Kindling Arts Festival Celebrates 5 Years of Programming July 28-31 in West Nashville, Featuring 19 Unique Performance Projects and Over 160 Local Artists

The expansive four-day Kindling Arts Festival includes innovative theatrical productions from Artistic Directors Jessika Malone and Daniel Jones, three dance showcases that feature more than 15 choreographers, and festive parties and gatherings, two of which hosted by 2022 Curatorial Partner Shawn Whitsell.

NASHVILLE, TN – July 1, 2022 – The Kindling Arts Festival today announced the 2022 line-up for the 4-day celebration of performing arts experiences from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31 at five distinct venues across West Nashville. Celebrating 5 years of Kindling Arts programming, the dynamic list of offerings includes an astounding total of 19 unique performance projects that feature artists working in theater, dance, music, multimedia, immersive art, and unclassifiable experiences. Events will be held at OZ Arts Nashville, The Darkhorse Theatre, Nashville School for the Aerial Arts, Ozari Events, and The Barbershop Theater.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating five years of radically unique independent performance here in Nashville,” said Artistic Directors Jessika Malone and Daniel Jones in a joint statement. “Each year, we have the opportunity to see artists grow their practice and take daring creative risks that raise the bar for the kind of performance Nashville audiences can expect. We cannot wait to share the moving, hysterical, and bizarre experiences these diverse artists have been working on with audiences at Kindling Arts Festival 2022.”

Among the innovative program offerings are two multi-disciplinary theatrical projects from Kindling’s Artistic Directors: Bar Fight!, an immersive, underground karaoke fight club staged in Ozari Events’ unique warehouse space being directed by Jessika Malone & Diego Gomez and written by Daniel Carter; and an encore performance at OZ Arts of the spring’s buzzworthy Garden of Eden retelling The Naughty Tree, written by playwright River Timms, featuring original music by Fable Cry and choreography by Lenin Fernandez, all under the direction of Kindling’s Daniel Jones.

Nashville theatre community member, writer/director, performer, and social activist Shawn Whitsell has joined Kindling Arts as the 2022 Curatorial Partner for the Festival — a new position funded, in part, by a grant from Metro Arts Nashville’s Racial Equity in Arts Leadership (REAL) program. As the Curatorial Partner, Shawn will be leading two community-driven events in the Festival, each celebrating diverse local artists. With The Soul of the People, Shawn collaborates with visual artist and photographer Jima Akhenjah for a community-powered art installation built over the course of the Festival’s opening night on Thursday, July 28 at The Barbershop Theater, focusing on participants’ personal and collective stories. On Saturday night, POWER WALK will fill Ozari Events with a mix of wearable art and fashion designs that include messaging of relevant issues and social causes important to the models walking in the show. The event will also include a festive party-style environment with beats by DJ Vu.

Kindling Arts Festival continues its commitment to the vibrant local dance scene with three dance showcases, featuring a total of 18 short-form dance works and 3 performance films. The wide-ranging line-up of choreographers includes: local favorites Phylicia Roybal & Spencer Grady, Alexandra Winer, and Becca Hoback featured in an evening of live dance and short films entitled POWER: ON at OZ Arts; New York-based dancer-choreographer Rebecca Margolick, long-standing local dance community member Jen-Jen Lin, and Nashville newcomer Asia Pyron sharing the stage at OZ with other choreographers in CURRENTS which explores a mix of historical narratives and current events through movement; and a mix of shorter works from artists such as di Mossa, Gracyn Preston, and Pyroglyphics in a shared showcase at the Darkhorse Theatre. The Festival will partner again with Nashville School for the Aerial Arts as well to present the latest production from Festival favorites Suspended Gravity entitled Alchemy as well as a showcase of short-form aerial pieces.

The 2022 Festival also introduces new partnerships and co-presentations with colleague organizations. Included in the line-up is Young World, a co-presentation with The Porch built around fantastical tales by writer and visual artist Theo Hall and inspired poetry from Robyn Leigh Lear. Kindling is also partnering with Friends Life Community for the first time on Advocacy Through the Arts, a showcase of live performance and films created by their community members who are living with disabilities.

Festival-goers are also invited to the rambunctious Kindling’s 5th Birthday Party on Friday late night at Ozari Events. The lively, free celebration will combine Kindling’s outlandish creative spirit with a party-style environment, complete with crafty creations by familiar face Madeleine Hicks. Drag superstar Justine Van de Blair — recently seen in the titular role of The Naughty Tree — hosts the wild evening accompanied by beats from DJ Maggie Wells, part of the poetry party collective Be Witched.

Additional projects in the Festival include:

  • Last Supper, a new play by local playwright Brooke Ferguson, directed by popular theater-maker Nat McIntyre 
  • Nate & Jonathan’s Saturday Morning Reboot, a staged reading of an unofficial spec pilot script by Nate Eppler & Jonathan Alexandratos
  • comedian Emma Supica’s touching original solo show Scar Tissue
  • BLUR, a short-form aerial showcase from creators Satellite Dance, Lauren Cougan & Leah Snyder, Dominique Young, and Bernadette Turnage & Megan Pentacost
  • An intimate concert from Asheville-based avant-rock duo Okapi, mixing upright bass, cello, and vocals
  • Kai Mote & Holden Bitner’s wild moments, featuring music for the cello, sound sculpture, and light projection
  • Interim, an immersive concert and projection experience by Winston Harrison & Derek Pearson inviting audiences to take a break from the hectic pace of life
  • The July installment of the newly-established Dare to Fail Film Festival, providing an inexpensive and accessible platform to aspiring filmmakers who create one-minute micro-films around a new theme


Individual Tickets, Wildfire Weekend Passes, and a variety of packages are currently on sale at In addition to free events, individual tickets to paid performances range from $10-$25. A Weekend Pass provides access to all Festival offerings and is available for only $75, while other package options start at just $40.

All events at Kindling Arts Festival 2022 will require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours. Every venue at Kindling 2022 is mask-friendly and the wearing of masks is encouraged for all audience members regardless of vaccination status.

Kindling Arts Festival 2022 is made possible, in part, by support from Metro Arts Nashville, Studio Bank, Nashville Scene, Pierce PR, and Do615. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Producing Artistic Director Daniel Jones at

About Kindling Arts 

Kindling Arts develops innovative new works by Nashville’s experimental artists,  empowering diverse creators with the resources required  to explore challenging ideas  in a multidisciplinary context. Now in its fifth year of contemporary programming, Kindling Arts is established as Nashville’s radically unique independent arts incubator. Emphasizing an artist-centered process, the Kindling Arts Festival is a multi-day annual event that showcases interdisciplinary collaborations in surprising spaces. The organization was created by producers Jessika Malone and Daniel Jones (Haunted, Sideshow Fringe Festival) in 2018, and has developed more than 45 unique artistic experiences with Nashville-based artists in just five years. Learn more at