Brooklyn Commune Global Congress November 22-24, 2013


(NB: Admission is free and open to the public, but $10 weekend passes are available at with all proceeds going to support the printing costs of the final report. Help spread the word! Download the official press release here).

Both at home and across the country there is a lot of talk about Creative Cities, Creative Placemaking and The Creative Economy, but when the leaders of cultural institutions, foundations and city governments gather to make policy, artists are often underrepresented if not left out of the conversation entirely.

From Friday November 22 to Sunday November 24 at The Invisible Dog Art Center, The Brooklyn Commune Project, the largest artist-driven, grassroots initiative of its kind, will host a full weekend of thought-provoking presentations, performances and conversations about the economic conditions of performing arts ecology and their impact  on the lives of working artists in New York City.

The Brooklyn Commune Global Congress is the culmination of an eight-month investigation of the economic dilemma of the performing arts—the corrosive impact of ongoing systemic dysfunction on the ability of artists to maintain viable creative lives in the city.  The Congress will be a three-day participatory event sharing the findings of this collaborative research. Participants will work collectively to develop a platform of positions and recommendations for creating a sustainable performing arts ecology.

This artist-driven convening will bring together artists, administrators, institutions, funders and other cultural thought leaders to collectively envision an arts and culture sector that is healthy, diverse and sustainable. The goal of the Congress is to identify meaningful, actionable solutions to systemic challenges, and to identify pathways toward a vibrant, dynamic, inclusive and resilient future for arts and culture in NYC and America.

Friday, November 22 at 6PM —The Congress opens for registration and cocktails.   Introductory remarks by co-organizers Andy Horwitz and Risa Shoup will be followed by a performance from Montreal-based musician Jordan Officer and a keynote address.  The evening will conclude with introductory statements by Brooklyn Commune research coordinators and a presentation of the findings from the 2013 Performing Arts Census.

Saturday, November 23rd at 10AM  – The day will consist of a series of participatory programs including The MAP Fund Impersonation Game where artists will pretend to be panelists for the MAP Fund and review one other’s applications; an Economic Dilemma Seder using a “haggadah” based on Baumol & Bowen’s seminal 1966 study “Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma;”;  a Long Table discussion on race, gender, and privilege called “The Uncomfortable Conversation;” and an independent producers’ budget charette exploring the real economics of working outside of institutions.

Saturday night at 8PM the Brooklyn Commune Global Congress continues with a special edition of CATCH. Recently named by the Village Voice “Best Ambulatory Feast of Experimental Performance,” CATCH is a multi-disciplinary, hydra-headed platform for performance mayhem and social debauchery. CATCH 58 will feature work by Gelsey Bell ! Erin Courtney, Ken Rus Schmoll & Rick Burkhardt ! Eric Dyer ! Nellie Tinder ! Melinda Ring ! Title : Point ! Emily Wexler ! and Ben Williams !

For the past decade, CATCH has sustained itself with an alternative economic structure in which every show starts and ends with a $0.00 balance. Here’s how it works: Box Office Income – Direct Expenses / (# of artists & organizers) = WAGE$. Your $15 supports the costs of the evening AND gets you FREE BEER!

(NB: Admission to CATCH is separate from Commune Congress, which is FREE. However, $10 weekend passes to the Congress are available at with all proceeds going to support the printing costs of the final report.)

Sunday, November 24 at 11AM:  The Congress continues with a working session on artists, real estate, finance and the law, featuring a panel discussion led by Genan Zilkha, an attorney and legal advocate, considering the following topics: property acquisition, contract execution and licensing, and lease negotiation/renegotiation.  Panelists include Aaron Pierce, Andrew Muchmore and others TBA.  The Congress will conclude with a participatory collaborative creation session to craft a vision of a livable future for artists in NYC.

While admission is free and open to the public, $10 weekend passes to the Congress are available at with all proceeds going to support the printing costs of the final report.

The Brooklyn Commune Global Congress, Friday November 22 – Sunday November 24, 2013 at The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Admission is free and open to the public, $10 weekend passes are available with all proceeds going to support the printing costs of the final report. For more information visit

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