I recently had the opportunity to attend a salon and by salon I’m referring to a gathering of minds to further a knowledge base through dialogue. I was fortunate enough to attend this salon with 3 members equally passionate about the arts and the difficulties of producing in the arts. This included Tim Maly, Jacob Zimmer and Morgan Norwich. We talked about many different issues in areas of politics, economics, popular culture etc. There was even talk about the state of contemporary theatre in terms of the rituals that surround it. Can we return to an earlier time when theatre wasn’t such a precious occurrence? The audiences of Shakespeare didn’t come just for the “play”. They came for the gambling, the prostitution and the drink. The play was merely one part of the experience and if it wasn’t powerful enough to win over a loud and boisterous crowd then it wasn’t doing its job. By the end of the 19th century theatre had become high-class entertainment, the focus of the evening. Once we had the light bulb, audiences were plunged into darkness giving up full attention to the play. One question that came up in our discussion was: can we ever go back?
Our actual focus for this meeting was on the many outlandish ways of making money. If you begin a list of different approaches to making money, you’ll start with some typical ideas, fundraisers, special events, but eventually you’ll move into the realm of some un-tested methods. Try it, just keep listing the crazy ideas that you can think up. It’s not easy, but the result is surprising. We were able to tally a long list of different approaches to making money, not all were necessarily new ideas, but the discussion that sprang from each proved to be very insightful.
How creative can artists get when it comes to funding their art? Shouldn’t the act of fundraising be a creative pursuit, just as much as the pursuit of creating the art? Government funding is decreasing and private foundations are tightening their belts. How can we find more self-sufficient ways to build the funds we need? A sexy car-wash, $5 a scrub? (no Mom, you can’t wear that outfit!) Or maybe something long-term similar to building a donor base.
From this first meeting we will take the recorded information and build upon it. The hope is to set goals for each person within the group. These goals can include conducting research on specific issues to longer project goals that might not be easily completed on our own. Everyone is busy in their personal work and it can be an immense struggle to find time for developmental research. However, if the work load is shared, and if deadlines are set, together we might be able to explore issues that would normally seem daunting. This is why the salon exists.
Looking forward to our next meeting, the salon is growing.
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