What We Do
The Fund aims to advance the prop manipulation-based Flow Arts.
The Fund also seeks to foster local Flow Arts communities and cultivate the development of a global community of Flow Arts practitioners.
In pursuit of these goals, the Fund engages in activities that:
- Support emerging and established Flow Arts communities
- Present and showcase the artform to the public
- Make the artform accessible to a wide range of people
- Advance the evolution of the Flow Arts disciplines in technique and artistry
Program areas provide resources, grants and education to Flow artists and aspiring Flow artists worldwide, and aim to nurture and strengthen Flow Arts communities.
Flow Arts communities and the Inspiration behind the Fund
Flow Arts communities are simultaneously local and global.
All over the world, local spinjams and workshops bring together flow artists to play, practice, and teach each other new techniques. Global and regional Flow Arts communities grow, as people travel to retreats and festivals, sharing skills and concepts.
In addition, with the wide availability of online networks and interest groups, Flow communities from all over the world are connecting remotely to teach and learn from each other through social media.
There exists both online and offline, a collaborative, active and burgeoning worldwide community of flow practitioners connected through their love of this emerging artform. While it is currently a hobby for most, several flow artists have left their day jobs behind to commit to a career of teaching, performing and sharing the flow arts.
One such flow artist was Burning Dan,
a dynamic Los-Angeles based performer and teacher. He actively fostered community around the Flow Arts both locally through his weekly FlowTemple parties in LA, and globally through his travels, teaching and inspiring people all over the world. Burning Dan was also known as “Watermelon Dan” for his love of the pink and green watermelon color scheme and the happy effect it has on people.
In May 2010, his friends at Flowtoys launched a special limited run of watermelon-themed flowlights (a LED lightstick produced by the company) in honor of Dan’s boundless efforts towards fostering his local flow community, and recognizing his contributions to the Flow endeavor. Dan had also been hinting and urging Flowtoys to release this color scheme for awhile 🙂.
The watermelon flowlights were very popular and the run sold out before the end of the summer…
Later that fall, Dan passed away and the flow community worldwide mourned the loss of a champion. Dan was a radiant and generous soul, who left an indelible mark in the flow community, touching the lives of everyone he met. Dan had many dreams for the flow arts. Following his passing, many wondered how they could contribute to continuing Dan’s and the collective flow community’s vision.
His friends at Flowtoys came up with an idea to start a fund for the flow arts, and to seed the Fund with the profits from a commemorative run of watermelon-themed flowlights. The Fund would be a non-profit and serve the mission of advancing the flow arts, and fostering flow communities. Its first project was the Flow Show.
The Watermelon Logo
The watermelon-themed logo symbolizes the freshness of the emerging Flow Arts and its ability to quench the human thirst for challenge, creativity, meditation, movement and community.
Designed by Xavi Panneton, one of the community’s favorite visionary artists and graphic designer, the logo recognizes Watermelon Dan for the inspiration, efforts and generous spirit that he gave to building flow arts communities.
Khan’s background in the flow arts includes poi, contact juggling, and hoop. As a hooper, he has taught at hoop retreats and performed around the world. He created the Flow Show in 2009, and helped found Fund the Flow Arts in 2012. He has deep experience with the nonprofit arts, and worked for many years as a grantmaker for a public sector arts funding agency. He is also an author, whose publications include the poetry collections the imperfection of holy days (Web Del Sol, 2002) and ecology (noemi press, 2003), and the novel The Circus Infinite (Angry Robot Books, 2022).
After finishing up her studies of Earth Science at Boston University, Lily made her first trip across the country to attend Burning Man in 2006. A zombie dance troupe in Victorian garb captured her heart, and she never turned back. After a brief stint working for the EPA in environmental remediation, followed by a tattoo apprenticeship in Maui, Lily made her way to San Francisco to be closer to her new community.In late 2007, Lily jumped on an office assistant position at Burning Man HQ and spent about 2.5 years providing general administrative and project support to the Burning Man office.
In 2010, after working closely for several years with the Government Relations and Legal Affairs department, she decided to pursue a career in law. With the support of the Burning Man community, she is currently attending Berkeley Law, and continuing to work part-time at BMHQ as Legal Research Associate.
Lily loves to spin fire (contact staff!) and attend fire festivals near and far such as FireDrums, Japan Fire Festival, and more. She loves writing poetry, riding horses, singing jazz, dressing up in fancy garb, and visiting Japan whenever possible.Â Someday she hopes to live in a treehouse mansion in the woods near her horse farm in Singapore, while working in international project finance and writing creative nonfiction novels.
Matt’s flow journey began after admiring fire spinners at Burning Man in 2003 and committing himself to practicing the flow arts. After training at the Temple of Poi, he co-founded the Solar Flare fire performance troupe and participated in the Burning Man fire conclave over the course of 8 years.
In 2007 and 2008, Matt traveled with the Laughing for Life circus (Thailand) and with the Dreamtime Circus (India) bringing performance, play and circus arts instruction to children in rural areas. Starting in 2009, he served as the Chair of the Board of Living Dream Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing art programs and live performances to underserved communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world.
Outside of his passion for Flow, Matt advocates for clean energy policies in California as a non-profit attorney representing consumer interests. He has been a Burning Man Theme Camp Organizer since 2004, is a singer-songwriter, and enjoys both long journeys abroad with his wife and local walks in the hills with his dog. He originally hails from the historic town of Marblehead, MA and the dense urban core of New York City.
Prisna began firedancing in 1999 and actively performed the fire and flow arts from 2000-2009 in the United States and across the world as a solo artist, and in circus troupes and professional entertainment companies for stage shows, corporate functions, art and music festivals, and rock bands.
Her unique style has influenced numerous poi dancers, several of whom have surpassed any of her personal accomplishments, such as pioneering premier poi schools, winning international competitions and performing in Cirque du Soleil. Since 2005, she has been an organizer and workshop instructor for Firedrums â€“ the largest US spinning arts gathering, and is currently on it Board of Advisors. A co-founder of Flowtoys, a California-based company that produces high quality illuminated props for flow artists, Prisna also pioneered the internationally popular flow-wand levitation stick as a dance and flow prop.
In her pre-flow arts life, Prisna graduated with honors in Environmental Science from Brown University and worked in the international environment and sustainable development field for over 7 years. She edited publications updating decision makers on environmental news and policies, provided coverage of United Nations negotiations, as well as contributed as a writer and editor to publications by the UN Environment Programme.
Sean von Stade
Sean was first inspired to flow at age 11, while watching a movie in which the hero swung a sword in an infinite figure. He discovered the flow arts in 1996 while attending Northeastern University, and in 1997 was producing light-up poi in Australia before LEDs were ubiquitous. Following several years of prototyping flow props for himself and his friends, Sean founded Flowtoys to produce illuminated props for flow artists in 2004. Since 2005, Sean has been an organizer and workshop instructor for Firedrums, the largest US flow arts gathering.
“I have always been drawn to the fluid movement of inspired object manipulation and dance, and to the sorts of people who tend to pursue it. They are a disproportionately great group of people, with open minds and open hearts, not afraid to look foolish, keen to look awesome, and to share, to teach and to learn. I have dedicated my life’s work to enabling people to find their flow in movement, with props, and it has made life awesome for me, and everyone I know.
Since 1998 I have traveled the world as a flow-arts performer, meeting others and finding communities everywhere. Even before the proliferation of videos on the Internet, this artform had evolved globally. It is universal, it is ancient, it is the future, and its growth is my passion.”
Tyler Spades is a community leader, graceful ninja, and proponent of fire circus arts. He is based out of Portland, Oregon, yet travels extensively teaching and performing. He has volunteered many times with social circus groups such as Performers Without Borders, Clowns Without Borders, and SPARK! Circus to bring flow arts to disadvantaged youth around the world as a form of empowerment.
Support the Flow Arts!
We rely on the support of our community and on people like you who believe in the power of the flow arts to transform lives. Please consider donating today to Fund the Flow Arts!
Your donation supports the Seed Fund grants, general overhead costs, and the Flow Show.
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