Groundwater Arts braids together new ideas, living knowledge, and immediate strategies to bring the arts and culture field to the decolonized and climate-just future faster.
Like mangrove tree roots, we are adaptable, committed to protecting frontline communities, and ready to face the biggest challenges of our time.
We value work that is both adaptive and regenerative, and which resources frontline communities. All of our work aligns with the principles of a Green New Theatre.
The Groundwater Arts team, as individuals, are part of and accountable to many communities, including our local and national communities of arts-makers and designers, our neighborhoods, our extended familial networks, and our tribal nations and ancestral homes.
Our work is relational, generative, and adaptive. It takes the form of movement-building projects (i.e. Green New Theatre), an ongoing commitment to frontline communities (3% of all income we generate goes directly to resource frontline organizations), and long term partnerships with artists and organizations that align with our values.
Annalisa Dias (she/her) is a Goan-American transdisciplinary artist, community organizer, and award-winning theatre maker working at the intersection of racial justice and care for the earth. She is Director of Artistic Partnerships & Innovation at Baltimore Center Stage, where she is responsible for new work development, civic programming, and BCS's rentals and shared space initiative. She is a TCG Rising Leader of Color. Recent work includes THE CARLISLE PROJECT, a musical song cycle in collaboration with Ronee Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) about the legacy of the Carlisle Indian school; and THE EARTH, THAT IS SUFFICIENT, a performance project about hope for the future in the face of the climate catastrophe, produced by The Welders throughout 2019 in Washington DC and globally. Annalisa has facilitated dialogue and presented on anti-oppression and decolonization at numerous national conferences including Theater Communications Group, Kennedy Center Directing & Dramaturgy Intensive, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, American Alliance for Theatre Educators, Shakespeare Theatre Association, among others. Annalisa has published several articles and book chapters on the subject of decolonization in artistic practice and higher educational contexts. She has been an invited guest speaker on issues of anti-racism, decolonization, and new play development in graduate classes at Tisch NYU, American University, Hollins University, George Washington University, and The Catholic University of America.
Tara Moses (she/her) is a citizen of Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Mvskoke, award-winning playwright, director, and co-Founder of Groundwater Arts. Most recently, her work as a director has been seen with Mixed Precipitation (Minneapolis, MN); The Eagle Project (New York, NY); New Repertory Theatre (Boston, MA); San Francisco Playhouse (San Francisco, CA); Brown/Trinity Rep (Providence, RI); American Indian Community House (New York, NY); Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.); Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (New Haven, CT); Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective (New York, NY); telatúlsa (Tulsa, OK); Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company (Edmond, OK); Serenbe Playhouse (Chattahoochee Hills, GA); and Amerinda (New York, NY). As a playwright, her completed works include Sections, He’eo’o (Winner of the 2019 Native Storytellers Contest), Quantum (2020 and 2021 Finalist for the National Playwrights Conference), Bound (2019 Native American New Play Festival Winner), Hamlet: El Príncipe de Denmark, Don Juan, Arbeka (Supported by First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital Fellowship), Patchwork, Snag, Billie, Sugar, Poyvfekcv, and Haunted. Her plays have been produced and/or developed with Audible, Company One (Boston, MA); American Indian Community House (New York, NY); Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective (New York, NY); Sound Theatre Company (Seattle, WA); Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Company (Reno, NV); American Indian Artists, Inc. AMERINDA, (New York, NY); Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (New Haven, CT); Native Voices at the Autry (Los Angeles, CA); Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company (Oklahoma City, OK); telatúlsa (Tulsa, OK); University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, OK); No Peeking Theatre Company (Jersey City, NJ); Furnace Fringe Festival (Boston, MA); #BingeTheatreCompany (Washington, D.C.); and Echo Theatre Company (Tulsa, OK). Additionally, her plays have been taught and/or are currently in the curriculum at NYU Tisch, Marymount College, Brown University, the University of Arizona, UCLA, University of Washington, Oklahoma City University, Northeastern State University, and the University of Arkansas. She is a Participant in New York Stage and Film’s inaugural NYSAF NEXUS project (2021); Playwright-in-Residence at Alter Theatre (2020/21); a commissioned playwright for the New Now Commission with Lauren Gunderson (2020); a Cultural Capital Fellow with First Peoples Fund (2020); Invited Playwright with HBMG Foundation’s National Winter Playwrights Retreat (2020); fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute (2018/19); the Native Storytellers winner with the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (2019); an observer with the SDC Foundation (18/19); fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute (18/19); member of DirectorsLabChicago (2018); member of the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center (2017); Senior Artistic Director Fellow, Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage (2016/17); recipient of the Thomas C. Fichandler Award (2016); Management Fellow, Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage (2015/16); associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; and Dramatists Guild member. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Tulsa and is an MFA Directing Candidate at Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is from the Muscogee Creek Reservation.
Groundwater Arts was founded in 2018 by Annalisa Dias, Anna Lathrop, Tara Moses (Seminole/Mvskoke), Ronee Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee). For 5 years, Groundwater Arts worked to close a vital gap in the thinking around climate justice - the innate connection between the climate crisis and racial injustice and colonization. In 2018 during a residency at SPACE at Ryder Farm we built a company that infused decolonized ways of working into our mission statement, operating agreement, financial models, and just how we were going to approach this work. After 6 months of intentional building, we formally began.
From 2018-2023, Groundwater Arts shapeshifted along its three tributaries of practice: consulting, community building, and creative projects. We're proud of the connections we made with artists and organizations operating at the frontlines of the climate crisis, the collaborations from coast to coast, co-creating the Green New Theatre, producing multiple artistic projects, consulting with many organizations both in the U.S. and in the U.K., and so much more.
During these first five years we brought on a team of Core Collaborators including Adam Hyndman and estrellita beatriz who worked with Groundwater Arts in a number of activities including consulting with organizations, production management, and key thought partnership on community building strategies. We also were accountable to an Advisory Council composed of Andre Bouchard (of Kootenai/Ojibwe/Pend d’Oreille/Salish descent), Brandon Nase, Michael Nephew (Eastern Band of Cherokee and of Seneca-Cayuga descent), KO, & Quita Sullivan (Montaukett/Shinnecock) as well as a Youth Council composed of Issac Benally Brooks (Southern Cheyenne/Dine/Nakota), Jolie Cloutier (Onondaga), Sabine Decatur, Liana Irvine, Sam Morreale, and Emily Preis (Citizen of the Osage Nation).
This is typically where organizations would be like "We've impacted 30,000 people and worked with all these organizations and wrote all these things." Yeah, we could do that too, but we are the most proud of seeing the conversation shift over these past 5 years to center Indigenous and Black voices and to center racial justice in climate justice efforts in the performing arts.
In 2022, two of our co-founders (Ronee Penoi & Anna Lathrop) stepped back from Groundwater Arts to pursue other amazing opportunities. We were so happy for both of them. We also knew that shifting from a four-person collective to a two-person collective would take intentional consideration about our capacity, dreams, and shifting vision for the future of our work together.
We ain't gonna lie. This was a huge shift, and we needed to take time to process it individually, as well as together. Rather than jump into continuing the work we started together, we reflected on the question, "what is the generative and joyful work that still needs to be done?" About mid-way through 2023, after much consideration, rest, and dreaming, we're excited to re-found Groundwater Arts in its new shape.