History

Church of the Friendly Ghost (COTFG) originated in 2003 when a group of friends began hosting performances and other artistic activities in a small, former church building at 209 Pedernales St. Austin, TX 78702. Over the years the collective has grown with a rotating cast of volunteers and staff, hosting numerous events and workshops in the city of Austin. In 2007, COTFG became a sponsored project of Salvage Vanguard Theater 501(c)(3).

NMASS originated in 2009 under the moniker of the Modern Aural Sculpture Symposium South. COTFG sought an opportunity to explore music outside of the homogeneous summer-music-festival landscape. The inaugural two-day event featured a circuit bending workshop, a live interview with free jazz improvisors Burton Greene and Perry Robinson, lectures on compositional techniques, improvisation demonstrations, and performances of site-specific works by local artists at both the festival location and throughout the city of Austin. In 2010, the festival expanded into an independent, three-day event named the New Media Art and Sound Summit (NMASS). Since its inception, this event has emphasized multidisciplinary collaboration and creation with the intention of attracting global attention to Austin’s creative community.

With the desire to present our works in an intimate, conversational setting, we commission artists, designers and architects to convert the gallery of our theater into an immersive multimedia installation to nurture contemplation and discussion between sets. By bringing together a myriad of approaches to sound-organization, NMASS is a unique opportunity to experience a constellation of artists in new collaboration. Electro-acoustic exploration, precisely-notated music, structured and unstructured improvisation, and commitment to honest experimentation all merge to create a diverse sonic ecosystem. COTFG has also commissioned several original compositions to be premiered at the festival, connecting local, national and international artists to expand our community of innovative, artistic relationships.

Dedicated to the COTFG mission of representing underserved communities through their seldom-seen works, NMASS 2016 features over 50% female-identified artists. This is radically different from most festivals, which often include at best 10% – 20% women artists in their roster.