Katherine Maxwell is the founder and artistic director of Hivewild


AZ: We’ve known you for a while now but tell us a little bit about yourself and Hivewild. 

KM: Well, I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, where I also received a B.A. in Dance from Kennesaw State University. I moved to NYC in 2012 and have been exploring grooves and making dances since I arrived. Hivewild is a movement platform that I founded in 2016. Now in our third year, the organization is a nationally-accredited 501c3 non-profit currently supporting nine dancers and a variety of collaborating artists from an array of mediums. We present projects with the shared goal of promoting community gatherings and artistic expression. 


AZ: What made you want to start Hivewild, and how has your intention evolved from when you first started? 

KM: I initially moved to New York to dance professionally, but in my search and hunger to dance while navigating a tight budget, I felt the proactive choice was to start creating choreography for myself. I even began collaborating with a friend and we came to realize that the traditional structure of dance companies we were taught wasn’t working for us. So, the seeds of Hivewild were then born out of a need for a creative platform that wasn’t available to us at the time. 


AZ: How do you find your dancers and collaborating artists?

KM: Hivewild frequently meets dancers by way of recommendation, or we’ll host auditions and open classes to get to know folks in the community. I really love it when dancers choose to spend time with us when we open the door to get to know new faces. 


Collaborating with other artists comes quite organically. I love getting to know makers who create in other mediums. It’s quite exciting to find people who are interested in working together and sharing ideas. It’s so enjoyable to be able to provide a different perspective for one another when we start to share each other’s practice. 


image // Travis Emery Hackett


AZ: What were some of the most difficult obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your individual career as well as Hivewild?

KM: Balancing my time and energy between my job as a private personal trainer, which allows me to continue to live in NYC, while also nurturing and deepening my artistic practice has always been challenging. Hivewild often requires me to wear many hats, including being an administrator, event planner, fundraiser, and creator. I definitely have experienced some growing pains with Hivewild trying to build an organization from the ground up. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive board of directors, a network of friends, mentors, and colleagues who I look to for help and guidance. 


AZ: What are some of the major achievements?

KM:  I was really proud to see us receive a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. They are one of the main reasons we are able to present PRISM, which is our next large-scale work premiering in December. Also, earlier this year we offered petal in my shadow, a one-night event hosted by VICTORI + MO. This work was exceptionally special to me.  The evening of the event, it became apparent to me how the company continues to blossom in such a genuine way. I really felt the love and support that the Hivewild embodies. It’s remarkable to witness how we’ve grown so organically, which I believe is what Hivewild is all about. 


image // Travis Emery Hackett


AZ: What would success look like for Hivewild?

KM: Getting the company to a place where we are financially comfortable so we are able to support the artists in the ways that they need is one of our main goals. I would love to see Hivewild have a permanent home one day, where artists can come and create freely. As the organization gains more recognition, presenting at larger NYC institutions would be amazing but also exploring the possibilities of molding a non-traditional space into a more densely immersive performance experience. I’d love to explore this in tandem with the even more thoughtful ways in which we can collaborate with artists of diverse mediums ranging from painters, and photographers, to musicians.


AZ: By presenting creative projects through Hivewild, what do you hope viewers will take away from witnessing the work? And why is it important?

KM: I hope when audiences experience the work, it allows them a deeper sense of self-reflection and understanding. When witnessing more abstract projects, I believe the viewer is able to integrate their own relationship with the piece, which will differ depending on personal history. I think it’s important to expose ourselves to artworks that offer sensations similar to meditation; a place where we are listening- with our whole bodies- and offered time to simply be. I truly hope that Hivewild’s work resonates with viewers in this way. 


image // Taylor Antisdel


AZ: Can you tell us about Prism and Hivewild’s upcoming collaboration with Wardell Milan?

KM: PRISM is a new Hivewild evening-length work, created in collaboration with Wardell Milan and Rowan Spencer. We are currently in process of developing the work as it is set to premiere at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, December 12-14. A fundamental approach in this collaboration is how we can continue to layer and captivate one another in our individual mediums. 


AZ: So how can we become involved?

KM: Hivewild will be hosting our annual benefit on Sunday, September 15. The benefit will be hosted on the beautiful motor yacht, Prediction. So, if you’re interested in getting to know us and supporting the organization please buy a ticket!


We will be presenting a preview of PRISM accompanied by a live score from Rowan Spencer as we cruise around Manhattan. It should be a wonderful evening! 


Wardell Milan has also so generously donated A Summer’s Afternoon, limited edition print series to Hivewild. This print edition was made in 2017 during Wardell Milan’s Von Hesse Artist Residency with master printer Amanda D’Amico at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The prints were made with an offset press. Oftentimes, Milan’s process stems from words, sentences from an essay, hooks from a song, or a novel that generates a desire to experiment with how these words could translate visually. Most of Milan’s work is thus part memoir, part meditation, and part analysis—fusing together his personal life, historic events, and contemporary artistic production, while also birthing something new. Recently, Milan’s process has been inspired by the color blue, the music of Nina Simone, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and Miles Davis as well as artistic works by Maggie Nelson and Joan Mitchell among others.


The proceeds from this beautiful print will go directly to supporting Hivewild and our artists. If folks are interested in purchasing a print or donating to Hivewild- please reach out to us at info@hivewild.com or check out our website- www.hivewild.com 


artwork // Wardell Milan


AZ: Favorite color, pizza topping and last book you read. GO.

KM: Favorite colors – any combo of green and blues, dusty rose and sky blue. Pizza topping – basil and arugula. Last book – Severance by Ling Ma.