We believe that artists need to be able to connect with one another to share information and resources, to collaborate with one another, and to inspire each other. It’s great to be able to connect with your local community, but physical proximity isn’t a possibility for some artists depending on geographical location, physical ability, or discipline. You might be the only harpist in your town, or unable to physically attend meetings or classes in your area.
We’ve all seen beloved brick and mortar arts and culture spaces disappear. Record stores and bookstores have closed, nightclubs and theaters have shuttered, and indie movie theaters have folded. When these physical spaces close, we lose community centers and places to truly nerd out about what we love. We lose places to discover niche media and art and to connect with one another. That’s why when beloved Baltimore video store Video Americain was closing down, Kevin Coelho, Greg Golinski, and Eric Hatch tried to save it. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to. So instead, they built something else.
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We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming about fundraising best practices, challenges that artists face, and musings about organizational design. It’s a hard world out there and our brains are collectively pretty fried these days, especially as we continue to navigate the art world together. Something that brings a lot of joy to some members of the Fractured Atlas staff (myself included!) are memes. Specifically, we love niche memes about art and the art world.
For over 40 years, Split Britches has been creating art that is both lesbian and feminist. Split Britches projects span theater, solo performance, live art, workshops, digital media, models for public conversation, and written work. Founded by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, Split Britches “is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics – feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone, and lesbian because it takes the presence of a lesbian on stage as a given.”
At times, creative practices - the work of research, ideating, building, and crafting artwork - can feel at odds with the flow of capitalism that dictates that you always do more, go faster, and think about yourself in isolation. In this world of speed, money, and individualism at the forefront, what does it mean to slow down and think intentionally about where artists and the economic ecosystem generated by the arts industry fit in within the greater world? “Solidarity Not Charity - Arts & Culture Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy: A Rapid Report” written by Nati Linares and Caroline Woolard presents one answer to this inquiry. This report covers how artists and culture bearers fit into the larger solidarity economy that is growing; organizations, individuals, and collectives who are transforming how we think about funding and wealth building; and numerous actions we can take to educate ourselves and enact change.
Monastir’s Jewish population was decimated in World War II, but Sarah Aroeste, whose relatives lived there for many generations, is preserving its cultural legacy through music.
A few months ago, we announced the launch of our online community for artists, the Creative Outpost. It’s a space for artists to connect with one another, crowdsource solutions to challenges you might run into, and to share inspiration and ideas. We are building the Creative Outpost because we believe that community is essential for artists and for a thriving and just arts sector.
When artist, activist, ASL interpreter, and former circus artist Brandon Kazen-Maddox arrived in New Hampshire to spend the summer with theater, opera, and film director Kevin Newbury, the pair didn’t actually know each other all that well. They met in December 2019 and crossed paths a few times while working and traveling. But once they were both in New Hampshire for the summer, the creative and romantic connection was instant. They felt instant chemistry. As Kevin recalls, “It was just like, ‘do you want to spend the rest of our lives together and make work together?”
Erin Washington thinks a lot about lineages as a descendant and as a future ancestor. As an artist and educator based in Atlanta, Erin recognizes her relatives who participated in the Montgomery bus boycott and supported her creative ambitions by taking her to auditions. She also recognizes her spiritual, creative ancestors like Audre Lorde who paved the way for later generations of Black artists and thinkers.
Peter Michael Marino is a theater producer, performer, director, and educator. And in 2020, he really missed the theater. A lot. So, he took inspiration from a Victorian trend called “toy theater,” learned a whole new set of skills including puppetry and digital performance. He created a show inspired by the movie “Planet of the Apes.” The final result is PM2 Entertainment’s “Planet of the Grapes Live,” starring a cast of grapes and corks and supplies from craft stores. Currently, it is in an open-ended run with tickets available for June performances from the Cincy Fringe Festival.