It’s not a good feeling to plan a season and suddenly have the rug pulled right out from under you. I am sad to report that many of our scheduled events are being cancelled. Finances have forced many performers to cancel their shows. The cell has worked very hard at slowing down the process of creation. God and God Knows Who may be successful in churning out a universe in 6 days, but we, at the cell, are not quite so adept at that brand of high-octane delivery.
While it has become the rule in the community to churn out a show with limited rehearsal time, we pride ourselves on the nurturing process so necessary for the development of art as we see, hear, feel, taste, and breathe it. Evidently, stretching time is not the only problem. Most of our artists work at the kind of jobs that allow them to focus on their art. This means they struggle to make ends meet and in this economy, they struggle more. There are musicians, sets, and myriad things which all require financing in order to make a show. Many artists work to finance their own productions. It is only the minority who are lucky enough to use OPM.
People think the Arts are not a charity, believing they should give money to social services, or starving people in foreign countries, even though there are many hungry artists right here in our own New York City. Let me ask you this: Do you spend more money on products made in America or elsewhere? Which products finance the TV shows you watch? Do you know or care who sponsors what? Are we just a culture of deaf, dumb, and blind followers who never question where the money ends up once it leaves our hands?
Artists do not choose art. Art chooses artists. Mostly artists are people who struggle to make a decent living while seeking time, energy, resources, and an audience to create meaning for their lives. Our artists are cancelling because they can’t afford the time and money it takes to produce a work of art. What would your life be like without entertainment? If that isn’t social work, I don’t know what is….