Artist’s NameNickolas Montgomery
Address3271 LINKS MANOR DR
SALEM 24153
United States
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Website (if any)
Tell us about you, the artist. Please include a few sentences of biographical information.

Nick has had lifelong interests in stories and strange sounds, and for the past five years has run a small sound design and recording studio in Salem, VA. While he specializes in vocal, spoken word, natural and foley sounds, he has tackled many sound design projects, from podcasts and audiobooks to mixing and mastering songs across music genres. Before recording and editing sound took over his life, Nick was also a professional philosopher and still occasionally adjuncts at local colleges. He maintains research interests and expertise in philosophy of language and logic, game theory, metaphysics, and the intersections of these with Eastern, especially Buddhist, thought. Nick has B.A.s in Philosophy and Religion from Roanoke College, and a M.A. degree in Philosophy from Brandeis University. While working on his dissertation on philosophy of language at Indiana University in Bloomington, Nick began an academic affair with the Digital Humanities, and became especially interested in sound-based projects and recordings of oral histories. Finally able to marry his interests in strange sounds and philosophy, it’s been true love ever since. Now he’s a dude with a microphone on a quixotic mission to share a love of philosophy and weird noises with the rest of the world. Outside of sound design, Nick works as a librarian in the Roanoke area, loves playing table-top rpgs and other games, and adventuring through mountains and valleys with his dog (and recording gear).

Please describe your artistic practice including the media you work in and your approach to your art.

I work primarily in the medium of sound, but often enhance those projects by collaborating with visual artists. My professional work often falls under one or both of following fields: recording solutions and sound design. When I can, I love to start a project from scratch, using sounds recorded from people, animals, or natural environments, using high quality recording equipment, often in experimental set-ups, that produce life-like sounds that can make the listener feel as though they are present for the recording. I have a deep love of story-telling as a medium and spend much of my time as a sound designer combining sounds and music to curate and enhance narratives.

Describe the proposed work or project.

The current title for the project is “Melrose: Stories of Change.” We will record 1-hour interviews of 10 individuals with close ties to the Melrose community and nearby area, focused around the changes they have seen and experienced in their lifetime there. During the interview process, we will also take professional photographs of the subject and areas they wish to discuss or visit as a part of the interview. Then, each interview will be professionally edited and the sound enhanced to NPR-level quality. Transcripts of each interview will be made, and hard copy/cold-storage copies of sounds will be given to participants and archived in the Virginia Room at the Gainsboro Library and the Sound Studio of the Melrose Library. Lastly, parts of each interview will be spliced together with music, sound effects, and professional photos to create a 15-20min soundscape and presentation of the Stories of Change in Melrose. Community members and project participants will be able to join in a listening party at Melrose Library (food provided) where the final project will be debuted on YouTube.

How will the work advance wellness, justice, or inclusion in Roanoke? Consider a community issue that you hope to address, something you want to celebrate or a condition you want to change.

A natural part of all change is loss. And as the community around Melrose begins to see positive changes, there is concern that the stories from the community–stories of how it was founded and managed, as well as the stories of the myriad families that make it up–will be lost. There is a concern that those who have been lost due to gun violence have also lost the chance for their stories to be heard. And there are those within the community who, because of grief, trauma, or loss of their own, have found it difficult to tell their stories. As we collect these stories from the community, we are driven by the knowledge that by releasing our stories into the community, we can find healing in ourselves. And in archiving our stories and making them available to others, we ensure that our shared experience is not lost, but available for others to learn from and build upon.

When do you anticipate undertaking the work? If the project is tied to a set event or date, let us know.

This project will unfold over the course of several months while we advertise and find subjects for 1-hour long interviews. Work will begin as soon as the grant has been approved–we’ll be able to springboard from a much smaller project centered around Black History Month at the Melrose Library and begin advertising at a listen party for a couple of oral histories recorded that month. We believe a timeline of about 5 months–3 months to find and record subjects and 2 months to edit and create the final archives and youtube video. Currently, we hope to have a listen/viewing party for participants and the community on Saturday June 29th. Its possible the project may finish sooner, or rescheduling of interviews could draw it out into July.

Are there partners in this effort? If so describe the partnerships and what each partner brings.

There are two partners with this project:
Victoria Cobbs is a colleague at the Melrose Library and an Artist in Residence with the City of Roanoke. She will bring her skills as a visual artist and photographer to the project. She is in charge of creating advertising materials to attract interview subjects and inform the community of the listen party. Most importantly, she will photograph interview subjects and take actions shots of the interview to use in the final narrative.

The Melrose Library in Roanoke City has agreed to be a partner in the project should it be funded. They will provide printing materials for advertisements and serve as a crucial junction between artists and interview subjects. We will record interviews at the library in spaces they provide. They will also host the final listen party for the community.

Your theory of change: How will the work advance your efforts as an artist toward an established goal? How will you, a partner organization, or the community be changed?

It is difficult to find any materials on local histories, but especially ones that are accessible across a variety of modalities. “Melrose: Stories of Change” will be the first project in an attempt to create an ongoing archive of oral histories from not only Melrose, but other parts of the Roanoke Area. These histories and narratives will also have transcriptions available and we hope to have them be accessed from youtube, podcasts, or similarly free and popular platforms. It will be housed in the Virginia Room at Gainsboro Library in a backed up searchable archive, and in the sound Studio of the Melrose Library as we seek opportunities to grow the archive and find more ways for the community to interact with sonic collections. Other opportunities to expand the archive will be made, but most importantly a community will have a standing testament to their own history, not lost, but easily found in shared community spaces.

How much money do you need to accomplish the project? (The allowed range is $500 – $3,000.)$3000
What other resources do you need to accomplish the project?

All resources for the project will be provided by the artist and project partners. To fully complete a searchable archive available at other library branches, more time and coordination across libraries would be needed, and likely some further technology resources. But this aspect of the project would likely be on-going and require further grant work.

Attach a full budget for your project. Include all costs and revenues. This can be a spreadsheet, word document, PDF, or image.
Submit your CV, resume, or brag sheet here.NickM_Professional_Resume__Teacher_-25.pdf
Submit a PDF of up to five images representing recent projects or works. (Max file size 10 MB). This should be one file containing multiple images. This must be a PDF. Include captions describing the work. (A PDF can easily be made using the “print as PDF” function in MS Word or “Download as PDF” in google docs.)Artist-Examples-Nick-Montgomery.pdf
Do you have general liability insurance coverage for your arts-based business, either through your own policy or through a project partner?Pramana Language Lab, LLC