June 26, 2010
Special link~MADE HERE Project
I was tipped off to this amazing video blog project from the HERE Arts Center by a director friend. The MADE HERE Project is exploring, through video interviews with New York performing artists of all stripes, a broad range of the challenges and issues facing those working in the performing arts, and telling the stories of how a number of individual artists have responded to the problems that attend this line of work. Currently available issues of 3 episodes apiece are “Creative Real Estate,” on the issue of finding and keeping affordable space, and “Day & Night Jobs,” about survival jobs and the constant negotiation between finances and the erratic nature of performing arts work. Upcoming episodes this summer will include Activism, Technology, and Family Balance; I’m particularly looking forward to the last one.
I watched all the available episodes straight through. Things that struck me: the disassociation between a popular conception of the arts as being by and for the elite, and the realities of the artists profiled, most of whom have at least one additional job, or live or work in circumstances that many people would consider intolerable, having to constantly be scavenging for space or resources or paying work. The seeming lack of a real question as to whether they should be doing what they’re doing, whether they should make a living in some more stable way. And what looks like an almost complete inability to see or consider impossibility. There is only ever a question of how.