I feel moved to start this section with a message of gratitude for all the people who do the tireless logistical work of making art happen. These behind the scenes saints juggle the countless turns of the organizational labyrinth that sprouts around any arts event. In Germany these stewards are given the prestigious title of cultural manager. Here in the states, the most they might offer is arts or non-profit administrator.
All too often in the performing arts this role is played by the director or choreographer herself. These individuals must flip between the right and left hemispheres of their brains, diving deep into the imaginal realms of creation only to shoot out again to deal with a phone call about scheduling rehearsals, writing a grant, or what went wrong at the printers. For many of my own performances I have switched back and forth from my artists beret to my business man's fedora in order to sell ads in the program or to seek sponsors.
I am grateful for my early experiences working as an event producer at Earthdance Center in Massachusetts. These paved the road for me to produce my own work with a map of the terrain. Over the past years of producing my own work and other projects, that map has filled in quite a bit. Meanwhile, the terrain of production changes constantly as new media and platforms of communicating rearrange the social fabric of our culture and our minds.
The following "pages" will focus primarily on useful tools for self-production. Some sections, such as the one about E|MERGE and The Western Mass Moving Arts Project, outline projects created in collaboration with larger organizational entities (although the actual staff in both of these ventures consisted of only 3-5 collaborators working with less then reasonable compensation to pull off a vision). The tools used in these situations were not dissimilar to those of a self-producing artist.
photo by Sarah Day from publicity photo shoot for Anatomy of a Cloud
by Shah and Blah Productions