Photo Credit: Victor G. Jeffreys II

Born in Queens, NY in the U.S. on Munsee Lenape and Matinecock land, C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek (they/them/theirs) is working toward a future where creativity and care are part of our social fabric. They are a civically-engaged artist, theater maker, urban planner, and skilled facilitator who utilizes creative and healing-centered strategies to spark dialogue, evaluation, or reflection. They specialize in documentary theater, facilitate community-based story projects, and hold space for healing-centered dialogue.

Meranda is an Adjunct Instructor with the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech, Artist-in-Residence with the Dr. Robert L. A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic, and Co-Investigator with the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine researching the measurable impacts of the arts in public health.

C. collaborates with the arts-in-healthcare focused ensemble The Clinic Performance and award-winning theater Ping Chong + Company. C. has been recognized for their work through a Visiting Fellowship with Skidmore College’s Storytellers' Institute, and speaking engagements across the world.

Their dual-degree master’s in Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre’s Directing & Public Dialogue explore how theater and creative connection can help communities heal from the pandemic and the injustices and challenges it magnified. They acknowledge their Diasporic Ashkenazi Jewish lineage as a primary motivator of their aesthetic process and longings for liberation.

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C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek creates interactive installations and performances from scratch combining fact and fiction, and often incorporating real people's stories. Their facilitation style blends serious play, healing, liberatory frameworks, and big dreaming. They dream wild dreams with Streaks of Lavender, a queer collective of artists building ourstory.

C. is a recent NEW AESTHETICS Fellow with Theatre Replacement and Visiting Fellow at Skidmore College's MDOCS Storytellers' Institute. They were a SU-CASA Artist-in-Residence with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Social Practice Artist-in-Residence with ProjectArt, Fellow at The Performance Project at University Settlement, EmergeNYC Fellow at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics and Fellow with The Art & Law Program. C. is a graduate of the Training Institute for Artists and Administrators in Healthcare and Creative Aging hosted by The Creative Center at University Settlement. They have trained with the Anti Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA), Center for Artistic Activism’s Art Action Academy, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Lifetime Arts, New York University's Art & Public Politics Department, and TimeSlips Creative Storytelling.

As a civic practice artist, C.’s work takes place in public space, hospitals, and community spaces. C.’s work has been presented with numerous cultural institutions, including: Abrons Arts Center (NY), Dixon Place (NY), Goggleworks (PA), Leslie-Lohman Museum (NY), Mitchell Art Gallery (EDM, AB, Canada), The Performance Project (NY), Play Perform Learn Grow (Thessaloniki, Greece), and Theaterlab (NY). Current projects are  supported by Actors Theatre of Louisville and Kentucky Nurses Association; the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech; the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology, and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.