Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Arts Make You Tired

For many of us, the Arts are not part of our daily routine. They are something extra and, in most cases, special. They are something that requires to set aside whatever we are doing and plan to be at the gallery, museum, or theatre for whatever length of time it requires. Then there is the time that it takes to get ready for the event because unlike a sporting event or just hanging out at the bar, the Arts generally a "come as you are" kind of thing.

And since the Arts are something that we do around our daily routine, the events usually take place in the evening - after you are already tired out from a long day's (or sometimes week's) work. It's hard to be completely open and ready to participate in the story, emotion, and experience of art if you are tired or preoccupied with other things.

So how do we make the Arts more accessible?

Do we start having "Art Breaks" at work? As fun as that sounds, this is probably something that will not be on any company's agenda any time soon. But how do we incorporate these experiences into our every day lives? Perhaps we as artists could create 15 minute concerts designed to be performed over lunch so that your patrons can frequent during their lunch hours. Perhaps not the transformative experience of going to the symphony, but a nice breath of fresh air to break up the work day. Offering earlier performance times during the week would be helpful too. Instead of already being downtown, then having three hours to kill between the time that you get off of work and the time the performance finished you could go right from work to the theatre. Then too you get done at an earlier hour so that you are still in bed at a decent hour and your next day's work isn't affected. Perhaps there are ways to provide smaller offerings at more flexible times - like going to the cinema. Here you can go to one location and have a whole menu of performance options at various start times.

Also, let us take a moment to consider too those of us who are performing or creating the art. Many of these artists are not supporting themselves through their art and have to have a day-job to make ends meet. How exhausting is it for them to have to work nine to five and then to have to put in another three to five hours of passionate work? The easies fix for this, obviously, is to pay our artists a living wage - but we all know that this would make much of the live performance we consume unaffordable... so what to do?

Are there any creative ideas or suggestions you have? What ways can we make live performances and exhibits more consumer friendly?

Happy Birthday: Laura Linney (b. 1964) & John Guare (b. 1938)

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