the power, and importance, of original art

I am a creative producer and arts maker.

I have dedicated over half my life to the production of original artistic works. I have over 20 years of experience in most aspects of theatre production and for two years I served as the Executive Producer of the Boulder International Fringe Festival and became an advocate for the world-wide Fringe movement. Within the Fringe, and without, I work to help original, independent artists find performance spaces, find materials, staff, design, promote, negotiate rates, set up ticketing, but most of all produce their story – their art.

wild time
original art is wild

I do not limit what type of art I produce, support, advocate for, or create. At first this was a conscious decision to stay working, sort of a “feast or famine” mentality where I tried not to turn down ANY work. Over time, I was privileged to work with artists of many different disciplines: theatre artists, dancers, puppeteers, clowns, aerialists, singers, bands, performance artists, storytellers, poets, circus artists, and many others that defy a singular title for their amazing work. I now find it thrilling to dive into producing art with different artists of various artistic disciplines – it’s is the ultimate collaboration! I look forward to taking a leap with an artist, or company of artists, in order to support their creations.

But why do I, and countless others, do this? Why do we dedicate ourselves to original art rather than working with more traditional art works, performance spaces, and production methods? Why do we eschew regular paychecks, job security, and other forms of “success” to support the creation of original art – original stories? Why risk it?

We do it because we are brave. And foolish. We have hope, and we have passion. We know that art can change the world – we see it every day, we want you to see it. We are committed to supporting art that makes the world a better place. We work to make art accessible (in so many ways) and original art profitable for the creators. Many of us believe that “Art holds a mirror up to life” and that original art has the power to explore the human condition in tremendous ways.

“…for any thing so o’erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose

end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ’twere the

mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own

image, and the very age and body of the time his form and

pressure.”

Hamlet Act 3, scene 2

Please do not mistake me, there are ancient, classical, and modern artworks that are incredibly valid, and perfect, and mesmerizing. The stories presented in these artworks are timeless, real, and hauntingly human. But original work, no matter where it is found or how one engages with it, has the power to effect real and necessary change.

The power of art comes from showing us where we have been, where we are going, and who we are.

Sometimes, the reflection is bleak. Sometimes the reflection is joyful. Sometimes the reflection is too dark, or too bright, to look directly at. Sometimes you see yourself, your story, and it affects you even more deeply.

If you let it. The thing about original art is that you have to take a risk; it may be the worst thing you have ever experienced or it may be the absolute best (most likely it will be somewhere in between!). The thing is YOU have to commit to engaging with the artist or artists on their terms if you want to experience their work. You cannot walk away or ignore the experience. You have to be present. You have to be open to the performance and the experience that is created. You must be brave.

In times of of strife, confusion, fear, and growth, original art can light a beacon of truth and hope and change. Engage with original art, and the independent art makers that created it. Explore all the forms of art that you can find,  and discover what you like (and what you don’t!), what you appreciate, and what moves you.

It’s up to you. You have to be brave.

But the rewards will be great!

***

 

One last thought:

“Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, ‘The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

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