Meet The BKCP
The BKCP report is the culmination of eight months of hard work. In numeric terms it represents about 3165 person-hours of labor and a combined cost of more than $130K mostly of in-kind donations of labor and resources with about $8K in cash donations by the coordinating committee and report authors Jessica Applebaum, Dorit Avganim, Kimberly Bartosik, Nick Benacerraf, Max Dana, Seth Hamlin, JJ Lind, Liz Maxwell, Kyoung H. Park, Tara Sheena, Risa Shoup and Monica Snellings.
But more importantly it is evidence of what can be done through creativity, commitment and collaboration. We used the same processes for this project that many of us use to make performances; it is a process that is incredibly challenging and infinitely rewarding.
We have met amazing people through this project. From the core coordinating committee to the Facebook group, from avid attendees to casual participants, everyone has brought something unique to the conversation; everyone has added some insight, perspective or provocation to the research.
Our colleagues who self-identified as core members have coordinated research teams and organized events, joked, argued, disagreed and compromised, taught each other, pushed each other and helped each other grow as artists and individuals. It is humbling to realize how many people gave so much of their time, intellect and imagination to this project, and inspiring to think that we have all found something profound and important in ourselves and in each other.
Here are the people who wrote this report:
Jess Applebaum is a dramaturg, creative producer, and literary manager based in NYC and its boroughs. She celebrates twelve years of working with the international theatre company One Year Lease (www.oneyearlease.org). In 2004 she earned her Master’s Degree in Performance Studies at NYU and served as editorial assistant for TDR: The Drama Review. Jess is a contributing scholar for Columbia University Press’ Encyclopedia of Modern Drama (edited by Gabrielle H. Cody and Evert Sprinchorn) and Routledge’s Reading Contemporary Performance: Theatricality Across Genres (edited by Gabrielle H. Cody and Meiling Cheng) which is slated for publication in 2015. She was a Shubert Presidential Scholar at Columbia University where she received her MFA in Dramaturgy in 2012. Jess devises theatrical performances with Enthuse Theater and Yinzerspielen and regularly works with Culturebot.org
Dorit Avganim is a producer and manager having worked for independent arts companies and other nonprofit groups in NYC including: PearlDamour, The Assembly, Elders Share the Arts, CollaborationTown, The Representatives, IRT Theater, The Debate Society (Blood Play), Half Straddle, Rainpan43 (Elephant Room), LMCC, and Pick Up Performance Co(s) among others. She is a performer and artist working continuously to develop her craft while offering logistical support to others as co-founder of Neighborhood Productions. Avganim continues to work in TV and Film as a producer and production manager. She is currently earning an MS in Nonprofit Management at the New School. She is also co-artistic director of arts collective Group Theory.
Kimberly Bartosik is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer and writer. She is deeply grateful for everyone who has supported and believed in her artistic and intellectual work, and is very excited to be a contributor to the Brooklyn Commune vision. www.daela.org
Nick Benacerraf is a visual artist, organizer, and creative thinker whose work activates and transforms social structures. His practice travels freely between the theater and the gallery, and often into the classroom and the streets. Nick is co-artistic director of The Assembly, a Brooklyn-based collective that creates rigorously-researched collaborative performances, com- mitted to realizing a visceral and intelligent theater for a new generation (assemblytheater.org). Nick has collaborated with the Living Theatre, Richard Foreman, The Yes Men, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, Occupy Wall Street, Waterwell, La Mama, Son of Semele Ensemble, and won an LA Weekly Set Design Award for THE CITY. Nick holds a BA from Wesleyan University, an MFA in Design from CalArts, and an MA in Aesthetics and Politics, also from CalArts. www.nickbenacerraf.com
Max Dana is a Brooklyn-based performer, director, and mask designer. He currently serves as Producing Director of the perfor- mance collective Immediate Medium and as technology lead for A.R.T./New York’s ArtsPool project, a new initiative designed to create a collective framework for nonprofit arts management.
Seth Hamlin is an artist, graphic designer and arts administrator living in Brooklyn. He is the co-founder of the Stable Cable Lab Co. with whom he co-created and directed the devised piece The Eden Project, Christopher Shinn’s The Coming World and a read- ing of Sara Farrington’s the edge of sleep and other short plays. He has performed solo works at Theatre 80 and Theatre for the New City. As a visual artist he had an installation included in The Puck Gallery’s exhibit “Positions of Conflict” in 2011 and is cur- rently working on a series of abstract compositions using tape on paper. He was a 2010–2011 Resident Artist with Artists4Israel where he developed and presented the interactive performance piece “Self-Portrait” and the auto-theater piece, “And Eat It, Too.” He was one of the 2010–2011 NYU Emerging Jewish Artist Fellows and was a member of the Hangar Theatre Summer Lab Company. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently a proud member of the staff at A.R.T./New York.
JJ Lind is a Brooklyn-based artist and arts manager. He is the Artistic Director of Immediate Medium, a performance and producing collective he cofounded in 2002. As an arts manager, JJ has served as the Executive Director of The Civilians and as the Director of Strategic Integration for New York Live Arts. In this latter role, he worked closely with Live Arts leadership to manage the merger and integration its founding partners, Dance Theater Workshop and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Previously, JJ served as the Director of Development for New York Live Arts and in that same capacity at the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, where he was a critical member of the team brokering, planning, and executing the merger. JJ is a graduate of Yale University with a degree in Theater Studies and is originally from Vinita, Oklahoma. For more info, visit www.immediatemedium.org
Kyoung H. Park is Artistic Director of Pacific Beat Collective and the first Korean playwright from Latin America to be produced and published in the United States. He is author of Sex and Hunger, disOriented, Walkabout Yeolha, TALA, and many short plays including Mina, which is published in Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas. He is recipient of an Edward Albee, Theater of the Oppressed and Global Arts Village fellowship; grants from the Princess Grace, Arvon, GK foundations and a 2010 UNESCO-Aschberg Laureate. Kyoung has worked internationally in Chile, Brazil, South Korea, India and is member of the Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, EST’s Youngblood, and Soho Theater’s Hub. BFA: Dramatic Writing (NYU); MA: International Politics (KHU); MFA: Playwriting (Columbia Univ., Dean’s Fellow).
Risa Shoup is the Associate Director of The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn. She works to provide artists with the fi- nancial and workspace resources they need to create work that the public can experience accessibly and in non-tradition- al spaces. In addition to her work at the The Invisible Dog, she has worked with many other presenting and artist services organizations including chashama, BRIC, Recession Art, and The Wassaic Project (where she remains a member of the Artist Advisory Committee). She has lectured, curated and served as guest critic at countless other NYC institutions and across the country. She is also currently a graduate fellow in the Program for Sustainability, Planning and Design at the Pratt Institute. Shoup studies the production of affordable space for housing, manufacturing and the arts (they are inextricably linked).
Monica Snellings is a designer, producer, and art director with over 25 years of experience working with cultural arts organizations, foundations, museums, non-profits and government entities. She is currently working on a MFA in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and Washington DC. She is committed through design to a more effective, effiecient, sustainable and just world. www.msnellings.com
Liz Maxwell is a theater director, physical performer, and researcher of culture. For three years, Liz served as the Artistic Director and Programming Director of the Art Monastery Project, an international non-profit that cultivates personal awakening and cultural transformation through art, contemplation, and community. Liz lived at the Project’s pilot site, Art Monastery Italia, for 3 years before moving to New York City in fall 2013. She is working on a book about theater and spirituality, writing a new work for the stage, and constantly dreaming about what a vibrant, sustainable world for the arts might look like. www.Lizziemax.com
Tara Sheena graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Dance and English. Since relocating to NYC in 2011, she has enjoyed an active freelance career as a dance artist, most recently for Heidi Duckler (quartiers Danses commission) and Eddie Peake (Performa 13). Tara has also contributed regularly to Dance Informa and The Dance Enthusiast. Her writing has appeared in Critical Correspondence, Art Observed, Culturebot and the Huffington Post. In addition to performance projects, she is currently assisting with research for two upcoming book releases by Dr. Angela Kane (Paul Taylor A to Z, University of Michigan Press 2015) and Clare Croft (Funding Footprints: Dance and American Diplomacy, Oxford University Press 2015).
Our work, documented and disseminated online, has occasioned inquiries from San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Austin and Portland, from London, Berlin and Budapest. They want to know what we’re doing; they are following us from afar and looking to us as they move forward.
From time to time you may notice the phrase “performed arts” instead of “performing arts”. This neologism is used when possible and appropriate to remind us that the “live performing arts” must in fact be performed, live, by a working performer.
This report isn’t an argument for more, and better, funding — although we certainly would be pleased if that was a result of our efforts. Rather, this document is the culmination of our collaborative, creative investigation into the problems we face, that are presented to us as intractable and immutable. This document is an informed response, a call to see things differently, an invitation to change; we propose a complete redesign of the existing system and are embarking on the creation of a new one. This document is meant to begin a conversation to change America’s perspective on who artists are, what they do, and the impact of our work on society — not merely in economic terms, but in terms of how art benefits individuals, groups and communities, and strengthens the very fabric of our nation.
We started this project out of concern for the urgent material needs of our community, exacerbated by a lack of tangible facts about our conditions or commonly held knowledge of how we arrived at this moment in time. We have prepared this report to share our findings with our colleagues and assert our voice in the wider conversation, to educate ourselves and bring our collective creative imagination to bear on seemingly intractable problems.
We were surprised to discover that no problems are intractable, depending on how you look at them, and we’re hopeful that we may offer new perspectives and promote an alternative vision of a healthy, vibrant and diverse arts ecology in America.
It has been an amazing journey just to get to the starting line, and now we are at the beginning of something new. We hope you will join us.