I’m terribly busy with projects right now and unlike many people who wear many hats, I’m sort of a non-multi-tasking multi-tasker. So, I am sorry I haven’t had the chance to write what I promised you all in my last post. But I am working on it. I’ve been marinating my thoughts and they are just about stewed enough to be a righteous gumbo of thoughts on the state of playwriting/writing for performance. In the meantime, I’ve been reading a ton of blogs about the goings on in the performance based arts/theater/dance worlds, particulary in NYC where much of our nation’s dialogue on the state of the arts is being generated. That being said, those outside of NYC are also dealing with somewhat similar issues, especially in regards to funding and sustainable communities for artists over the long haul.
If you have a chance, please check out the following letter written by the Collective Arts Think Tank . It’s an amazing letter to our communities addressing the major shift going on in the arts in this country. I feel like I experienced most of what it’s addressing first hand in terms of how the NYC arts economy currently works and how finding a way to sustain oneself over the long haul in the arts, particularly in New York City, is very much based on a number of complex factors including social/political ones that are often out of the artist’s hands, the artist’s own economic/personal background (race, gender, class, etc) and how it influences how many walls and roadblocks will be thrown in the way of a successful career. As Jennifer Wright Cook of The Field writes in one of the comments, “the arts are not a meritocracy” and therefore this school of thought that some have that only the cream of the crop rises to the top (“…if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…) is not really an honest way of thinking at all. It is, in fact, a myth of NYC. It’s actually something hard to explain unless you have lived there and struggled as an artist to find a foothold financially while attempting to also focus on developing your own voice and identity as an artist, while also making time to learn from others and see others work, take classes, and find a community of artists who are engaged in each others works and part of a larger, exciting movement (the community thing is something I have not really found, though my experiences in participating with the AUNTS is dance collective have been really amazing and close to what I imagine was happening in the 60s, 70s & 80s in NYC). Unfortunately, if something isn’t done to change the model (which is what the CATT members are attemping to have the arts community/ies address), NYC may end up losing its role as a mecca for artists in the long run.