Songs for the Struggling Artist


Artisanal Theatre
March 16, 2015, 12:09 am
Filed under: art, theatre | Tags: , , , , , ,

When you’re a small organization, there’s often a push to look bigger than you are, to puff up to big institution size. With my theatre company, we often attempt to look like we have a staff of at least ten, doing things like stuffing envelopes and database management. (We don’t. Not even close.) A lot of organizational support programs will teach you how to appear more solid, bigger and stable than you actually are, You learn how to project a more corporate image. This is funny because, meanwhile, big corporations are attempting to look small, like they have the personal touch. I think I did a spit-take the first time I saw Dunkin Donuts advertising artisan bagels.

I was thinking about this during my company’s push to get fundraising letters out to our mailing list. I literally hand-stamped every envelope with our logo, printed out all the labels myself, folded every letter, stuffed every envelope and put the stamps on every one. Our mailing list is small, so I know most of the names on it. As I went through each of these steps, those name went by multiple times and each time, I thought of those people – how they were, what they were doing. I hoped that they’d receive the letter and read it with pleasure. Even though it was a request for funds, the letter was a little message in a bottle about what my company was doing, which is also really what I’d been up to, about the things that matter most to me.

Every time I do this, I want to write a little note on each one, but I have to get these out and if I stop to do that, I will miss my deadline. But even without the little notes, this engagement with my mailing list is intimate. If you’re on it, I think of you. If you ask to get off the email version of the mailing list, I feel a sting. It isn’t impersonal, even though I do my best to make it seem as if it were. That’s what I’ve been taught to do.

The push has always been to be more business like, more impersonal, more institutional but after watching how businesses are marketing themselves to be more personal – I’m thinking it may be time to go the other direction. It may be time to embrace the intimacy and smallness of my theatre company.

We’re not big institutional art. We’re hand-made. Artisanal. Made to Order. Local. Organic. Part of a small community. We’re personal. Which is a funny thing to learn from a big old business like Dunkin Donuts or Chase or any business that’s hoping to make you feel like they’re small. We actually ARE small and I’m starting to understand that it’s valuable.

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If you’d like to support my Artisanal Theatre Company, you can go here where there are a variety of ways to support us. Artisanal companies need support, just like big ones. Maybe more!

Or if you’d just like to support the Artisan who makes the theatre, as well as this blog, you can join me on Patreon.

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Click HERE  to Check out my Patreon Page

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