Had a very stimulating conversation about the Thriving Arts Report that I've been talking about so much, and other related concepts, with Scott Walters (the originator of the <100k) and a couple of his colleagues. Will report on that soon.
Before that conversation, however, I was listening to a very interesting report on NPR from the ad agency world.
It seems that there was this ad agency in downtown Manhattan that decided to take advantage of the high unemployment currently seen amongst ad-men. Their solution: they decided to open up their empty office space to any ad men who want to come in and look for jobs. Ad people began to arrive with laptops, and would just sit and log on and spend the day looking for jobs in an atmosphere of support.
Why did the ad agency do this? Well, when the ad agency had a client, they would brainstorm with the unemployed ad people for ideas. And they would present those ideas amongst their own to their client. And if their client liked an idea that one of the unemployed ad people had come up with, then they would hire the ad guy.
Now in the world of copyright, that's completely ridiculous. You have to have the rights for ideas or else you can't touch them. But that's not the soapbox I'm on.
What if we could do that in the arts?
The theater company I'm in the process of forming is going to have a process-driven project in the fall, generating a performance. What if I opened up rehearsal to whomever wanted to come and watch, and if people contributed more and more, they would find themselves more and more involved in the product, and if they didn't, well then--who cares?
My theater company is a bad example because we're small and don't have the resources to pay ourselves, much less other artists. But larger organizations could. They could take the risk and simply invite designers or writers or anyone useful to sit in on rehearsal and give feedback, and the better the relationship goes, the more they work together in the future.
Just a thought. Will report back more later today on the topic of developing arts in communities.