Monday, December 29, 2008

Remember the Move Toward Finding New Models? Jon Stancato is Doing Just That

For those of you unfamiliar with what ERPA is, read this.

Meantime, here is a press release I received from my buddy Jon Stancato, artistic director of the Stolen Chair Theatre Company, which I proudly support financially and otherwise. Jon's idea is just superb. Congratulations to all the grantees.

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

In 2008 more than 350 community stakeholders joined us for Invention Session across New York City. Now, with seed money from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Field invests in seven artists who brought forth innovative ideas to generate new revenue streams from their art for their art...

Congratulations to Kahlil Almustafa, Nick Brooke, Rachel Chavkin, Connie Hall, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Jon Stancato, and Caroline Woolard.

These seven artists will be paid $5,000 to research and develop their projects under the auspices of the ERPA entrepreneurial lab. In the fall of 2009 their ideas-in-progress will be presented and publicly adjudicated to receive up to $25,000 in additional project implementation funds.

More than 100 ERPA applications were received and adjudicated by a panel of veteran arts and business leaders, including: June Choi, Shawn Cowls, Corey Dargel, Trajel Harrel, Jaki Levy, Kristin Marting, and Heather Rees. ERPA projects were selected based on their potential vision, impact, relevance, and viability.

Kahlil Almustafa: will bring performance poetry to his hometown of Jamaica, Queens. Through poetry workshops at high schools, performances at theaters, and Living Room Readings, Almustafa will promote poetry as a tool for community engagement.

Nick Brooke: composes collages of pop song fragments and sound effects, and then trains live performers to sound like these recordings, while creating intricate theatrical tableaus. Though he cannot release any of his music on CD due to copyright, he wants to use ERPA to create a 'micro-commissioning' program, in which small fragments, songs, or vignettes of a larger work are supported by smaller commissions.

Rachel Chavkin: The T.E.A.M. proposes re-envisioning the model for corporate sponsorship in the arts with the goal of solving one of the leading problems facing small companies and individual artists: the inability to afford health insurance. Through a partnership program, business and corporations will adopt theater companies and artists to form a mutually beneficial bond between the business and arts community.

Connie Hall: Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant not only generates an abundance of comic material and great food, but also offers an alternative producing model for artist-driven theater. Through the ERPA program, the actor-run theater company will develop a sustainable business model using income generated by the sale of food and beverages to support its artistic work.

JoAnna Mendl Shaw: The Equus Projects will develop their Regional Touring Program to include on-site coordinators in seven regional hubs throughout the country, enabling each to advocate on the company's behalf and cultivate performance and workshop participation. This program will build upon The Equus Projects' strong national support base, cultivating effective leadership with a handful of key supporters.

Jon Stancato: In conjunction with his company, Stolen Chair, Jon Stancato proposes a way to adapt the business plan followed by most Community Supported Agricultures (CSA). Like the CSA model, Stolen Chair hopes to build a membership community which would provide 'seed' money for the company's development process and then reap a year's worth of theatrical harvests.

Caroline Woolard: proposes an online peer-to-peer network where creative people can trade objects, services, and space with each other. Check out the prototype at There you will find a work dress designed by Caroline waiting to be traded for your skills or artwork!

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