what i do

Yesterday, I was hanging out with my friend, Gayla, and her 18 month-old daughter, Zaeda. We had dinner yesterday after I babysat Zaeda, who is a dream.

At one point, Gayla said, “I can’t wait until she’s old enough for me to start taking her to see what our friends do. I want to be able to show her what you do and say, ‘Uncle JD makes it possible for other artists to create and present their work.'”

I was very humbled by this. It is what I do, but how often do we look at producers, curators or presenters as artists? Of course, I am a dramatist, too, so many people do see me as an artist; however, I do wonder how often presenters are viewed as being artists. Usually, when producers retain the title of ‘artist’ they are ‘artistic directors’ of not-for-profit companies. But bookers and producers often don’t fall under this definition.

Gayla reinforced what I’ve been blogging about recently. Creating community and presenting performers who generate energy that nurtures artists is a wonderfully specific art form. I enjoy doing it immensely.

Here are a few artists who curate and produce. I highly recommend all:

Shawn Randall (Symphonics)
Vallejo Ganter (PS122 & Speigletent)
Tamilla Woodard & Kibibi Dillon (LAUNCH)
Mark Russell (Under the Radar)

One comment

  1. Stephanie · February 11, 2009

    Once, many years ago, I was participating in a think tank conversation on what it means to be a Jewish artist/create Jewish art. I was curating for the Bronfman Gallery at NYU at the time, in addition to ongoing theater management. My then boss was elaborating on an example across several hypothetical situations. “If you,” he said, turning to the filmmaker in the group, “were developing a new documentary; or you [to the musician], a new composition; or you [to the fine artist], a painting; or you [to me]… [pause]… what the hell kind of artist are you anyway?”

    That question – what kind of artist AM I? – has always stayed with me. You’re right, JD – not all Producers or Curators are Artistic Directors (the latter typically holds a background in directing or composing, advancing their career through their own artistic pursuits first). But we do create spaces, networks, and communities where art and artists are nurtured and (hopefully) thrive.

    Three cheers for the enabler!

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