The Vision Festival is the world's premier festival of experimental music (typically free jazz/avant-garde jazz), art, film and dance, held annually in May/June on the Lower East Side of New York City from 1996 to 2011, and most recently in Brooklyn (2012).  It usually consists of between thirty and sixty performances, spread out over a number of days. Inspired by the 1984 and 1988 Sound Unity Festivals, it was a direct outgrowth of the seminal but short-lived Improvisors Collective (1994-95). In 1996, the collective's founder, dancer-choreographer Patricia Nicholson Parker, staged the first Vision Festival at the Learning Alliance on Lafayette Street, and subsequently founded the not-for-profit Arts for Art, Inc to organize the festival on an annual basis, along with other events and concert series throughout the year. In addition to Nicholson Parker, other members of Arts for Art's Board of Directors include: Lewis Barnes, Jo Wood Brown, Whit Dickey, William Parker, John Schiek, and Bradford K. Smith.
Over the years, the festival has taken place in numerous venues, including the Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts, the St. Nicholas of Myra church basement, the New Age Cabaret (formerly known as the Electric Circus), the Knitting Factory, St. Patrick's youth center, CBGB, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, the Abrons Arts Center, and Roulette. Festival organizers sometimes encounter difficulty booking performance spaces, largely because of the Vision Festival's rejection of commercial sponsors. Booking difficulties are often alleviated by arts-foundation grants, however.
The list of artists who have performed at the Vision Festival is long and varied, including David S. Ware, Sam Rivers, Frank Lowe, Daniel Carter, William Parker, Roy Campbell, Jr., Hamid Drake, Nicole Mitchell, Rob Brown, Kidd Jordan, Henry Grimes, Marc Ribot, Chad Taylor, Rashied Ali, Joe McPhee, Jason Kao Hwang, Jayne Cortez, Fred Anderson, Matthew Shipp, Billy Bang, Eddie Gale, Whit Dickey, Amiri Baraka, Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Lacy, DJ Spooky, Yo La Tengo, Peter Kowald, Peter Brötzmann, Cat Power and Louis Moholo, among others. The festival also often features special "event" performances, such as the 2004 reunion of the Revolutionary Ensemble, who hadn't performed publicly together in almost thirty years.
|“||Arts for Art, Inc. is a multicultural, artist-initiated and artist-run organization whose purpose is to build awareness and understanding of avantjazz and related expressive movements. Our principal activities are the presentation of cutting edge music, multi-discipline performances, and the exhibition of visual arts installations. Arts for Art, is devoted to the presentation of experimental American music from an Afro-American perspective and traditions. Avantjazz is a direct outgrowth of jazz, historically an African-American music. It has gone world wide and gained audience and artists from all cultures. Our programming is multi-racial, reflecting this development of avantjazz into a multi-cultural art form. Yet we respect and encourage the roots of this music, which are essentially black.||”|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vision Festival.|
- Chinen, Nate. (2006). "The Vision Festival: On the Fringe and Reveling in Rhythm". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
- Ratliff, Ben. (2007). "If It’s June, This Must Be Jazz". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
- Jazz Concert Details @ jazzreview.com
- Chinen, Nate. (2004). "Hello Goodbye: The ultimate jazz outsider confab comes to praise the dead". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
- Gross, Jason. (2002). "20/20 Visionaries". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
- Ratliff, Ben. (2006). "Two Jazz Festivals, JVC and Vision, Take Over the City". The New York Times, retrieved June 22, 2007.
- Time Out New York. "Backstage with ... Bill Dixon". Time Out New York. Retrieved June 22, 2007.