Activism

MADE HERE explores the importance of activism in the performing arts. The artists in this issue have used their creativity to define their places in the world, while building and sometimes healing a community. They are bold risk-takers who deliver political messages and sometimes break the rules, but often with a healthy dose of humor.

 

The three episodes for this issue are: Community, Without Permission, and Artist as Activist.

Discussion Topics

Episode Feedback

Artist Activists

Building Community

Your Activism

Resources

Click for relevant news, organizations, and research.

Do you consider yourself an artist/activist? How do you incorporate activism into your art? How has your work elicited change? Tell us about your favorite activist art.

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episode 1: Community

These artists are connecting the performing arts with issues relevant to citizens of New York City and the world. At the heart of their bold work is civic dialogue about gentrification, class, race, neighborhood politics, and community building.

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resources

News

All Art is Political

A video interview with John Waters where he talks about his work and the connection between art and politics.

The Times -- Are They A-Changin'?

How diverse is the up-and-coming generation? This article by Wendy Perron tries to answer this question by talking to young artists to get their opinion on diversity in the artistic realm.

City as Stage, Audience as Family

The New York Times interviews Foundry Theatre's Artistic Director Melanie Joseph.

‘Hair’ Closes for One Day So Cast Can March in Rally

The Broadway production of ‘Hair’ closed down for a night risking a financial loss in order to enable the cast and crew to attend a gay rights march in Washington DC.

Repast, Present, Future

American Theatre magazine profiles four theater projects that use food in an effort to make an impact on their communities.

Not There Yet

An essay by playwright Marsha Norman on the lack of equity concerning gender balance in theater and what can be done about it.

Twelve Positions on Cultural Sanctions

American Theatre Magazine asks twelve theater artists of Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish American and Palestinian American descent to share their reactions to the possibility of a cultural boycott of Israel.

Political and Social Theater in NYC

A blog posting followed by a range of comments on what makes successful political theater.

Participation in Art and Entertainment Empowers Arab Americans

An excerpt from a presentation by Palestinian American playwright Betty Shamieh to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on the importance of strengthening the arts in the Arab American community.

Face to Face Encounter on Race in the Theater

Article about the controversial 1997 debate between August Wilson and Robert Brustein about race in American theater.

Out of the Fringe? Out of the Closet Latina/Latino Theatre and Performance in the 1990s

This article from The Drama Review looks at theater made by Latina/o artists in the United States at the end of the last century, and in particular how the work deals with issues of gender and sexuality.

Res(Crip)ting Feminist Theater Through Disability Theater

This article looks at theater made by individuals with disabilities through the lenses of feminist theater.

Dance Magazine

There are several accounts of dancers and organizations from The Francesca Harper Project, Ballet Memphis, Houston Ballet, The Latin Choreographers Festival, TU Dance, Singh & Dance trying to incorporate racial diversity into the dance world.

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Organizations

Imagining America

Imagining America’s mission is to animate and strengthen the public and civic purposes of humanities, arts and design through mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships that advance democratic scholarship and practice.

Take Part

Take Part provides a framework for educators to develop programmes to help adults gain the knowledge and skills they need to become empowered as members of their communities.

Theater of War

A theater company that produces readings of Greek plays to military communities across the United States.

The Foundry Theatre

According to their mission The Foundry Theatre aspires to assemble a community of artists with revolutionary ideas for theater and the world in which it is situated.

The Living Theatre

Since 1947 The Living Theater has pioneered work by unconventional writers and on issues facing society.

The Working Theatre

A NYC theater with a mission to create work that reaches out to Americans at all economic, cultural and class levels.

Great Small Works

A collective of artists based in New York who perform and produce a variety of works and view theater as “a model for reanimating the public sphere and participating in democratic life.” The recently working with other groups helped to get the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights signed into law.

Bread and Puppet

Based in Vermont, Bread and Puppet has been doing large scale puppets and political theater since the early Eighties.

The Pen and Brush

Membership organization dedicated to women in the visual, literary and performing arts since 1894.

Broadway Impact

A community of theater professionals and audience united for equal rights to marriage.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Since 1987 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has been raising money and awareness to support those suffering with AIDS.

American Civil Liberties Union of New York State

The New York arm of the American Civil Liberties Union, with a mission to defend the rights of Americans.

Move On.org

A family of organizations looking to bring Americans back into the democratic process.

Not An Alternative

A non-profit organization based in Brooklyn whose mission aims to integrate art, activism and theory in order to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history.

Planet Connections Theatre festivity

Eco-friendly theatre festival in New York City.

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Research

Activist Resource

Provides internet resources to and about activist organizations in New York State.

Americans for the Arts: Institute for Community Development and the Arts monographs and special reports

This site provides a number of Monographs and special reports including information on Creative Economies, Arts Programming for At-Risk Youth, Arts in Hospitals and Arts and Religion.

PBS NOW. History of Political Theater

Documentary from PBS looks at the history of Political Theater in America.

Know Your Rights: Demonstrating in New York City

A booklet from the NYCLU outlining the rights involved in coordinating demonstrations, public protests and parades in NYC.

Hemispheric Institute

A consortium of institutions, artists, scholars, and activists throughout the Americas working to promote vibrant interactions and collaborations at the level of scholarship, art practice, and pedagogy among practitioners interested in the relationship between performance and politics in the hemisphere.

Fostering Civic Engagement through Culture & Arts Animating Democracy

Americans for the Arts Animating Democracy project provides case studies of projects which successfully used civic engagement and the arts. It also provides a publication with a collection of worksheets and tools to help plan engagement activities.

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Episode Feedback

What did you think about the episodes?

  • Kate Stannard said:

    Made Here project is a fantastic way of creating a community and supporting inspiring infrastructure for NYC Artists, as well as educating other artists, students and academics outwith the city. Genius! This is a great resource I have emailed the info out to all my students. Fantastic!

    05/29 - 05:42 PM

  • Maedhbh Fiona Mc Cullagh said:

    I just wanted to say that I have been glued to the website for MADE HERE this past hour. It’s a truly inspiring documentary and fascinating to watch. This work creates an important legacy of what is happening right now and it is a gift to the community. Congratulations to you all.

    05/30 - 03:23 PM

  • Anna Kohler said:

    I really enjoyed the videos, lovely work, witty and funny and I can’t wait to see more.

    05/31 - 10:16 PM

  • Ann Rosenthal said:

    Congrats on Made Here!  It’s really great and fantastically well filmed/produced.  I can see that once all of these films are made it will make a more than compelling case for the importance of artists in this city…and why they should be better supported forever!

    06/03 - 05:16 PM

  • Marya said:

    I love this. well made. important. thanks for adding to the conversation!

    06/04 - 09:20 PM

  • William Cusick said:

    I saw the first episode today.  It’s sooo good!!  It’s really exciting to see such an intelligent and well conceived documentary series on NYC theater artists.  And I love the theme song.

    Great stuff!

    06/08 - 11:29 PM

  • Cesar Augusto said:

    Amazing website with the kind of support I need. Keep going guys!!

    06/16 - 01:35 AM

  • Anne said:

    Thanks for providing a great platform to all artists! All artists face the same basic problems at some point in their career and this website offers valuable advice on balancing a family, finding a space and working in a crap-job in order to supplement your income.  Thanks!

    06/28 - 05:55 PM

  • Amos said:

    very cool….grazie!!!

    06/28 - 07:00 PM

  • shyam said:

    Love it! Thank you for such these awesome conversations. After years in New York, I’m working on a specific set of projects in solitude in Chicago, where the pressure to make rent is a little less intense. I’m looking forward to coming back to the city soon, though! There’s nowhere like New York.

    07/22 - 04:43 PM

  • Alexis said:

    Check out this essay about the history of the plot of land on which the Ohio Theatre stands and also discusses the relationship between artists and real estate developers:

    Re-examining the Soho Effect
    From a freed slave to a theater company; how the poor and creative made 64-68 Wooster Street more valuable.
    http://bit.ly/c9nONU

    07/28 - 04:02 PM

  • Yvette Martinez said:

    Thank you!!

    08/10 - 06:09 PM

  • Jefe Sativa said:

    Baadaass!

    08/10 - 06:10 PM

  • maryobeora said:

    oooooh!  I do not even know how I got here, but this is GREAT! I am a theatre loving
    Architect and this is site is built beautifully.  THank you.

    09/21 - 06:52 PM

  • Mieke D said:

    Thank GOD you’re taking on this task of generating dialogue about what it MEANS to be an artist and how to make it happen on the daily. This particular segment brings together some amazing voices of artists struggling (successfully) to remain relevant in the avant garde arts world while also engaging in community-building, political activism, race & class at the same time. As perfomer-turned-community organizer, I would love to see more in depth investigation into how artists define their activism, the communities they collaborate with, and the concrete effects they wish to have. I would also like to hear more from artist-activists working on the ground in marginalized communities. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! AND KEEP PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES!

    09/27 - 09:46 PM

  • Talaha said:

    Good site!

    08/01 - 12:13 PM

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  • Do you consider yourself an artist/activist? How do you incorporate activism into your art? How has your work elicited change?
  • Tell us about your favorite activist art.
  • From Jake Margolin:

    Jake Margolin rates his activism as a 8 on a scale from 1 to 10.

  • From Aaron Landsman:

    Aaron Landsman discusses how he views himself as an activist artist.