Notes from the Motherfield LIVE / Jan 10 SOLD OUT

Friday, January 10, 2020, 5:30pm doors; storytelling 6pm

Jewish History Museum / 564 S Stone Ave, Tucson 85701

Light fare potluck immediately follows; bring an offering for the table and share in the love after the stories if you can!

Tickets are SOLD OUT! Save the Date for the next Motherfield on Friday, March 6, 2020.

When you purchase tickets online, your name will be added to the guest list at the door; no paper or e-tickets are issued.

The Motherfield is a movement of radical mothers dedicated to building community by telling the truth and listening to women. Story-coaching, knowledge, and event support is shared by storytelling alumni and staff to build a larger community of care.

Kore’s fourth listening session in the series presents six amazing mother artists, thinkers, makers, and activists. Based on Kore’s online essay series and newsletter feature, “Notes from the Motherfield,” the LIVE event presents two spoken sets by local mamas telling their unique truths in 10-minute stories about the wild, wooly, sacred, thorny, liberatory, stunning, real and sometimes painful encounters while mothering.

Help us kick-off the 2020 season with these six superhero mamas:

Sarah Tarver-Wahlquist was born and raised in Tucson, and feels most at home under the wide skies of the southwest. She is an activist and organizer, working in the intersectional space of abortion access and reproductive justice. She helped form the Abortion Fund of Arizona, is a founding member of the Tucson Abortion Support Collective, and would like to talk with you about abortion access in southern Arizona! Sarah is mom to three cool kids, and loves her home to be a gathering space for all their friends. She reads a lot, writes when she can, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Arizona.

Tenecia Phillips is a klutzy, awkward, nerdy public librarian who grew up on the southside of Tucson and once dreamed of being a law enforcement officer but realized her calling was to save the world, one information need at a time. She is committed to increasing the presence of Black staff in libraries, creating inclusive spaces that serve and represent the community she lives in, and raising awareness about social justice issues. Becoming a mother was never on her list of goals she wanted to accomplish in her lifetime but recognizes that there is no greater gift that she could have been given than being blessed with the honor of raising, guiding, loving, supporting, and continually frustrating The Princess (her daughter).

Travonne Smith fell in love with good stories and happy endings one hot Midwest summer in a cool basement. She was ten when she discovered her mother’s collection of modest romance novels. As an adult, she realized creating happy endings for the marginalized in real life takes more than a single hero. It takes a supportive community that works and grows together. Travonne is a proud member of the People’s Defense Initiative, Progressive Democrats of Southern Arizona, Dem Disability Caucus, and leadership team at Southside Presbyterian Church. From 9 to 5, she ensures the government works for the people by helping them navigate federal agencies. Her desire is to see positive, sustainable change in her community, where oppressed folx thrive. She makes her home with her wife, Vivian, and their two amazing teens, striving to make happy endings with them everyday.

Dr Lane Santa Cruz is a second generation Chicanx/Indigena born and raised in the Southside of Tucson, AZ. She is passionate about doing community work grounded in auto-historia, m/othering, Indigenous/popular education, worker cooperatives and bicycle and food justice. She is a community educator/organizer through nonprofits and grassroots community work on sexual/gender violence, food justice, migrant rights, community bicycle mechanics, and Ethnic Studies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona focusing on decolonizing education practices for Latinx/Indigenous children, is an Adjunct Professor (Mexican American Studies), and is Tucson’s Ward I Council Woman. She has a loving partner who teaches at Cholla High School and 4 children ages 1 to 11.

Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell (she/her/hers) grew up working on a family farm in Lockney, Texas. She is an essayist and poet currently at work on a collection about the toll of military and agricultural land use on bodies and lands. Her essays and poems can be found in Bat City Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, and, among others. She has a PhD in English from the University of Texas and is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Arizona. She is currently at work collaborating on an archive of stories told by the caregivers of wounded and disabled military veterans in Southern Arizona. She lives with her husband, two children, five chickens, and an elderly, arthritic dog in Tucson.

To-Ree-Nee Wolf Keiser is a Renaissance Woman. She is an accomplished visual and performance artist with such titles as painter, muralist, mosaicist, singer, actor, dancer, composer, and choreographer, to name a few. With the output of around two public art projects a year for 20 years, she has undoubtedly etched her mark into the Southern Arizona cultural landscape. Her public art projects infuse the energy and spirit of communities looking to heal past wounds and unite for a better future. Her stage performances have also kept Tucson audiences riveted for many decades. Like an alchemist, she transforms our community’s collective history of discrimination into respect, compassion, and hope, through spectacular, visionary art.


Thanks to Lisa Bowden, Motherfield creator and curator; to alumni storytelling mamas Molly Burke and Adiba Nelson for additional story support and emceeing; to Letty Moran and Maggie Johnson, ASL interpreters; and Tucson’s Jewish History Museum, our hosting partner!

Lisa Bowden, Kore Press Institute co-founder, has developed Kore’s 27-years long list of titles, artists, and award-winning community programming as a Publisher, activist, creative maker-thinker, editor, and intersectional feminist culture worker. She was named the University of Arizona English Department 2018 Alumni of the Year Award, the Maryann Campau Fellow for poetry from the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and a Woman on the Move Award from the YWCA.

Adiba Nelson is a New York City girl turned desert dweller. She currently resides in Tucson, AZ and is the author of the popular children’s book about inclusion, Meet ClaraBelle Blue. Adiba is also a contributing writer for online magazine The Mighty, My Brown Baby, Everyday Feminism, and The Huffington Post. Her book, Meet ClaraBelle Blue is loosely based on her precocious daughter, Emory, and for this reason she has made it her life’s mission to ensure that children and adults of all abilities have access to the same opportunities and representation in life. See Adiba’s performance here.

Molly K. Burke received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2005, but has been writing and playing with storytelling since elementary school. She has been a mom since 2007. She fits writing into the nooks and crannies between her full time job, two kids, binge-watching Netflix original series, and the moral demands of this current political state. She often regrets not putting more time into writing. Sometimes she regrets not putting more time into exercising or meditation. She is Director of Online Education for the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. And sometimes can be found working on bits and pieces of a memoir. See Molly’s story here.

A graduate of the University of Arizona Deaf Studies program and Pima Community College Interpreting program, Letty Moran brings a diverse background to her work and has a passion for sharing her story. First generation Mexican American born to two Deaf parents living in a border town has given her a unique lens to interpreting. As a working mother, wife, advocate, and friend, Letty has spent the past 18 years working as a professional Sign Language interpreter in many sectors of the field and is trained as a master mentor with years of social justice discourse. Her work has taken her to different parts of the country and internationally to Mexico, the Carribean and most recently Europe. Her love of learning and exploring her CODA, Latina identity fuels her passion for growth and is now excited to work with a group of amazing mothers & storytellers.

Maggie Johnson is a native Tucsonan, raised solely by her father in this beautiful city. The passing of her dad in 2016 taught her that life is about people, and she looks forward to working with and learning from this group of radical, powerful storytellers. She graduated from the University of Arizona’s Deaf Studies program in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in interpreting from the University of North Florida. Becoming an interpreter has given her the opportunity to be exposed to the diverse Deaf community and their rich culture, an opportunity she is grateful for daily. She lives with her husband of eight years, and hopes to one day experience the journey of motherhood.

Tickets: Regular $20 / Early Bird $15 / $20 Gift a ticket to a woman of color who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend. NO MORE SEATS AVAILABLE FOR THIS EVENT.

The concept of the motherfield was coined by Joy Harjo on her blog long ago and refers to the imaginal colliding that happens in the motherfield––where only truth exists—somewhere between grief and beauty, the ineffable and mundane, boundlessness and numbing routine lies a sacred, and profane space. We speak, and listen to, these stories to keep the narratives about mothering complicated, to pierce the veil of perfection and silence, and to make manifest our invisibilized labors. We see you, we hear you, we appreciate you!

See more Motherfield info, bios, and links to videos of the stories here: October 25 2019, August 16 2019, April 12 2019.

Consider becoming a sponsor of the Motherfield To support this powerful storytelling program and the intersectional feminist work of Tucson’s Kore Press Institute. DONATE here.

KPI is a nonprofit working at the nexus of arts and justice dedicated to amplifying women’s voices through publishing, social justice education, and innovative community programming. Kore Press is one of the four remaining feminist presses in the country that has lasted over 20 years. Kore’s award-winning work has impacted communities locally and nationally for 27 years.