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Monday, November 28, 2011

A Season of Giving

As a community, we speak often of Energy Exchange.

Terra Mysterium's Winter Gala BenefitIn art, as I touched upon earlier, meaning emerges from the exchange between the artist and the audience. Art is not created in a vacuum, and arguably can’t be, as that interchange between an artist’s vision and intent, and the history, experience, and perception an audience member brings to her viewing, are both vital components of the end result.

Beyond meaning, this energy exchange goes even further. Artists create because they can’t not create. Bringing meaning into the world through art is their mission in life, and they cannot be satisfied with a life that excludes this. Without their art a restlessness would drive them; no matter what “day job” they maintain to pay the bills, their evenings and weekends are filled with creation. Passion drives them, and art and meaning are what they contribute to community and to the world. This is our community service.

We also speak about sustainability.

Speaking of Energy Exchange: in physics, there is the law of Conservation of Energy, a consequence of which is that it’s impossible to create something from nothing. The same could be said of art; it doesn’t pop into being spontaneously and instantaneously, but comes about from the artist’s personal investment of time, energy, thought, emotions, and materials. Artists pour a lot of themselves into their work in order to bring meaning to the world; and they do it because this is the gift that they have to give to the world.

This comes at a cost. If a person has value, then so does her time, her ideas, and her energy. And more mundanely, materials and resources cost money. Rehearsal and performance space, costumes, props, time invested in crafting and rehearsing a song that cannot be invested in paid work, postcards, travel, lodging. Many people may be unaware that our performers almost never get paid for performing. Our ticket sales cover the cost of mounting the show; if there is anything left over, it may amount to $20 each – for six weeks of rehearsal and two to five performances. Festival performances are typically unpaid, which we bring as our service and contribution to our community. Our performers may even be required to pay for our own travel, lodging, and entry fees; and for some of us, it is an impossible, unsustainable financial burden... especially at this moment in history.

The Winter Gala

Terra Mysterium's Winter Gala Benefit
On December 3 we will bring you an evening of community, entertainment, and – we hope you agree – meaning, as an Energy Exchange with our community to create a sustainable model of bringing art and meaning into the world. Like many small performance companies, we rely on community support for our continued existence. We want to continue to bring you the art that you love; to do that we need to do so in a sustainable way, one that can draw from a company fund for operating expenses, instead of relying on insufficient personal resources. We hope you will support us. Your ticket purchase now not only pays for an evening’s entertainment, but continued festival performances, stage shows, songwriting, and the sharing of meaning.

We give you our passion because we love it, we need to, we can’t not. Please help us continue to do so.