In Upper Jay, New York, on the bank of the East Branch of the Ausable River there is an old wooden building. Four stories high, this old warehouse has been many things in the past—a Model-T assembly factory (built by Henry Ford himself), a pine cone threshing plant, an antique store and an upholstery studio. Now you have the chance to help make the space anew by taking part in an exciting experiment that we, a collective of 13 seasoned artists, are calling collaborative community performance. And we want you to be involved. Here's your chance to partake in a truly revolutionary kind of performance piece, not just with your dollars but with your ideas as well.
We are a group of artists—some of whom have worked together in the past, some of whom are just getting to know each other for the first time. We are dancers, actors, writers and musicians. We come from Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Oregon. We each inhabit our fields in different ways, and define our craft in our own terms. What we share is a deep commitment to community art making. And this summer we have made an agreement to work together in the spirit of true collaboration—and we want you to be part of it with us.
The collaborating artists are assembled and led by Simon Thomas-Train, a dancer and choreographer, and Caitlin Scholl, a poet and musician, both of whom hail from the Adirondacks and currently live in New York City. The other collaborating artists include: Sophie Maguire, John Hoobyar, Emma Wiseman, Emma Judkins, Lea Fulton, Hanna Saterlee, Jenna Riegel, Sophia Levine, Richard Vaudrey, Branic Howard, John Mosloskie, & Philippe Bronchtein.
The walls of the Upper Jay Art Center (UJAC) have seen thousands of different parts come together and rise, piece by piece, throughout its long and varied past. Today, they hold and support the work of performers from around the country, bouncing words and thoughts back into the ears and minds of watchful audiences.
This place has always been a confluence, a coming together of disparate pieces with the goal of creating something new. The Space We Make will premiere at the Upper Jay Art Center's annual fundraiser, thereby adding yet another layer to the building's already storied walls. We are simply trying to write the next page in that story... to bring together the disparate stories of our contributors in the spirit of creating something new, something more.
A new work of performance—dance, movement, spoken word & song, images and relics from your own lives—in a space with a rich history of creative confluence. We want you to help us fund it. But that is not all we want. With each dollar you push in our direction, your creative impact on the final product will increase. In this, you are not just giving us money and wishing us good luck, hoping that what comes out the other side is interesting to you. You are saying, "I want to be involved in the work and this is how … these are the words I would like you to say … this is how I want you to move. This is something that you should wear. This is my story that I want you to tell."
Each level of donation begets varying levels of input into the content of the performance that we—the artists—ingest, mold, and process through our chosen mediums into a cohesive and interactive piece. Then we perform the piece and show it to you via film documentary. Every piece of community input intact, every idea carried through from your mind to our bodies, voices, thoughts and movements. This work will be yours just as much as it will be ours.
Take a look at the video posted above. Think about the unique space in question. Try to imagine the Adirondack Mountains in far upstate New York. And ask yourself if you want to have a say in the performance we’re going to build there. Take a look at our list of ways to contribute, both financially and with your own creative input. Each of your donations will have a real and permanent inmpact on the creative direction this piece takes. And every donor will be able to see that impact by being provided access to the documentary we will be creating, charting the creative process and performance from beginning to end. You will be able to look at the screen and say, “that is there because of me.” For some of the higher levels of donation, admission to the UJAC’s annual fundraiser will be included, allowing these donors to partake in the action in the first person, living what they have helped to create.
Each dollar that you give will directly fund the travel, room and board of the collaborating performers. We are not seeking to profit in this, only to not operate at a loss. Any additional funds we are able to raise over our goal will be divided among the performers and donated to the Upper Jay Art Center. That is where your money will go. But with each dollar raised, you will also be given the opportunity to shape the direction, the tenor, and the focus of the piece we are making. Shortly after making a donation you will be contacted by us to discuss your creative input into the performance!
Tell us about a physical memory you have....that time you fell off your bike, or watched your mother drink coffee by the window, or stretched up out of bed in the morning light. Tell us about music you want to hear or about some piece of clothing that holds certain memory for you. Send us an object from your past, or from your future. And trust that each piece that you send to us will be carried, intact, from creation to performance. You and your input will be with us from beginning to end.
The Space We Make will also, we hope, help raise annual funds for the Upper Jay Art Center; it is part of our mission to help them continue to bring vibrant arts programming to the Northcountry. Tickets to our performance on August 25 will be $50, and are being sold by UJAC. If you want to RSVP and purchase a ticket to the fundraiser event,
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