This morning ART/NY hosted an SRO forum on where the arts live in New York City's current fiscal crisis. 3 of NY's most powerful women spoke articulately about where we are, what we can do and how we can do it. First, not from them but from me: everything I am hearing on the ground level is "it will get worse." I am not being a scaremonger but I want to make sure that we are actively looking forward and thinking about how we can ensure our survival (and our "thrival".) Second:
THREE THINGS I LEARNED FROM LOULOUDES, LEVIN AND RAGSDALE (paraphrased and bastardized!):
1) Redefine your mission in relation to people! It's not enough that you make intriguing experimental theater, alas. Who are you making it for? How are you engaging them?
2) Growth doesn't equal impact. Focus on the depth of engagement of your audience and build loyalty and commitment.
3) People do have time for the arts. They have time for great art that engages them and considers them. They do not have time for art that leaves them out of the picture.
P.S. Aggregate don't separate!! It looks like there is a "cultural aggregator portal" in the works!! The big 3 are working on it and believe in it. Based on recommender sites like Amazon, if you bought a ticket for "The Seagull" you might get a recommendation for "The Cherry Orchard" at PS122 or an exhibit at the Audobon on birds! or a biography on Kristin Scott Thomas (currently playng Arkadina!) or a band that plays 19th century Russian music. As Jack on "Lost" says (stupidly but true?): "live together or die alone." If you want to survive this madcap time, partner, collaborate, aggregate, unify.
THANK YOU to these 3 amazing ladies for once again inspiring, edifying, and provoking us.