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Park Avenue Armory and WQXR and WNYC Studios announce co-production - HELGA: The Armory Conversations

Park Avenue Armory and WQXR and WNYC Studios announce co-production - HELGA: The Armory Conversations


Today, Park Avenue Armory and WQXR/WNYC Studios announce a partnership to co-produce HELGA: The Armory Conversations, a new season of the podcast hosted by critically-acclaimed performing artist and WQXR host Helga Davis.

The new season debuts on July 14, 2021, and continues weekly through September 29, 2021. HELGA: The Armory Conversations is available on and all other platforms where podcasts are available.

Davis draws on her long association with the Armory in this new season, collaborating closely with the Armory’s Public Programming team to engage its rich artistic network and bold Interrogations of Form series to identify artists, social activists, creative thinkers, and change agents for her signature revealing and intimate conversations. Speaking artist-to-artist, guests share stories of struggle and resilience, challenges and victories along their creative journeys, providing inspiration and hope to listeners. These thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations expand our world and our imaginations as we explore what we think we know about each other. Each episode ends with The Coda, a collaborative space at the end of each episode where Helga responds to, reflects upon, and creates with her guests to create something new.

This season’s debut episode features a conversation with visual artist Nick Cave, well known for his Soundsuits, which were featured in his 2018 commission The Let Go at the Armory. Cave speaks with Davis about the evolution of his sculptural work, his life as a community collaborator, and how to move from Black sorrow to Black excellence. “Black excellence – what does that mean? I don’t f---ing know. But what I do know is that it feels good in my bones, and I’m not gonna define it because I’m going to let it define me,” Cave said.

Additional guests include:

Music for this season was composed by Grammy Award-winning bassist, vocalist, and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, a frequent Armory Public Programming collaborator, and multidisciplinary artist and MacArthur “Genius” Jason Moran, who is Curator of the Armory’s Artists Studio Series. Imagery for the season is by photographer Renee Cox, with Davis’s wardrobe in the season image created by sculptor Nick Cave.

Helga Davis’ relationship with Park Avenue Armory began with her tenure as an Artist-in-Residence in 2012, during which she held a workshop of her piece Cassandra as part of the Under Construction Series. She has since been featured at the Armory in Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread in December 2012 with music by David Lang and in Nick Cave’s The Let Go in June 2018, as well as contributing to SOCIAL! the social distance dance club conceived by Christine Jones, Steven Hoggett, and David Byrne as part of the Armory’s recent Social Distance Hall series in April 2021. Helga Davis has been a collaborator of Park Avenue Armory Arts Education for nearly 10 years, mentoring the Armory’s Youth Corps through legendary vocal and movement workshops, performing a commissioned work as part of a Student Summit in conjunction with Julian Resefeldt’s Manifesto, and playing a critical role in shaping the Armory’s vision and approach to arts education as a sounding board and confidant of the Board of Directors.

“We are excited to partner on this season of the HELGA podcast to amplify the voices of incredible artists and help bring the important work of our Interrogations of Form Conversations series into the homes of our audience,” says Rebecca Robertson, Founding President of Park Avenue Armory. “Helga Davis is such an extraordinary artist and a longtime friend of the Armory that this felt like a natural partnership.”

“I am thrilled to be back behind the mic sharing my curiosity for and love of conversation. In addition to broadening our collective landscape with an even larger pool of artists, creators, and thinkers, this season’s collaboration with Park Avenue Armory will provide us with unexpected, inspiring, deep, personal insights into the human condition,” said Davis. “Once again, HELGA conversations continue to offer up evidence of what life is like for people we revere, helping us to feel encouraged in our individual journeys.”

“WQXR and WNYC Studios are proud to partner with essential cultural institutions in New York, like the Park Avenue Armory,” said Ed Yim, Chief Content Officer, WQXR. “Helga is an extraordinary citizen of the artistic world and an extraordinary voice on the podcasting landscape. What better person to link our two organizations together through illuminating conversations?”

Since its debut in 2016, HELGA has featured guests including Solange, Peter Sellars, Krista Tippett, Elizabeth Alexander, Bethann Hardison, Esperanza Spalding, Judy Collins, Sarah Jones, and Hilton Als.



By WNYC Studios and Park Avenue Armory
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