Performance-makers need two things: space and time. These are so basic, so universally required that they become paradoxically difficult to provide. How do you decide who gets the space and when? How do you determine “success” when you are providing tools for process? It is so difficult to define the metrics that most resource-providers simply give up. It is too complex to provide these basic needs, because they are required by every performance-maker. It is too tricky to determine how best to dole them out. Instead, energy gets funnelled into project-specific programs that are packaged with built-in filters and built-in metrics.
This isn’t working. It means that it’s nearly impossible for artists to get direct resources of any kind to simply make work, especially work that is research-based and not necessarily leading directly to a presentation. This in turn means that innovation often gets starved out. Yes, there are a handful of organizations which provide space to artists (usually through some sort of application-based program), and there are a few more organizations which provide spaces at relatively low costs. Yes, these exist, but there are not nearly enough.
In order for the performing arts to survive and thrive in NYC, we don’t need more performance spaces. We don’t need more festivals. We don’t need more awards. We need more rehearsal space. Tons of it. Loads of it. So much space that you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting it. So much space that you can rehearse within walking distance of your apartment at any time of the day or night. So much space that you can create like it’s 1979, (i.e. in your living room).
Let’s start with space, and then we can tackle time, (which, as we all know, is money.)