Jamie Gahlon has asked theater artists from around the country to talk about their personal search for an artistic home. Faye Price continues this series.
What makes an artistic home?
Ideally, an artistic home needs to be a place of safety, where an artist can get messy, be creative, take risks and always feel supported. The artist has to feel welcomed and most importantly valued by everyone in this community. If the artist is joining an existing institution, there has to be a high level of buy-in and trust that comes from transparency between all parties so everyone can do their best work.
An artistic home also provides artists with the tools or accessibility to the tools to work. That could be actors, a computer or printer, access to community elders and their stories, a library, a sharp mind on the staff, or a comfortable chair and a good cup of coffee. It’s an active partnership.
Where and how did you find yours and what does it mean to you?
I’ve actually had several homes in my career. As an actress and dramaturg by trade I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some wonderful institutions. And I still feel a part of those families. But there is nothing like the home that you get to create. I’m lucky to work at my artistic home, Pillsbury House Theatre. Starting with the foundation that (founding artistic director) Ralph Remington built, I've been able to create with co-artistic director Noel Raymond, a place that takes artistic risks and relishes challenging work, in a healthy, inclusive environment.
It is a community and we are housed in a community center. Noel and I are charged with among other things a licensed day care, a medical clinic and a bikeshop run by homeless youth all of which are housed in the same building as the theater. Almost all of our staff would consider themselves to be artists by trade. It’s an exciting and dynamic place to be. And as a co-director, I feel a certain level of responsibility to steward the environment that I envision the theater to be. If I’m not having fun, if I’m not enjoying the work, then I’m the one who needs to do something about it.
How can one create and/or build an artistic home for others?
It requires an investment of time, finances, administrative detail, respect and trust. Walk the talk.
What is the artistic home of the future?
The separation of audience and artist will be blurred. Creativity will be inherently tied to the formation of community. And despite the wealth of technological advances, the artistic home of the future will be a space that requires your physical presence. You won’t be able to phone it in.