US), Phoenix (UK), and Sonatine (France).

Cassandra Medley

Photo of Cassandra Medley
Cassandra Medley is a playwright and teacher. Her recently produced plays include American Slavery Project (NYC) and Cell (Molelo Theater, CA, and Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon 2011, NYC), among others. Ms. Medley has the received the 2004 “Going to the River Writers” Life Achievement Award, the 2002 Ensemble Studio Theatre 25th Anniversary Award for Theatre Excellence, and many other awards. She teaches playwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, has taught at New York University, and has also served as guest artist at Columbia University, the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop and Seattle University. She is a playwright member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, New River Dramatists, and the Dramatists Guild.

Jenny Polak

A color photo portrait of the artist Jenny Polak from the shoulders up. Jenny is wearing glasses and has short silver hair. She is wearing a brown and white plaid shirt and staring directly at the camera.
Jenny Polak makes site and community responsive art that amplifies demands for social justice. Originally from England, Polak makes art that draws on her background in architecture and includes public and socially engaged projects such as architectural installations, drawings and useful commemorative objects. Polak’s family history of migration drives her to examine detention centers, the violence of borders and strategies for surviving hostile authorities. Polak’s fictional firm Design For The Alien Within creates hypothetical hiding and dwelling places, symbolic lookout and counter-surveillance structures. Polak’s work has been exhibited widely across the world, and she has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards.

Amanda Millet-Sorsa

Photo of Amanda Millet-Sorsa
Amanda Millet-Sorsa is an artist, arts writer and arts worker based in New York. She has exhibited at Below Grand gallery, The Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Bookstore, SHIM Art Network, The Socrates Sculpture Park, and elsewhere. She has received support and grants through the Materials for the Arts and NYC Cultural Affairs, among others. She holds an M.F.A from the New York Studio School and B.A. from Brandeis University and has been a resident artist at Proyecto Ace in Buenos Aires, Argentina and at ArtLeadHER in partnership with The Monira Foundation at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. As a contributor to the Brooklyn Rail a member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics), and a curator at Below Grand, she participates actively in the NY arts community.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Samira Negrouche reading.

Samira Negrouche

A photo of Samira Negrouche 
Samira Negrouche was born in Algiers where she lives. She is a poet, essayist, translator and a doctor who privileges her literary craft over the practice of medicine. Prone to multidisciplinary projects, she has frequently collaborated with visual artists and musicians, including recently, Quai 2I1 with violinist Marianne Piketty and theorist Bruno Helstroffer, and Traces with choreographer Fatou Cissé. Her books include À l’ombre de Grenade (Marty, 2003), Le Jazz des oliviers (Le Tell, 2010), Stations (Chèvre-feuille étoilée, 2023) and J’habite en movement, (Barzakh, 2023). The Olive-Trees’ Jazz and Other poems, translated by Marilyn Hacker (Pleiades Press, 2020) has been shortlisted for The Dereck Walcott Prize for Poetry and The National Translation Award in Poetry.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.