Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I probably shouldn't post this post about money and art, but I just did

So, there is this question now about money and art. Perhaps question isn't the right way to put. It seems to be this riddle about how much is too much, or whether it is money that corrupts or love of said money (which came first the chicken or the egg).

I think that the truth of the matter is that yes sometimes money and art are able to co-exist (and co-exist well). But there are some instances in which money is not the answer. There are some paradigms where raising a certain level of money requires a commitment not only to a certain structure of organization but also to a certain sort of programming, a certain sort of artistic approach... that doesn't always appeal to everyone, especially those who spend most of their time residing in the fringe. Adam Thurman is right in that people shouldn't fear money, they shouldn't fear organization. But Don is also right in that there are some types, methods, and ways of art and expression that can only be corrupted when too much money invades the priority of the folks involved.

Here is the great thing though. I don't have to choose. I can work with and embrace both kinds of ensembles as an artist and/or as an audience. The real problem isn't which road one chooses at which time. The problem is when too many of us get hung up (myself included) pointing fingers at the other convinced they are somehow detrimental to the scene, the community, what have you.

We have enough voices that we don't get to accuse anyone else of "drowning out" the "competition" when it comes to ideas about arts organization, etc. etc. Lets keep talking about different models when they work, when they don't (and admit that in some circumstances... they don't).


DPS said...

I've always thought of it as being an issue of compromise and choice.

If you eschew the business side of making theatre (or put it toward the bottom of your list of things to do) then you're making a choice to compromise when you hit the limitations of what you can afford to do. Either you have to do fewer shows, more bare-bones stage craft, etc. etc.

If you spend 85% of your time raising money for your production, then the compromise will pop up either from not being able to put your full attention on the art itself, or when your producers tell you that you can't do the storm scene in Lear in the nude because it will drive away the audiences in droves (so you won't make back their investment).

In both cases, I think such compromise and limitations can lead to creative problem-solving and further inspiration. (It's no surprise that some of the cleverest writing in Hollywood happened under the Hays production code when writers couldn't say exactly what they wanted to.)

The question is, which do you feel better compromising on?

Of course, these are HUGE generalizations, but I think you get the drift. It's about making conscious personal decisions.

Devilvet said...


Succicintly put without allusions to the bible or prostitution.