Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ta Da: ERPA Artists Announced!!!

In 2008 more than 350 community stakeholders joined us for community dialogues (aka Invention Sessions) across New York City. Moving into 2009, The Field invests in seven artists who brought forth innovative ideas to generate new revenue streams from their art for their art...

Congratulations to Kahlil Almustafa, Nick Brooke, Rachel Chavkin, Connie Hall, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Jon Stancato, and Caroline Woolard.

These seven artists will be paid $5,000 to research and develop their projects under the auspices of the ERPA entrepreneurial lab. In the fall of 2009 their ideas-in-progress will be presented and publicly adjudicated to receive up to $25,000 in additional project implementation funds.

More than 100 ERPA applications were received and adjudicated by a panel of veteran arts and business leaders, including: June Choi, Shawn Cowls, Corey Dargel, Trajel Harrel, Jaki Levy, Kristin Marting, and Heather Rees. ERPA projects were selected based on their potential vision, impact, relevance, and viability.

Kahlil Almustafa will bring performance poetry to his hometown of Jamaica, Queens. Through poetry workshops at high schools, performances at theaters, and Living Room Readings, Almustafa will promote poetry as a tool for community engagement.

Nick Brooke composes collages of pop song fragments and sound effects, and then trains live performers to sound like these recordings, while creating intricate theatrical tableaus. Though he cannot release any of his music on CD due to copyright, he wants to use ERPA to create a ‘micro-commissioning’ program, in which small fragments, songs, or vignettes of a larger work are supported by smaller commissions.

Rachel Chavkin/The T.E.A.M. proposes re-envisioning the model for corporate sponsorship in the arts with the goal of solving one of the leading problems facing small companies and individual artists: the inability to afford health insurance. Through a partnership program, business and corporations will adopt theater companies and artists to form a mutually beneficial bond between the business and arts community.

Connie Hall/Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant not only generates an abundance of comic material and great food, but also offers an alternative producing model for artist-driven theater. Through the ERPA program, the actor-run theater company will develop a sustainable business model using income generated by the sale of food and beverages to support its artistic work.

JoAnna Mendl Shaw/The Equus Projects will develop their Regional Touring Program to include on-site coordinators in seven regional hubs throughout the country, enabling each to advocate on the company's behalf and cultivate performance and workshop participation. This program will build upon The Equus Projects' strong national support base, cultivating effective leadership with a handful of key supporters.

Jon Stancato/Stolen Chair proposes a way to adapt the business plan followed by most Community Supported Agricultures (CSA). Like the CSA model, Stolen Chair hopes to build a membership community which would provide ‘seed’ money for the company’s development process and then reap a year’s worth of theatrical harvests.

Caroline Woolard proposes an online peer-to-peer network where creative people can trade objects, services, and space with each other. Check out the prototype at www.OurGoods.org. There you will find a work dress designed by Caroline waiting to be traded for your skills or artwork!

These seven artists are just one piece of ERPA. In 2009 and beyond, The Field will be adding ERPA-related seminars, classes, and discussions to our core services. With that in mind, please continue to check out the ERPA blog. Embedded in the ERPA blog are a comprehensive resource guide, podcasts of the Invention Sessions, and a spotlight on innovative ideas. These resources are meant to foster dialogue, build knowledge, and incite action, above and beyond the selected ERPA projects.

“We hope you feel inspired to participate and pull from ERPA to help jumpstart your own economic revitalization. In these economically challenging times, it is incumbent upon us to work together for real answers to hard questions. There is just so much to be learned through this dialogue and research, both at The Field and in the field at large. As they say, it takes a village.”Jennifer Wright Cook, Executive Director of The Field


Bryan Moyer Suderman said...

I'm glad to have found you folks, as "economic revitalization for performing artists" and developing alternative business models for the arts has been at the core of what I've been up to for sometime now. You definitely have a new regular reader!

Like Jon Stancato, I've also been adapting the Community Supported Agriculture model for my own artistic vocation. I am now entering the third year of operation of my "CSM" (Community Supported Music) system. The "community supported music" and "sustainability and music" labels on my blog - www.smalltallmusings.blogspot.com - chronicle various thoughts and experiences with this approach over the past couple of years.

And, together with a few others who are interested in exploring this approach, we've put together a joint website - www.communitysupportedarts.com

Looking forward to reading more and learning from your thoughts and experiences of "economic revitalization for performing artists!"

cookie! said...


Wow. I love it. Perhaps we can meet and have coffee and discuss what you are doing and how The Field can support it.....I love CSM.

Jennifer W. Cook
Field, Executive Director

cookie! said...


Just realized that you are up north in Ontario. So coffee in Soho NYC is probably out of the question for a bit....But do keep me posted on CSM. I am a huge fan of alternative ways to for artists to thrive.