about the project.

Trans Boxing is an experimental, artist-run boxing club founded by Nola Hanson in 2017. For over two years the project has facilitated weekly boxing classes exclusively for trans and gender variant people in New York City. Through the Engaging Artists Fellowship, Nola’s research — largely done in collaboration with Hill Donnell, a member of Trans Boxing — has investigated applications of the sport in performance, pedagogy, and restorative practices. Their workshops are held at The Door, a youth services organization in Lower Manhattan, and at Overthrow New York. During the Covid-19 pandemic, their weekly classes are being offered virtually through Zoom. Visit transboxing.org for full details.

Given the unprecedented conditions that public schools are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nola Hanson and Hill Donnell have partnered with The James Baldwin School to teach Boxing Outside the Box, a hybrid course designed to teach youth participants the fundamental skills of boxing, while also providing theoretical, cultural, and artistic context which will support interdisciplinary and experimental engagement. In addition to boxing skill development, learning outcomes will be aimed at developing students’ LGBTQ+ literacy and awareness, critical thinking skills, and artistic exploration.

Additionally, lead artist Nola Hanson is developing an offshoot project, titled Trans Boxing Conceptual Exercises. The project invites participants to follow instructions and submit documentation of completed exercises which formalize the rituals of boxing training. The parameters of the work re-claim the day-to-experiences of the boxer and position them as conceptual artworks in and of themselves.

Trans Boxing is commissioned by More Art through the Engaging Artists Residency program. The nine-month Residency provides an opportunity for NYC-based early career and underrepresented artists to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the field of public art, and is focused on the incubation and commissioning of a public art project. The Residency carries a $8000 award to realize the project.

about the artists.

Nola Hanson is a trans artist whose practice centers the role of embodiment in contemporary social systems. Nola received their BFA in Painting and Art Criticism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014. In 2015, they started boxing at the New Bed Stuy Boxing Center, a community-run gym in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, where they continue to train. Nola’s practice includes independent work and collaborative socially engaged projects. Their work has been shown in New York, Chicago, Portland, and Milwaukee. Nola is currently an MFA candidate in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State University. 

Hill Donnell is an athlete, organizer and educator born in Torino, Italy and raised on the US Gulf Coast. Their pedagogical and creative practice seeks to engage critical perspectives on technological change, embodiment and the promise of participatory governance. Hill serves as Policy and Programs Manager at Athlete Ally, a NYC based non-profit working to end homophobia and transphobia in sport. Hill began boxing in 2016 and started organizing with Trans Boxing in 2017, shortly after moving to New York.