MCA to host ‘1,001 Arab Futures’


An intimate outdoor site-specific dance performance and visual installation embodying future potentials from the Arab diaspora The Cedar Tree Project, curated by Keoxa/Winona-based dance/interdisciplinary artist Sharon Mansur is thrilled to present “1,001 Arab Futures,” in partnership with the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA). “1,001 Arab Futures” is an intimate outdoor site-specific solo dance performance and visual installation contemplating imaginative visions, past reckonings, embodied truths and other future potentials from the SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African)/Arab diaspora.

“1,001 Arab Futures” is created/directed by Yara Boustany, Lebanese dance artist (Beirut, Lebanon); Mette Loulou von Kohl, Lebanese/Palestinian/Danish American dance artist (New York City); and Andrea Shaker, Lebanese American visual artist (Minneapolis, Minn.). Concept/creative contributions/performance is by Sharon Mansur, Lebanese American dance/interdisciplinary artist (Keoxa/Winona). Sound is by woolen lover (Fountain City). Costumes are by Angie Vo (Minneapolis).

The “1,001 Arab Futures” premiere will be shared as three events in June 2021:

1. A live performance on June 10-12, 2021, at 7 p.m. (rain date June 13). There will be a live, in-person, solo dance performance event for a limited audience outdoors at MCA’s home at the Valéncia Arts Center at 1164 West Howard Street in Keoxa/Winona, Dakota land.

2. Online performance viewing and watch party on June 17-19, 2021, with the watch party at 2 p.m. on June 19. There will be a special online viewing of the “1,001 Arab Futures” live performance recording, which will include a watch party followed by an artist discussion on Saturday, June 19, at 2 p.m.

3. Visual installation by Andrea Shaker on June 1-28, 2021. Minneapolis-based Lebanese American visual artist and “1,001 Arab Futures” co-director Andrea Shaker will transform MCA’s indoor Galleria Valéncia space for audience viewings during June.

Live dance performance tickets are $15. Space is limited, advance ticket purchase required:

Virtual dance performance viewing tickets are on a sliding scale from $10-25. Visit

The sisual installation is free; no tickets required.

See MCA website for viewing hours and guidelines:

COVID-safety guidelines will be followed: Masks and social distancing will be required of all audience members. Please wear comfortable shoes for walking in grass. Bringing your own lawnchair or blanket is also recommended. Indoor restrooms will be available on site. If you have an audience accommodation request please contact us via

For more information visit and

In 2019 Mansur invited three SWANA/Arab/Arab American artists, who share Lebanese heritage in common with her as an intersection point to embark on a creative process together. Inspired, in part, by Arab Futurism, a cultural movement imagining the future of the SWANA/Arab world, this project evolved over multiple geographic distances primarily through online exchanges. The project’s title is also a nod to the “1,001 Arabian Nights,” classic fantastical folk tales from the Arab diaspora, often referenced as a precursor to Arab science fiction. Commissioned by The Cowles Center as part of their McKnight SOLO Commissioning Program, funded by the McKnight Foundation, and additionally supported by a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership grant, and Art of the Rural, this project has been in development since 2019. Its content and public sharings reflect the responsive adaptations and lived experiences during this COVID era.

The Cedar Tree Project (CTP) explores art, cultural heritage, perceptions, and identity through the lens of SWANA and SWANA American artists. CTP amplifies art from the SWANA diaspora and invites people to develop deeper understanding and empathy through artistic exchange. Curated by Keoxa/Winona-based dance and interdisciplinary artist Sharon Mansur, events include dance performances, dance films, visual art installations and exhibitions, as well as workshops, community meals, panel discussions, lecture/demonstrations, artist talks and other gatherings with Mansur and guest artists.


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