artists in residence

“We don’t think of theater companies as teams of artists anymore. They are simply temporary homes for “hot” directors and “star” actors — and the shows they send to Broadway.”

From an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, (via

While the specific issue they address is about regional theater, I think the larger issue is universally relevant, even in NYC where we have so many theater companies. It’s like bioregionalism in agriculture and consumption or like supporting small businesses versus the chain stores. What effect does this have on art and artists?

Many years ago I took a performance studies class from a professor who was really into Jungian psychology. It was a great class, because he was such a powerful storyteller that you would find yourself nearly hypnotized. It is blurry now, but I remember one of the stories he told was about the arrival of TV in a tribal culture in a developing nation. The village had one television and they would gather around it to watch it. Eventually they just lost interest and wandered away. Someone asked them why they didn’t want to watch it anymore, saying, “Why doesn’t it interest you? It knows countless stories?” and the tribal leader answered, “Yes, but my storyteller knows me.”

In retrospect, I guess it is kind of a cheesy story. On the other hand, even cheesy stories can have truth in them. (“It’s true, even if it didn’t happen.”) There’s something inherently powerful about knowing your storyteller, knowing an artist, being a part of the world of the story. And there’s something we lose when stories and/or storytellers are just commodities.


3 thoughts on “artists in residence”

  1. John Wyszniewski says:

    Although the story you mentioned may, at first, feel disconnected from NYC art, specifically downtown theater and performance. I can’t help but think about the lack of original work on Broadway and how this trickles down to Off-Broadway, then to Off-Off-Off and then hits all of us in some way.

    I mean even a Bollywood Musical on Broadway originally produced by Andrew Llyod Webber needs to cast a “star” from American Idol in order to sell tickets.

    And yet, alternative theater continue to flourish. Why so many young artist see each other’s work and support each other. Knowing the stroryteller and seeing how they have grown and supporting each other is the key to this comuunity that us readers live and work in.

  2. Sarah Maxfield says:

    I think the burden of “knowing” lies with us storytellers and not with our audiences. In a remote tribal culture, the stories on a television are not those of the tribe. However, in contemporary America, the stories on the television are those of the culture. As artists, we must find ways to connect the stories we want to tell with those who are listening. We cannot isolate ourselves in our super-smart, oh-so-cultural, i-hate-television-ness. Come on, we all watch it. Yet, those of us who work in live performance know that the live experience offers something tv cannot. It’s up to us to connect the dots.

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  4. Jim Owens says:

    LUNA evolved to provide an Artist in Residency Program for emerging artists.

    Located in San Acacio, Colorado, USA, LUNA offers studio space for artists/healers pursuing their
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    Writers, sculptors, jewelers, painters, dancers and musicians (singers and instrumentalists), photographers,
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    There is no minimum or maximum residency requirement; each is individually negotiated. There is no
    cost to the artist for housing, and we appreciate cooperative labor efforts. Discrimination in gender,
    spirituality, sexual preference, ethnicity, etc., is contrary to the spirit of creativity we hope to engender.

    Application deadline is May 2, 2006. Phone calls for more information can be directed to Dr. James M.
    Owens, Ph.D., at 719-206-0622, and email is strongly encouraged at Written
    correspondence can be directed to Dr. James M. Owens, 401 Directa, San Acacio, CO 81151. The
    grounds and facility are not yet wheelchair accessible.

    Housed in an newly renovated schoolhouse in San Acacio, Colorado, there are 4 large Spartan sleeping
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    There is no maid service. Food is not supplied, though there are fully modern kitchen facilities. Guests
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    accommodations, with a theatre stage, earth works, painting, writing and sculpting areas. The furnishings
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    are part of the LUNA. Closest services are 8 miles away, here you can get supplies, explore galleries,
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    close airports are Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

    The area offers calm and peace, open space, beautiful vistas, (day and night), proximity to Taos and Santa
    Fe art galleries and cultural life, outdoor recreation (skiing, snowboarding, biking, hiking), Native
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    We hope that the peaceful surroundings; quaint, inspiring setting, and supportive community, will provide
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