Our story begins, as many stories do, during years of subtle conflict in a big community. After conversations on conversations on conversations, Andy Horwitz, of Culturebot and Risa Shoup, of the Invisible Dog, joined forces to launch The Brooklyn Commune as a grassroots movement to investigate funding, diversity, labor, value and a whole host of central issues in the performing arts community
(read: Andy’s Private Facebook Rants )
So, along with the help of many others, they organized a public research event on March 28th at the Invisible dog. They recruited NYU Professor Randy Martin to give a keynote on financialization of American life and artistic citizenship. The artist Cynthia Hopkins, along with financial adviser Danielle Hlatky, gave a candid view into her budgets and personal financial reality. Then, after collecting and aggregating research topics, everyone broke into discussion groups in an Open Space conversation model.
(watch: Randy Martin’s lecture)
(watch: Cynthia Hopkins and Danielle Hlatky)
From these topics, teams emerged as well as an active facebook group and the blog you are currently reading. The groups met and began the researching process.
(check out: Information about the research groups)
As the process unfolded, our heroes organized the second public research event: The Brooklyn Commune Mother’s Day Special. Writer, artist, teacher and all around super genius, Amy Whitaker, gave an illuminating presentation on art and economics. Subsequently, everyone broke into the Research Team groups to check in on each other’s progress and learn. The afternoon concluded with a Long Table featuring prominent women in the arts including Shay Wafer, Cynthia Hedstrom, Jane Comfort, and Elise Bernhardt.
(watch: Amy Whitaker’s presentation)
The research groups continued their stellar work as we also began to meet for a few Mondays to get together and chat. Kyoung Park and the Cultural Democracy team also began to conduct and publish interviews with a wide assortment of artists on their experiences.
(read: All the interviews)
The third public research session was a treat; The Brooklyn Commune Bastille Day Share-B-Q took place at The Invisible Dog’s backyard in July. There was food, beer and most importantly discussion, connection and a performance by Carrie Swim!
(watch: A vine of Carrie’s performance)
And now we look forward to the fourth Brooklyn Commune public event on September 22nd where our heroes join forces with Caleb Hammons and Prelude. Andrew Simonet will give a presentation on “Why Artists Are Poor and Why They Shouldn’t Be” and then We will have a long table on the relationship between aesthetics & the economics of cultural production with super special invited guests including Clyde Valentin, Carla Peterson, Gelsey Bell, Annie Dorsen & Shonni Enelow with more TBA and the launch of the Performing Artist Census2013, an online form dedicated to amassing anonymous information from individuals about our community’s finances. These numbers will feed directly into the final Brooklyn Commune document, giving our audience a fuller picture of a) how we spend our time, and b) where we get our money. BE COUNTED, and help to lend some real numerical weight to the arguments we’ve been hashing out.
(read: The 9/22 Event Preview)
(RSVP to the Facebook Event)
And so our heroes continue to investigate, making the world better for all. And you can be a hero, too, should you choose to accept it: come join us, the future depends you!