Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ART ECONOMICS: Getting Paid?

I have always been a big proponent of following your heart and doing exactly what you want to do. It sounds so simple, right? But there are people who spend years—decades, even—trying to find a true sense of purpose for themselves. My advice? Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed. 
It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life.
Meanwhile, Amanda Palmer says, don't charge money for music, ask people to pay. I feel like this month, I see an article weekly about either reporters, musicians, writers, performers, or other creative individuals either accepting that being paid is no longer a part of the paradigm, or raging against the same trend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

LOCAL2013: Meet The Candidates II - District Breakdown

I've mentioned before the League of Independent Theater Meet the Candidates 2013 event which brought together 20-odd candidates to debate areas of arts policy as pertains to a specific arts platform, and their campaigns for 2013.

Above is a chart gathered by our diligent and faithful box office team, showing which districts the attendees came from.

Three quick observations:

  • Manhattan 3 -- this is Speaker Christine Quinn's district, which she is vacating, providing for an open race. It includes both Times Square and Greenwich village, so it's no surprise that the performing arts would be well represented. And we had two interesting activist candidates running for the seat in attendance -- Corey Johnson and Yetta Kurland
  • Manhattan 6 -- also an open seat, as Councilwoman Gale Brewer is running for Manhattan Borough President (her opponents Robert Jackson and Julie Menin were in attendance). Covers the Upper West Side. Two candidates were in attendance: Marc Landis and Mel Wymore.
  • Queens 26 -- Now, this surprised me. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (Chair of the Cultural Affairs committee) gave a rousing set of opening remarks, but he's an incumbent and didn't have any opponents on hand. Is it because he's a passionate supporter of the arts? Is it because Long Island City is a new performing arts haven, with quick access to the City? Was it the presence of Peter Vallone, Jr. who is running for Queens Borough President?
As we get further into this, I'm planning on doing deeper dives on the interesting candidates, on the interesting races, and on the endorsements that the League is making. For right now, I'm just mulling over it, and hoping that the video is online very soon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

LOCAL2013: Meet the Candidates Forum... Met the Candidates!

I'm pretty gosh-darn exhausted, but initial impressions upon getting home from the Meet the Candidates Forum was that a packed-full room of enthusiastic, interested artists was presented by four full panels of city-wide candidates who spoke -- at times humorously, at times substantively, at times passionately -- about what exactly can be done for the arts, and for artists.

It was a shot in the arm, and a kick in the butt. Now comes the hard work -- voting on candidates to endorse, and then fighting to get them elected. But we're in the room, and we're being heard.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

HOW WE MAKE THE CASE: It's Fair To Get Paid

An artist really eloquently puts why it's important for artists to get paid for their work:

It's becoming a bigger and bigger cultural conversation, whether it's the Upright Citizens Brigade or The Atlantic. As the technology of mass communication (and, with 3D printing, duplication), the economics of "Free" is going to become a bigger and thornier issue. A larger-than-ever slice of our economy is going to be maintained by freelancers and consultants, and that can be a double-edged sword.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

LOCAL2013: The First Step Towards Having A Voice is to Show Up

That's right. If you say you do socially conscious work, or you think that the City could be doing more to be supporting the arts, then you have no excuse not to come to the League of Independent Theater's Meet the Candidates Forum this Tuesday, March 12th, 6:45PM at the Players on Gramercy.

Here are the politicians who are going to be there:

Opening Remarks by 
Jimmy Van Bramer, City Council Member and Chair, Cultural Committee
Keynote Address by 
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President

Tom Allon (Mayoral)
Kevin Coenen Jr. (Mayoral)
Robert Jackson (Manhattan Borough President)
Julie Menin (Manhattan Borough President)
Peter Vallone, Jr. (Queens Borough President
Letitia James (Public Advocate)

Jenifer Rajkumar (CC Manhattan 1)
Corey Johnson (CC Manhattan 3)
Yetta Kurland (CC Manhattan 3)
Ben Kallos (CC Manhattan 5)
Hill Krishnan (CC Manhattan 5)
Marc Landis (CC Manhattan 6)
Mel Wymore (CC Manhattan 6)
Mark Levine (CC Manhattan 7)
Cheryl Pahaham (CC Manhattan 7)
Angel Molina (CC Manhattan/Bronx 8)
William Russell Moore (CC Bronx 18)
Matthew Silverstein (CC Queens 19)
Laurie Cumbo (CC Brooklyn 35)
Kimberly Council (CC Brooklyn 37)

That's right, from across the city, these candidates are going to be telling us why the League of Independent Theater should endorse them.

And if you attend, you can vote and tell us who should get the endorsement.

They're going to be discussing this platform:

As a pro-performing arts elected official, I will work to:

1. Create access to low-cost and/or no-cost Community Facilities Spaces that are currently available and remain unused throughout the City through the creation of a Community Facilities Space Database.
2. Create access to empty and unused City property to be re-purposed as temporary rehearsal, office and (if appropriate), performance space.
3. Include non-profit performance venues in the favorable electricity and utility rates enjoyed by religious institutions and the VFW.
4. Implement a proposal that would reduce or eliminate property tax assessments for those non-profit organizations that have an artistic mission and/or rent performance space to similar non-profit performing arts groups with artistic missions of their own. This proposal was unanimously ratified by all twelve (12) Manhattan Community Boards.
5. Secure affordable permanent low-cost housing for working artists. In addition, work to provide access to affordable healthcare for these artists, depending on the status and reach of the Affordable Care Act at the time of negotiations.
6. Support the commission of an economic impact study for the independent theater territory.
7. Work with the Department of Cultural Affairs to expand the Cultural Institutions Group to include the independent theater sector’s anchor venues.
8. Install plaques at sites of historical import and rename streets after the founders of the independent and Off-Off Broadway community.

It's all there -- clear, immediate ways that these politicians can make an impact for our local artistic community. And you can't influence unless you come.

Please RSVP now -- we've had to turn away candidates and we will be packed from floor to ceiling. The initial response has been overwhelming, and if we follow through on this, we can actually have a big political impact this election.