Chelsea Koziatek

  • flute
  • teacher
  • Consuming Arts

Dr. Chelsea Koziatek February 2019 SEMFA Newsletter Interview

  1. What was your primary motivation behind the development of Consuming Arts?

Consuming Arts is my performing arts ensemble dedicated to the fusion of music and cuisine. Throughout ten years as a collegiate student my values regarding musical performance changed drastically. As I neared the end of my doctoral program, I became fixated on the importance of living artists, interdisciplinary experiences, and cultivating community collaboration; Consuming Arts is what emerged from these ideals. But why food and music? Food and cooking are my second life passions aside from music and after speaking with restaurant owners and chefs, it was clear they experienced artistic stifling the way musicians can: we create, perform, and cook what sells. During a Consuming Arts event, chefs craft a four-course meal to accompany our musical selections. This artistic culmination allows the chefs to be liberated from a traditional menu, the musicians can program pieces which may otherwise be strategically sandwiched between two canonized composers on a traditional concert, and the audience experiences a multisensory experience unlike any other.

  1. What has been your favorite performance so far of this project and why?

My favorite Consuming Arts performance was our first four-course dinner. Prior to the dinner we had performed at the MICA Gallery in Old Town (Lansing, MI) with accompanying art and paired tapas, but the first complete realization of a project you’ve dreamed of is a very special moment, plus three of the four pieces performed were commissioned by Consuming Arts! My favorite pairing from that night was Justin Rito’s Kindermusic and Red Haven’s “Grown Up PB&J.” Justin used audio clips of children answering the question, “What would you say to a new person at your school?”, and embedded them into the piece while contrasting very playful and somber motifs in the flute, clarinet, and cello lines []. It was very touching to hear the children’s welcoming comments to this question in a time of such divisiveness amongst adults. The food pairing was toast topped with chicken liver pate, apricot, blueberries, and cocoa nib. []

  1. Did you have to overcome any challenges while creating this project?  If so, what were they and how did you work to overcome them?

The challenges behind running Consuming Arts are ongoing, just like having your own small business! One challenge is finding restaurant owners willing to open up their space to a collaborative event. Red Haven (East Lansing, MI) has been gracious in hosting us, but a recent alternative we’ve explored is a pop-up venue []. Our last pop-up venue was an art gallery in Berkley, MI and we’d like to keep exploring this option []. Another challenge is marketing. Our event tickets cover the cost of food and musicians, so the price may initially seem intimidating to new audience members. We cultivate our audience by engaging in our communities through teaching, performing, and collaborating with local artists. Our most effective marketing comes from word-of-mouth of audience members!

  1. Moving forward, what is your ideal vision for the future of Consuming Arts?

My small-scale vision includes beer pairing events, home soiree dinners, and more local restaurant partnerships. The long-term and ideal vision for Consuming Arts is reaching the community through service and education such as collaborating with food kitchens and established food- and music-education programs, performing in a consistent concert series in southeast Michigan, and releasing an album with accompanying cookbook.

Consuming Arts has been on a hiatus, but more events will be posted on our media pages in the next few months, so stay tuned! []

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