Choose Yourself Over The Long Haul

Seth Godin had posted on the 150th anniversary of Impressionism which is benchmarked from the April 15, 1874 art exhibition organized by a number of artists whose work had been refused by the prestigious Salon de Paris.  The original show by the “Refused,” as Godin terms them, included 31 artists, among them were Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Paul Cézanne.

Godin notes that first exhibition was a failure, not even attracting 1% of the Salon show and garnering largely negative reviews.

One of the most positive things to come from the exhibit was a scathing satirical piece, the one that gave the impressionists their name. The insecure critics came to regret their inability to see what was possible.

And yet, the artists persisted. Year after year, eight times, gaining momentum each time, they returned, working their way from outsiders to become the dominant form of artistic expression of their time.

But most of all, so much easier today than in Paris 150 years ago, these individual painters did two things: They picked themselves and they did it together.

I am amused to learn that the Impressionist name actually came from a satiric piece.

I am not sure the moral of this story is to stick with it and one day you will succeed. There were 31 people who participated in the first event, but most of their names are unknown.

While I agree with Godin that it is important to pick yourself and that it is easier to do today than it was 150 years ago, eight years is an eternity in terms of trend and tastes and people’s expectations of results. Success might be possible sooner, but how many people have the endurance to wait that long to gain recognition.

That said, I still remember seeing Sen. John Fetterman speak at an APAP conference when he was still mayor of Braddock, PA and spoke about an observation Sen. Arlen Spector made about it taking seven years for any sort of policy to garner enough momentum and support to become implemented.

Benefits Of Incorporating Your Arts Career

h/t for linking to a really valuable article on Observer about considering creating a limited liability corporation (LLC) if you are an artist.  I recently created a post on ArtsHacker summarizing some of the ways in which an LLC protects artist’s personal assets in the case of lawsuits and in some cases, divorce proceedings.

This excerpt from Observer article summarizes how an artist would operate after forming an LLC:

….but most artists operating as one-man shops set up limited liability companies, according to Powers, where the LLC is the employer and the artist is technically the employee. When a sale or commission is made, the money is paid directly to the corporate entity, which then pays the artist, either in a lump sum or in increments (as a salary), and the artist pays taxes on that money as ordinary income. But not all the money transfers directly through to the artist. The corporate entity retains some cash to purchase art supplies, health insurance, workmen’s compensation to protect employees who may get injured during transit or installation, commercial premises and liability insurance—and, assuming the artist is successful enough, to hire employees or consultants.

The article discusses a number of legal scenarios an artist might find themselves in which the buffer of an LLC would be beneficial. More than just providing legal protection, they also note that forming an LLC would allow the artist to solicit investment to support their work.  Take a look at the ArtsHacker post or go straight to the article to learn more.


Should Your Work Be Protected By An LLC?

Toward A More Shared Curation Experience

I’m not really a big fan of improv, but I was intrigued by the concept of a show called The Worst Cafe in the World, which has transferred from Belfast to Off-Broadway this month.

The show is described as:

The show actually gives audience members a menu of theatrical moments to choose from, and based on their selections, the cast will piece together the show. Menu items include an inspiring monologue, an improvisation calling for audience involvement and a digital experience focusing on the power of technology.

According to a press release, ticket holders should also expect different nightly specials to define their experience: think pop-up guests, delectable food and more. Even better, every guest will receive a complimentary beverage and snack upon entry—treats that sound even more exciting given that tickets only cost $25.

And I agree. All this for $25 in NYC? Amazing.

Granted, the concept isn’t really new or novel. I presented a concert nearly a decade ago where the singers provided a menu of songs the audience could choose from. It was around Christmas time so there was a good mix of operatic pieces along with sacred and secular carols. The menus were numbered so the production used a random number generator to determine what audience member got to choose the next song. I have seen groups use the choose your own aria format for fundraising events.

Despite this, I feel like this type of interactive option is under used for many performing arts events outside of improv. I am not sure why given that you can easily control the list from which people select in order to ensure a high quality experience. It is an opportunity to provide the experience of a shared curation and increase audience investment and involvement.

Dancing And Singing Scientific Study Data

I recently caught this story about an anthropologist at the University of South Florida (USF) who studied the impact of algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and was concerned no one would read her reports which indicated consequences for the tourism industry.  She was concerned no one would read the study and wondered if there was a way to raise awareness. (I am going to say a more accessible title than “Non-linear impacts of harmful algae blooms on the coastal tourism economy” might have helped.

However, the story aligns with the recent trend of my posts about the intersection of art and science because the professor ended up collaborating with the USF school of music to compose a work based on the data.

Indeed there was. Composition professor Paul Reller worked with students to map pitch, rhythm and duration to the data. It came alive, O’Leary says, in ways it simply does not on a spreadsheet.

“My students were really excited to start thinking about how the other students, the music students, heard patterns that we did not see in some of the repetitions,” she says. With music, she added, “you can start to sense with different parts of your mind and your body that there are patterns happening and that they’re important.”

You can watch a video of the composition via the link to the story or right here. Other departments are getting involved, including an effort to create an augmented reality experience based on the data and composition.

This story reminded me of the Dance Your Ph.D. contest that was started years ago with the same intent of translating a summary of doctoral theses in the sciences into a visual format. It was originally intended as a one off event to lighten things up for students who were defending their theses, but people started asking when the next competition deadline would be.

This year was the 16th iteration. I found an article announcing the 2024 winners and it seems like things have evolved since the last time I watched. The one on the “Epigenetics of Early Life Adversity“, depicting how stressors in childhood can impact adult health really caught my attention.

However, the winner, “Personality, Social Environment, and Maternal-level Effects: Insights from a Wild Kangaroo Population”, aka “Kangaroo Time” is far, far, far, more fun than it’s title would suggest. I am glad the NPR story reminded of the contest and lead me to check it out.