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Inside Arts explores issues critical to the field through in-depth features, interviews and member news.
In this digital landscape accelerated by the pandemic, APAP's quarterly print magazine has been paused. Look for more digital content from Inside Arts in the future.
NIVA and the Case for Creative Sector Collaboration
It’s a tax status, not an attitude
By Jill Robinson
I’ve been thinking about the variety of business models and players in our global arts and cultural ecosystem since this pandemic began. It struck me first because it seemed that other similarly affected industries had a collective voice, like travel and restaurants. They were getting public reaction, media support. But in arts and culture and live entertainment, there are so many siloed operators. Creative businesses, all. But with different legal statuses, incentives and postures.
My breath was taken away a little when in late summer I saw that the U.K. had this “collective voice thing” better in hand. The country’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) allocated £1.57 billion to something it titled the Culture Recovery Fund to support culture, arts and heritage institutions, including charitable and commercial entities. This in a region where the arts and cultural economy delivers .05% of total gross domestic product (GDP). In America, by contrast, the same sector contributed 4.3% of GDP (National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), March 30, 2021)—more than the construction, transportation and warehousing, travel and tourism, mining, utilities and agriculture industries. In this country, Congress allocated $75 million to the NEA, and then artists and businesses—for-profit and non-profit alike—had to seek and search for other, generic financial support in a myriad of places at the local, state and federal levels.
Fast-forward to this past Thursday, May 6, when the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) received the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals at its inaugural APAP Honors. I’ve just joined that board, and I watched with enthusiasm as Rev. Moose and Dayna Frank, two of the co-founders of the organization who have full-time gigs elsewhere, accepted on NIVA’s behalf this recognition of advocacy impact for the full arts ecology. Frank said, “it was truly wonderful to work across the non-profit and for-profit sectors…with government entities…and come together as one arts economy and creative economy to achieve relief for our industry.” Read full article.
What We Know, What We Don’t Know… and What We Can Do: The Performing Arts Community Finding Its Way Forward
By Jacqueline Z. Davis
For the performing arts community, the fall is time is usually filled with frenetic preparation, anticipation, and hope for the new season. However, we continue to find ourselves in a world turned upside down with shuttered theaters. Faced with a pandemic and an economy that will remain in partial shutdown for months to come, let us use this time to gather up what we know, what we don’t know… and ideas for what we can do.
What we know is that we are still in a crisis of major proportions. In New York, stage lights on Broadway went dark on March 12. We thought that in a matter of weeks artists would be working again on Broadway, off Broadway, and in regional theatres; dancers would be dancing; musicians would be playing again for devoted audiences. Weeks became months as the coronavirus continued to take lives and livelihoods. What we know now is the country won’t be going back to normal any time soon. Read full article.
Bill T. Jones: STAND UP STRONGER
By Alicia Anstead
Over the years, I’ve learned that a conversation with the dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones can go just about anywhere. I called him this month to talk about the state of the performing arts field, and he was game for that. As always, the conversation took many turns, from the mundane (his morning exercise routine, tending the garden, books he’s reading – Don Quixote and essays by Hannah Arendt - watching big splashy historical TV show such as Ertugrul) to the profound (just about everything else we discussed). The following represents a condensed and edited version of our conversation, complete with shared frustrations, adaptations and insights about the field.
A bit of background: When the nation began to shut down in March due to Covid-19, Jones was busily teching Deep Blue Sea, a work that was to be shown at MASS MoCA in Massachusetts. He was onsite there with 100 people, including the company dancers and leaders from New York Live Arts, where he is artistic director. Because of the virus, they had to pack up and leave suddenly.
Seven months later, when we spoke by phone, he told me about another work – Curriculum – that he created in April. It was to be mounted a week later under very strict protocols – physical distancing, masks, greatly reduced live audience members who had to be Covid-tested. He was uncertain it would even take place. You’ll see as you read, however, that Jones is no stranger to uncertainty. What surprised me is his commitment to hope. Read full article.