09/09/2011 - Posted by Freddie Ashley|
These are tough times. The news today that GA Shakespeare has initiated an emergency campaign it tinged with an uncomfortable echo of familiarity. It’s like déjà vu, only across town. When I read that email from GA Shakespeare’s Richard Garner today, I got a lump in my throat. I remember so vividly the uncertainty that comes along with initiating a “Save the Theatre” campaign. That said, I am very optimistic that they will make it through to fight another day, as did we.
After the initial emotional reaction, I found myself getting angry. Not at anyone in particular, mind you, but at the perilous condition of the arts in our community. We are in the midst of a bonafide arts crisis in this community. And it’s time to fix it.
It’s time for arts organizations to innovate and transform outdated business models.
It’s time for the state government to get serious about arts funding.
It’s time for the business community, beyond the current stalwart few, to get behind the arts community in a real way.
It’s time for tastemakers and influence peddlers to put the arts at the forefront of the conversation.
It’s time for those few individuals with the means to do so to step forward and recognize that a vibrant cultural community is a cornerstone of a great international city and make a gesture to back that up.
And it’s time for everyone whose lives are touched by the arts to become an advocate for the arts.
Spread the word.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of the value the arts play not only in the wider community but in individual lives. If you feel that way, get out there and spread the word. Don’t let government leaders sit on their hands while their colleagues cut life-changing and life-saving arts programs from schools. Don’t stand for the naysayers who tell you that the arts are frivolous.
The arts are an economic engine and God knows we need as many of those as we can get right now.
Children who participate in the arts are likelier to go to college and less likely to engage in risky behavior (drugs, teenage pregnancy, etc.).
Stand up for the arts. Talk your neighbors. Buy tickets. Donate money. Pass that postcard you receive in the mail along to a friend instead of tossing it out. Talk about the work you see. Blog about it. Send emails to your friends. Do it because it makes common sense. Do it because it matters. And do it because it is the right thing to do.
The arts will survive, but we need a new infusion of urgency and passion to navigate the treacherous paradigm shift we are currently in the midst of. And if I’ve written anything in this blog that offends, put forth a counter-suggestion. Hell, start an argument with me! Let’s get talking about the arts.
You might sell more tickets if your prices were noted...just sayin'
I certainly won't purchase anything without knowing the price beforehand -- just a suggestion to the individual in charge of promotions and sending info to the public...more $$$ info needed, please.
01/09/2012 - Posted by Michele
Let's call a convocation of all us local producers and plan a course of action. United, we will be formidable. Thank you, Freddie, for leading the charge. The amount of talent here is staggering; everywhere I go the quality of work from actors, designers and directors amazes me. Atlanta theatre has never been better, and I'll wash cars and bake cookies to save it. When do we meet?
09/10/2011 - Posted by Ed Howard
Thank you for your supportive and challenging comments Freddie. As a long time board member of 7 Stages Theatre and an avid patron of all Atlanta's theatres and arts in general, I am continually informed and inspired by the work that is being presented. We need the arts now more that ever to help us "navigate the treacherous paradigm shift" we are currently in.
09/10/2011 - Posted by Lynn Meyer
Freddie, this is a wonderful post. I wasn't aware until a few days ago that Actor's Express went through a similar (successful) campaign earlier this year. Atlanta has one of the most thriving performing arts communities I've ever seen and it's awesome to see the outpouring of support from the community in the past couple of days.
Let's keep GA Shakes alive!
09/10/2011 - Posted by Tucker Weinmann
Thank you for this post. Please continue to stay angry.
I agree, very much so, that innovation is the way to help beat this crisis. But also collaboration--higher community initiatives that help us unite. We are being left behind in technology, business model innovation and strategic planning. If we want to be taken serious, we need to address these issues. It is not business as usual---nor is it funding as usual. How much of us have 20% to set aside for innovation when payroll is a challenge?
Let's talk about the arts. Let's talk about community building. I am ready. But being from a young organization, we often get overlooked. Where are the leaders? You can only lead when you have people to follow you.
Why do the arts always carry the burden of proof? Why is the question always "how much impact do you provide? A true paradigm shift is "what are we losing by not funding the arts adequately?" The burden of proof needs to be lifted.
09/09/2011 - Posted by Jessyca Holland
The lights MUST stay on at GA Shakespeare and at Actor's Express. Freddie Ashley is correct: the arts are a driving force in our economy. If the general public realized how many jobs that professional theater organizations in Atlanta created, they would be surprised. Children in arts programs are much more likely to succeed in higher education and are more likely to be accepted in college, and hired later. Recruiters love to see applicants with theater experience, for example. The recruiters know what personal discipline it takes to be a part of a successful arts collective. I call upon the State of Georgia to boost our economy by funding jobs, jobs, jobs in Atlanta. The tourists are begging for something to do besides languish in hotel rooms.
09/09/2011 - Posted by Linda Baker
Freddie, I couldn't have said it better myself. We need new ways of reaching people, and it's time for community to back your local arts organizations again. In this age of technology, people forget that human connection and interaction is crucial to the development of our spirits and our home community.
I am currently in the process of starting a company here in New York with some of my fellow colleagues from Southern Miss, and these questions that you bring up here are the exact things that we are grappling with in attempting to bring our work to life.
Artists thrive on inspiration and motivation, but to financially do what is needed always seems to be that tack that pricks us at the worst of times..
Theatre folk can seclude themselves from those not involved in the arts, but it is our job to reach out to EVERYONE in our community with passion. The arts will always be a reflection of our community, holding a mirror up to nature if you will.
Keep fighting GA Shakes! And keep it going down at AE Freddie!
I dig your anger! And I am with you!
09/09/2011 - Posted by Sal
887 W. Marietta St. Suite J-107, Atlanta, GA 30318
Box Office: 404.607.SHOW(7469)