American Artscape Notable Quotable: Toby MacNutt

By Carolyn Coons
Man dressed all in blue on crutches outside.

Artist Toby MacNutt. Photo by Owen Leavey

"On a broad, meta level, there are connections between the ways queer people and trans people continually reinvent ourselves and the creativity involved in existing in an ableist world. Creativity is part of that lived experience, and it’s important to me in performing and in writing to represent that as authentically as I can.

The definition [for dance] I tend to use is making an intentional choice about movement or stillness—about movement of your body and how it is seen, which we don’t have to be on a stage to do. As a disabled person, that feels really important as someone whose ability to move my body and ability to engage with dance as an art form fluctuates a lot—there’s a pandemic and I live in a fairly geographically remote area. How I connect to things, when I can do them, how I can do them can all look really different, but it doesn’t mean it’s not possible or not valid."

Art has been an integral part of multidisciplinary artist Toby MacNutt’s life since childhood. MacNutt (they/them) has been dancing since they were enrolled in their first class at five years old. Their grandmother taught them to knit and sew in elementary school, an age when they also began writing poetry and stories. MacNutt’s creative practices have continually evolved since childhood, challenging systems and structures in order to create space for their work to exist. They spoke with us about how their art is deeply informed by their lived experience as a queer, nonbinary-trans, disabled person for the latest issue of American Artscape, which focuses on Artful Lives.