The Value of Art: Why We Live Taking the Starving Out of Artist™
Our mission statement and everything in our company centers around TAKING THE STARVING OUT OF ARTIST™. A lofty goal, but we are committed and passionate about succeeding.
The old cliché “starving artist” need no longer be the solo path for the majority of storytellers. Oftentimes artists believe they must wait for angels to make their creative idea into a commercial success. In many traditional, commercial entertainment structures there are two camps: creator and producer. Pick one! With technology moving forward at lightning speed and opportunities to connect shifting faster than we can predict, the line between these camps is blurring now more than ever. We want to help artists create sustainable careers so that they can live their lives by creating their art, and find connections with other artists and patrons and build an ecosystem. We want to be at the forefront of the blur.
One step and song at a time. We build on a foundation that stems from the digital age. We leverage a blend between technology and arts in creating an ecosystem that fosters a deeper connection between artist and audience. In the past, tremendous barriers precluded access to your audience. These barriers took the form of gatekeepers. Gatekeepers, in many ways help you, but in certain ways they may also obstruct you from reaching an audience (because you effectively need their permission to perform your art in front of the world). An entire interlocking network of gatekeepers exists in the form of agents, managers, film companies and record companies, whose jobs consist of taking art and turning it into a product that people can consume. These same players — these players who you might associate with green lights in your career — can actually be you. If you go back twenty or hundreds of years, the reality of gatekeeper permission dictated a solo path. With the digital innovation, we can reach our audiences through many new paths and platforms.
Fifty years ago, if you were an artist, getting your work seen in another country was nearly impossible without a distribution partner. Today, you can post content online and have a potentially powerful global influence. We explore that phenomenon from creation to distribution and link it to a property’s growing audience.
THREE PILLARS: EDUCATE — INCUBATE — CONNECT
Craft creates the core of art, and educational opportunities build the next generation of artists, and foster the success of the current ones. Whether an artist educates themselves or in a more formal school setting, the business of being an artist tends to be intentionally or unintentionally omitted. That’s where we come in. We believe the business of being an artist must be a basic part of any artist’s curriculum. We teach artists these skills at every level of their careers. Artists who work with us will learn to cultivate meaningful connections with their audience while simultaneously growing creatively.
As a prime example of this, Apples and Oranges Arts launched THEatre ACCELERATOR in early 2017. THEatre ACCELERATOR allows musical theatre writers to develop their shows in a collaborative environment divided into virtual, residential, and presentation units. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and lean development methods, mentors interact with participants, while THEatre ACCELERATOR team provides frequent feedback throughout the iterative process. Staff and storytellers then collaborate to design a custom distribution plan that includes brand development and audience analysis to get their stories in front of the right audience.
We engage our community through stories and art. In addition to nurturing stories that relate to wide audiences, we help artists from all over the world come together and relate to each other by connecting the art and technology communities.
Tim and Pamela met in late 1996. At that time Pamela performed on Broadway full time while Tim never slept, splitting his time acting, dancing, directing, producing and running his tech company, IT Mentors. They both pursued creative endeavors, but on separate tracks. After marriage, a baby and a move to the suburbs, Tim had the ardent desire to continue his arts education by seeking an MFA at Chapman University. Changing diapers at home, Pamela was struggling to figure out the next stage in her career, until the fateful day Tim asked Pamela to act in one of his student films. Sparks flew, creative juices flowed, and Tim and Pamela realized that together they had the potential to offer something powerful to the world. They vowed to join their creative forces in order to entertain, inspire and connect with people everywhere. Apples and Oranges Arts was born.
We started by looking at other organizations that were doing good for the world, and through their example created a production company to work in film, television, and theatre to further support our mission. We worked on projects that were very personal to us, and helped support other organizations by donating time and resources to further their causes. Examples include:
- Discovery Science Center: Science of Hockey
- The Discovery Science Center impacts the lives of children through hands-on science education. Apples and Oranges Arts produced a series of videos for the Discovery Science Center for their Science of Hockey exhibit.
- Center for Living Peace
- The Center for Living Peacesupports evidence-based curricula, cutting-edge research, and transformative practicum focused on the embodied experience of inner peace and its impact on the world. Apples and Oranges Arts provided video services for several events they hosted as part of their speaker series and cut together short docu-reality-style videos.
- Bridge2Broadway was founded by Apples and Oranges Arts and brings together theatrical professionals who have performed or worked on Broadway and aspiring performers and theatre technicians of all ages and experience levels to produce original works of musical theatre.
- The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (“The Jimmys”)
- The Jimmy® Award for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor is awarded annually to two grand prize winners selected from a group of student performers representing the participating professional theatres. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts. Apples and Oranges Arts donates film production, editing, and digital and social media services to The Broadway League for the week-long program.
- The Actors Fund
- The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment. For the Actors Fund, Apples and Oranges Arts created a mini-documentary feature to be embedded on their Web site and to be included in an e-blast to donors.
- The Assistance League of Newport-Mesa
- Assistance League® of Newport-Mesa is a self-funded, volunteer, non-profit organization that benefits children and families through community philanthropic programs. The Apples and Oranges team helped create a documentary to bring the Assistance League® of Newport-Mesa’s emotional story to life.
- Discovery Arts
- Discovery Arts brings art adventures to terminally ill children in local hospitals. Apples and Oranges Arts partnered with Discovery Arts to help this non-profit organization tell their story.
Furthering our goals to help artists as well as organizations, we strive to create and educate simultaneously, using practical examples. We utilized this methodology while producing the Broadway shows Hair, Memphis, and An American in Paris and THEatre ACCELERATOR, and will continue to do so as we develop works in the future.
We strive to become financially self-sustainable by the year 2019. We will do this through our constant creation of new work. Apples and Oranges Studios is the entity that we use when a piece of content moves into the commercial phase. For example, Hair, Memphis, and An American in Paris were all produced under Apples and Oranges Studios.
As the economy evolved people increasingly looked at arts professions as “hobbies” or “impractical.” These same voices are the ones asking “what are you gonna do for your real job?” But at Apples and Oranges Arts, we believe that, quite the contrary, the economy now centers more than ever around human connection and human touch. With this in mind, we aim to shatter the barriers to making a viable career out of your art or performance practice. That forms the essence of “taking the starving out of artist.” through connection and creating a sustainable living. We don’t teach you how to get rich (but if that happens, kudos to you). We strive to create an ecosystem where we value of art just as much as accounting or medicine. We craft education, tools and resources to make that happen.
The joke always goes “You can make a killing, but not a living” on Broadway, and that can be said for so many arts careers. The starving artist doesn’t have to be a way of life. With the right drive, the commitment of successful veterans, and the willingness to adjust to the new frontiers expanding horizons for the arts in every direction (through new methods of creation, distribution, and engagement) we can build a world where being an artist is as viable as any “practical” profession.