Locals will soon get a taste of The Appleseed Project, a collaborative endeavor of regional female performers and musicians who aim to sow the seeds of passion and community. A video compilation that features several women’s stories and performances will screen on July 20 at the Chamizal National Memorial theater.
“Being part of the music scene myself, I felt like I didn’t see enough women out there,” said Jennifer Lucero, a multimedia artist and musician who secured a grant from the Museum and Cultural Arts Department to undertake the task. “So with the project, I wanted to expose more people to women musicians, as well as give them a chance to tell their stories.”
The roughly five-minute videos show live performances with voice-overs of the artists talking about their influences and struggles. A few of the artists include Angelica Tinajero, Annette Rios, Chrissy Gurrola, Nancy Green and Lucero’s sister, Ashley Lucero.
The inspiration for the project sprouted from a seemingly unlikely occasion. During the funeral of a family member in 2014, Lucero discovered some of her female relatives were singers and musicians, including her great grandmother who played the piano.
“Up to that point, I’d only heard about the men in our family who were musicians,” she said. “I wanted to document that part of my family history, and I started thinking there must be so many other families who have not documented their history. The [Appleseed Project] is about the historical documentation of female musicians in our area and their legacy.”
Due to limitations of time and funding, Lucero was forced to cap the number of participants at 11. Given the huge pool of female talent in the area, Lucero said she barely skimmed the surface. She plans on reapplying for another MCAD grant next year to continue the project and reveal the narratives of another group of women.
“I want to cover not just women who do music full time or who study music, but maybe like someone’s grandma who doesn’t play anymore or who just plays for her family now,” Lucero said.
Green, who is one of the artists featured in the anthology, is a teaching and performing artist with a focus on women’s health, children and people with disabilities. She lauds Lucero’s effort in organizing and connecting the performers, capturing the intimate moments in the subjects’ creative processes and shedding light on the transformative and healing powers of art.
“There’s a need to focus our energy within networks of women, to support and nurture our souls and cultivate our spiritual connection,” she said. “I’m fascinated by the fact that each of us brings something unique and when we blend that, it’s very powerful and humbling. It nourishes our souls when we share and come together.”