On this week’s show we will take an in depth look at arts organizations, specifically at smaller arts organizations that are part of a backbone of art in New York but that many people don’t know about. My guests will be Craig Peterson, Executive Artistic Director of the Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement, https://www.abronsartscenter.org/about/; and Brian Rogers, Artistic Director of The Chocolate Factory Theater, https://chocolatefactorytheater.org/.
Tune in for this fascinating conversation at TalkRadio.nyc or watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.
Tonight’s show will be on New York’s art organizations. The guests are Craig Peterson and Brian Rogers. Craig Peterson is the Executive Director Artistic Director of the Abrons Arts Center. Growing up he was always interested in art and dance. He eventually moved to New York to be an artist. Craig admits his adjustment to the artistic director position was slow but he kept working at it. In 2014, he became a program director before moving to Abrons. They provide an art source for so many people.
At Abrons, they provide multiple disciplinary education programs. They present art mainly across theater, art and dance. Scott is asked if there are any challenges that small art organizations may face. Being a smaller organization could possibly effect certain things but Scott confirms that there are not many differences between what larger organizations face. Theyjust want to reach as many people through art as they can. A large number of people come in from outside of the neighborhood. The art center is internationally recognized and they support international artists.
The second guest is Brian Rogers who is a director and filmmaker. He was born in Los Angeles but mainly grew up in Idaho. He went to art school in Vermont then had his mind set on going to New York because that was where the action was. He later helped create The Chocolate Factory Theater and is now the Artistic Director. The venue is named the way it is because it used to be a chocolate factory. In 2004 the organization started but money was tight. Brian admits it took a while for it to get better but was glad it did. Furthermore, unlike other organizations, the Chocolate Factory Theater is run by the artists which is good for the culture of the organization.
The Chocolate Factory Theater is best known as an experimental art company. They host a variety of theater, dance and music performances. Brian also does fundraising for the theater. He admits that it is very challenging for small organizations to make money because they rely heavily on donations and grants. The generosity of others is very important to them. Brian states that ticket sales make up less than five percent of their income. The give and take relationship between the city and organization is what keeps them going.
00:00:32.280 --> 00:00:33.420 Jeff Goodman: Hello everyone.
00:00:34.500 --> 00:00:41.520 Jeff Goodman: Welcome to our listeners in the big apple from across the US and around the world i'm Jeff Goodman and you've tuned into rediscovering New York.
00:00:42.300 --> 00:00:55.410 Jeff Goodman: professionally i'm a real estate broker with brown Harris Stevens, but our show is not about real estate rediscovering New York as a weekly program celebrating New York, its history texture and the vibe of this amazing city.
00:00:56.160 --> 00:01:01.050 Jeff Goodman: I mean do it through interviews ah here goes the music again I could take you up again.
00:01:01.410 --> 00:01:09.810 Jeff Goodman: And we do it through interviews with historians local business owners nonprofit organizations preservationists musicians and artists and the occasional elected official.
00:01:10.170 --> 00:01:14.580 Jeff Goodman: Although you won't see any elected officials tonight on our program because its primary day here in New York.
00:01:15.480 --> 00:01:23.310 Jeff Goodman: On some shows we bring an individual New York neighborhood to life we explore its history and its current energy what makes that particular New York neighborhood special.
00:01:24.270 --> 00:01:30.150 Jeff Goodman: Sometimes, like tonight we celebrate an interesting and vital color of the city that's not focused on one particular neighborhood.
00:01:30.960 --> 00:01:40.380 Jeff Goodman: Prior episodes have covered topics as diverse and illuminating as American presidents who came from lived in where had some interesting history here in New York, about half of them, by the way.
00:01:41.160 --> 00:01:48.450 Jeff Goodman: we've looked at the history of women activists in the suffrage movement we've looked at the history of different immigrant communities, including people who were brought here and slaved.
00:01:49.170 --> 00:01:52.620 Jeff Goodman: we've looked at the history of the city's LGBT community and the gay rights movement.
00:01:53.040 --> 00:01:58.500 Jeff Goodman: we've explored the history of bicycles and cycling we've looked at punk and opera those were separate shows, by the way.
00:01:58.890 --> 00:02:10.050 Jeff Goodman: we've looked at our library systems New York has three everyone, we have three library systems in the city, we visited the subway we've looked at public art we've explored our train stations and even some of our bridges.
00:02:11.160 --> 00:02:19.590 Jeff Goodman: After the broadcast TV show is available on podcasts you can catch us on apple spotify Amazon stitcher and Google podcast as well as at the services.
00:02:20.100 --> 00:02:28.470 Jeff Goodman: So that's one of the special shows we're we're not looking at a particular neighborhood but a theme and a very important part of the backbone of this amazing city.
00:02:29.160 --> 00:02:37.320 Jeff Goodman: Specifically arts organizations, but not the arts organizations that you that most of our listeners may know of well or have heard of.
00:02:37.920 --> 00:02:43.800 Jeff Goodman: There is a very essential part of the city in grassroots and local arts organizations that frequently.
00:02:44.250 --> 00:03:00.390 Jeff Goodman: are under song and under appreciated and tonight, I wanted to explore some of those organizations, as well as the role that they play in the city's culture and also in vital energy of what makes this city great we have two guests tonight, my first guest is Greg peterson.
00:03:01.530 --> 00:03:10.980 Jeff Goodman: Greg joined the staff at the apron the art Center in New York slow reside in September of 2016 is artistic director, he was recently elevated to executive artistic director.
00:03:11.910 --> 00:03:18.390 Jeff Goodman: Previously, previously, he was the director of programs at give me dance that's a multi faceted Center for dance and performance development.
00:03:19.110 --> 00:03:30.210 Jeff Goodman: From 2009 to 2013 Craig was the director and producer of the annual philly fringe festival it's a three week citywide festival featuring the work of more than 200 performing artists and companies.
00:03:30.960 --> 00:03:36.120 Jeff Goodman: During this time, he also wants to and directed the live arts brewery also acronym does lab.
00:03:36.630 --> 00:03:42.360 Jeff Goodman: Research and development programs supporting long term residences and engagement activities for local and national artists.
00:03:42.870 --> 00:03:50.220 Jeff Goodman: For 10 years Craig served on the staff of dance theatre workshop it's one of the country's preeminent contemporary performing arts institutions that's based in New York.
00:03:50.880 --> 00:03:57.990 Jeff Goodman: For years, he served as the organization's co artistic director Greg peterson a hearty welcome to rediscovering New York.
00:04:02.040 --> 00:04:03.990 Jeff Goodman: you're not unmuted, we have to meet you there you go.
00:04:04.020 --> 00:04:06.750 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Thank you, thank you for having me sorry I somehow got you.
00:04:07.320 --> 00:04:07.890 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Know where's.
00:04:09.180 --> 00:04:11.400 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: The refrain of the year, I guess right you're on.
00:04:12.150 --> 00:04:17.820 Jeff Goodman: you're on mute button, not surprisingly, any of us i'm Craig are you from New York originally.
00:04:18.270 --> 00:04:24.630 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: No originally i'm from New England actually but I went to school in upstate New York at Baruch college, so I was.
00:04:26.100 --> 00:04:30.630 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Just a couple hours North for a good little portion of my life right before I moved down here.
00:04:30.960 --> 00:04:36.360 Jeff Goodman: Oh we're neighbors I went to vassar in poughkeepsie board is a little bit of a little bit uproot nine.
00:04:36.750 --> 00:04:37.260 Jeff Goodman: Right and.
00:04:38.310 --> 00:04:45.870 Jeff Goodman: What are your earliest engagements with the orange Craig when did you start feeling that the arts was the way that that you would go in your life.
00:04:46.890 --> 00:04:54.180 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Well um I mean I always grew up going my my family was very supportive of the arts and took me to a lot of.
00:04:55.230 --> 00:05:09.750 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: A lot of events, even though we lived in a rural area I didn't really get hooked on performance so until I was in high school and I went to a performance of the merce Cunningham dance company and kind of fell in love with dance and a weird sort of way.
00:05:11.490 --> 00:05:15.750 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: In which I kind of became a little obsessed with contemporary dance and.
00:05:17.160 --> 00:05:19.860 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And pursued it as I went to college.
00:05:21.180 --> 00:05:31.230 Jeff Goodman: i'm going to ask you about about your work in dance in a couple minutes um when did you decide that you would make a career out of playing leadership.
00:05:32.040 --> 00:05:41.850 Jeff Goodman: In artistic creative roles and arts organizations, this is very different to be an artist and one to say i'm actually going to facilitate bringing art to to the public.
00:05:42.210 --> 00:05:49.020 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah I mean I moved to New York to be an artist, you know so many people do, but I was not.
00:05:50.580 --> 00:06:05.730 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I don't think I was very good and I wasn't I wasn't it's a hard life it's not an easy job, and so I ended up getting a job at dance theatre workshop, which is now New York live arts and a newer newer organization.
00:06:07.140 --> 00:06:26.640 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And was using it as an opportunity to stay connected to the arts field, as I continued to dance and and make my own work and slowly I don't think I ever decided to be an arts organization leader, it just you know, over time, it just sort of became the direction where I found I was more.
00:06:27.660 --> 00:06:32.460 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: suited and and more able to make an impact and have a different make a difference.
00:06:33.360 --> 00:06:41.670 Jeff Goodman: Was the density to workshop your first foray into you know, working on the inside of an arts organization and not just being an artist to perform.
00:06:42.150 --> 00:06:54.090 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah yeah dance theatre workshop was a fairly small but deeply impactful organization and have been around for a couple decades, at a time I got there, I was, I came in, as an entry level and an entry level position.
00:06:54.540 --> 00:07:06.510 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And just sort of slowly worked my way up through the ranks I started, as I said that in a surfeit artist services job and by the time I left, I was one of the artistic directors there so.
00:07:07.710 --> 00:07:19.020 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: As I said, it was sort of a slow evolution into the role of curating and programming and building infrastructure for artists to perform and present their work at the at the space.
00:07:20.070 --> 00:07:26.970 Jeff Goodman: When did you join the philly fringe festival, and this is gonna sound like a stupid question but, but is it based in Philadelphia, or is it just sort of a.
00:07:27.120 --> 00:07:28.320 Jeff Goodman: yeah okay.
00:07:28.470 --> 00:07:42.090 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah I moved to Philadelphia, a couple years after my kids were born, I had taken some time off to be with my kids and then I got invited to join the staff there to start the artist residency programming, which was the library brewery.
00:07:43.410 --> 00:07:53.580 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And I really love doing residency work generally because it's it's brings you into really close contact with artists and their creative process and it's a little less.
00:07:54.990 --> 00:07:59.160 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: because sometimes them presenting can be you get more involved and more engaged in people's.
00:08:00.210 --> 00:08:02.490 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: In people's making processes.
00:08:03.720 --> 00:08:20.130 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And then, over time, I took on taking running the Philadelphia fringe festival, which is sort of an open platform festival that features, you know 150 200 different artists each September alongside a curated program by the same organization.
00:08:21.540 --> 00:08:33.300 Jeff Goodman: What is live arts brewery exactly it has it has a really great name sort of fostering you think of arts being matured and and fostered in a in a big brewing kettle.
00:08:33.780 --> 00:08:46.740 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah well, it was it got that name, mainly because we were in a building that used to be an old brewery, and so the acronym lab and the idea of a brewery where things ideas are percolating and.
00:08:47.790 --> 00:09:01.410 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: So that, but the the program itself is something that we kind of build from the ground up, it was really to help and serve artists within the Philadelphia community and bring them into contact with other artists around the country and.
00:09:02.670 --> 00:09:11.520 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And it provided long term residencies for artists to build and make new work that eventually would find find its place on somewhere in Philadelphia and beyond.
00:09:11.970 --> 00:09:17.790 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And then it kind of we cracked it open a bit and began to invite other artists in from around the country and.
00:09:18.390 --> 00:09:32.910 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: You know use that as an opportunity to collaborate with other organizations, including your next guest Bryan Rogers who we work together on an international project helping artists to develop their work across our spaces.
00:09:33.870 --> 00:09:35.460 Jeff Goodman: When did you join kidney dance.
00:09:36.660 --> 00:09:48.840 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I moved back to New York, I believe in 2014 I had a recently left the Philadelphia fringe and you know I love philly I love the artists Community there it's a really rich community.
00:09:50.430 --> 00:09:59.700 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And it's a really it's it's very robust for the size, but I just missed New York, I was ready, I was ready to come back in there for about six years.
00:10:01.050 --> 00:10:07.650 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And it was actually an artist who told me, I should move back, I was having dinner with her, and I was talking about, you know.
00:10:08.250 --> 00:10:17.370 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: My you know where I was and what I wanted to do, and she said, you have to move back this this isn't the right city for you come home, and so I moved back to me in 2014 and took on.
00:10:19.080 --> 00:10:36.630 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Job programming director at give me dance, which was a new it's an older organization, but it just opened a new space with some performing arts venues, and so I took the helm there to launch presenting program for the organization.
00:10:37.890 --> 00:10:40.110 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Before I moved on to abrams art Center.
00:10:41.010 --> 00:10:49.080 Jeff Goodman: And when did you join aprons art Center and what sort of happened that had you go okay it's time for me to to move from give me a brunch.
00:10:50.820 --> 00:10:54.210 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I joined aprons in 2016.
00:10:55.380 --> 00:11:11.820 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I had was very intrigued by aprons and the work that it presented, but I was also really enamored with the idea that aprons are actually a part of Henry street settlement, which is a large social service organization on the lower East side.
00:11:12.330 --> 00:11:14.700 Jeff Goodman: And so we supported that was it always part of the settlement.
00:11:15.480 --> 00:11:24.300 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah it's been a part of the settlement, since the beginning the settlement was started in the 1890s the playhouse aprons art Center was built in 1915.
00:11:25.320 --> 00:11:37.230 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And the story goes that Lillian wall, the founder of Henry street settlement had these two friends, they were philanthropists and they offered to build her theater and.
00:11:39.810 --> 00:11:53.520 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: It was an interesting story, because the founder of Henry street really believe that arts and culture were really fundamental to providing social service to people, and you know, in addition to providing health care and.
00:11:54.060 --> 00:12:06.180 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: and nursing services believe strongly that that arts were vital to the development of communities and so she jumped on board and they built this theater together.
00:12:07.110 --> 00:12:18.480 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: What was sort of created a created attention point with these two sisters also have their own theater company wanted to use the theater for themselves, and so there was this sort of interesting tension point between who is this space for the.
00:12:19.020 --> 00:12:30.090 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: You know, professional actors or for the Community and that tension, or that um you know sort of inherent conflict is really a fascinating point for me because i've always.
00:12:30.570 --> 00:12:39.720 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: liked to live between those two spaces of trying to figure out, you know who is art for and who who benefits from from the services that arts organizations can provide.
00:12:40.920 --> 00:12:52.470 Jeff Goodman: Is that still a theme now in the organization that has that I don't want to call it a conflict, you may but is that sort of back and forth has does it still exists today runs.
00:12:52.830 --> 00:12:57.150 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah absolutely I think it exists in on some level in every arts organization.
00:12:58.320 --> 00:13:03.900 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: But at at aprons and, especially, you know, with its structure, being a part of Henry street settlement.
00:13:05.610 --> 00:13:14.550 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: it's we are constantly kind of looking at the role that hurts and culture can play within the context of our neighborhood.
00:13:15.150 --> 00:13:31.830 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: The Henry street Solomon is a very neighborhood family focused organization so it's providing services that you know workforce development services, education services, health care, mental health care senior care, so the the job that I feel like I have or that I I.
00:13:33.180 --> 00:13:41.910 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Really sort of tried to to to get my myself messy and is the idea of how to bring arts to all of those other programs across the agents.
00:13:42.480 --> 00:13:55.140 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: In addition to being a space that's progressive and forward thinking and is creating experimental experimental art, which is ultimately the mission of aprons oh.
00:13:55.320 --> 00:14:03.480 Jeff Goodman: Alright well we're going to take a short break Craig and when we come back everyone who's listening we're going to continue our conversation with Greg peterson.
00:14:04.020 --> 00:14:16.410 Jeff Goodman: he's the artistic director of the aprons arts Center at the i'm sorry the executive artistic director I got your title run errands arts Center that's part of the Henry street settlement we'll be back in a moment.
00:14:18.120 --> 00:14:18.900 Jeff Goodman: To talk radio.
00:16:43.350 --> 00:16:54.960 Jeff Goodman: we're back and you're back to rediscovering New York and our episode on arts organizations smaller arts organizations that many people may not have heard of but that make up quite a quite an important part.
00:16:55.410 --> 00:17:09.780 Jeff Goodman: Of the arts here in New York, my first guest is Greg peterson Craig is the executive artistic director of the aprons art Center at the Henry street said i'm going on low resign Craig what kind of programming, do you have an abrams.
00:17:11.580 --> 00:17:26.430 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: But we do multidisciplinary arts programming were probably most known as a theater for dance or experimental theatre, we have three venues a large playhouse it's about 300 seats and then to smaller venues.
00:17:27.570 --> 00:17:49.110 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: that are less than 100 seats and then we also have about three with three gallery spaces, where we present visual art and we also have classrooms so it's a 40 square foot facility it's not small but we and we run education programs usually year round and non covert times and some Earth.
00:17:50.580 --> 00:18:00.210 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: But we we do present art mainly across dance theater they are and some music as well.
00:18:01.980 --> 00:18:18.360 Jeff Goodman: before the break, you spoke about trying to integrate not trying but integrating the artistic programming with the mission with a larger mission in the settlement, how do you do that, what do you, is it only in terms of how you come up with the programs or it's also how you execute them.
00:18:19.980 --> 00:18:22.560 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I guess, I would say yes to all that, I mean that's.
00:18:23.700 --> 00:18:27.180 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: it's definitely attention point that's not easy to.
00:18:28.440 --> 00:18:33.150 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: cut you know it's it's not easy to capture with every single project but.
00:18:34.200 --> 00:18:40.140 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I think the way that I try to approach the work is look trying trying to look for intersections of interest.
00:18:41.190 --> 00:18:54.570 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And really in many ways, using the lower East side as a backdrop for some bigger broader conversations, the lower East side is a really dynamic neighborhood with a really rich history, particularly with.
00:18:55.590 --> 00:18:58.980 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Different immigrant communities coming through lonely side.
00:19:00.420 --> 00:19:12.810 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And the residual effects of that is that it's a very diverse neighborhood still today and so there's a lot of issues that are going on in the lower East side, in particular, as you know that.
00:19:13.620 --> 00:19:28.680 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: We can zero in on as as interesting topics to explore, you know income disparity or policing or gun violence things like that that can be a hyper local conversation and can then be sort of lifted into.
00:19:29.880 --> 00:19:39.420 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: A bigger city wide or national or international conversations about immigration or other, you know larger topics that.
00:19:40.140 --> 00:19:55.950 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: So we really try to you know I think when we look at programming we try to use the lower East side of a canvas from which to pull out ideas and and conversation points that can then be i'm kind of brought into a larger mainstream discourse.
00:19:56.790 --> 00:20:09.090 Jeff Goodman: In full disclosure i'm asking you about abrams but I I used to live a block away from the lower side on second street for 16 years i've actually been to a bronze Latin a long time, because I moved to Harlem about seven years ago.
00:20:10.260 --> 00:20:16.920 Jeff Goodman: I wanted to ask you a question about challenges but not related to the neighborhood or to.
00:20:18.150 --> 00:20:25.380 Jeff Goodman: The settlement, but specifically about an arts organization that's the size of abraham's a lot of people don't know of it.
00:20:25.740 --> 00:20:30.450 Jeff Goodman: they're accustomed to hearing of much larger organizations and larger performing arts organizations.
00:20:30.960 --> 00:20:45.180 Jeff Goodman: What kind of challenges, do you face as an arts organization that is really smaller than so many others that are that are well known, is there a special set of challenges that you have to deal with to the create the programming or to.
00:20:46.200 --> 00:20:47.820 Jeff Goodman: Have you be heard in the city.
00:20:49.320 --> 00:20:58.350 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: um that's a good question, I mean I I mean i'm probably the wrong person to ask, because I have always worked at small arts organizations and that's always been a choice I made.
00:20:59.040 --> 00:21:08.910 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I think i've kind of oriented myself that way because I really enjoyed working with younger or early career to mid career artists.
00:21:10.110 --> 00:21:18.870 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: A lot of folks that kind of grow up in this industry kind of grow up and go to larger institutions as they go along, you know carried along with the artists that they work with.
00:21:20.310 --> 00:21:23.160 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I really enjoy kind of exploring.
00:21:24.240 --> 00:21:31.620 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: How to create opportunity and entry points for people I think in terms of challenges that smaller arts organizations.
00:21:32.370 --> 00:21:48.150 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: arts organizations face that I don't think it's it's terribly different than large arts organizations it's all about you know funding and ability to deliver programs, I mean one one benefit to working in a small theater, for example, is that we don't.
00:21:49.320 --> 00:21:59.160 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: ticket sales are not an economic model for us, so we don't program based on how many tickets, we can sell generally we program based on programs, we want to present and support.
00:22:00.330 --> 00:22:09.090 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: As opposed to say a for profit, theatre or large theater that really relies heavily on the economic engine of ticket sales.
00:22:09.990 --> 00:22:21.420 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: But that doesn't mean we're without financial challenges it's stuff that I would say is always the biggest challenge is trying to trying to restart the work that we do and resource the artists who are doing the work with us.
00:22:23.430 --> 00:22:29.190 Jeff Goodman: What would you say, are some of your biggest accomplishments as executive artistic director of abrams.
00:22:30.330 --> 00:22:30.870 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Oh.
00:22:31.920 --> 00:22:35.130 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: that's a hard question for me I don't like to to my word and that way.
00:22:35.820 --> 00:22:39.480 Jeff Goodman: Well, I, like my guests, to be proud of their accomplishments and.
00:22:39.660 --> 00:22:40.740 Jeff Goodman: And I have to ask a.
00:22:40.890 --> 00:22:45.120 Jeff Goodman: Hard question to to segment, you know I can't just have to be console so total softballs.
00:22:45.780 --> 00:22:50.670 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: yeah, no, no, I I think you know, as I said, I really enjoy.
00:22:51.780 --> 00:23:01.410 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: The attention point of trying to figure out what the role is of a local arts organization is i'm i'm very fascinated by the idea of a Community arts organizations.
00:23:02.400 --> 00:23:10.920 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: butts up against an experimental arts organization, I really enjoy, and you know feel like we've had a couple of.
00:23:11.400 --> 00:23:24.780 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: really great successes and kind of finding that sweet spot between all of the intersecting communities that that in our neighborhood and around us and allow us to have an impact on a broader on a broader stage.
00:23:25.800 --> 00:23:35.040 Jeff Goodman: i'm going to ask you another toot your own Horn question well to the organization, who and what would you say has been some of your most notable events or performances that you're most proud of.
00:23:36.180 --> 00:23:47.010 Jeff Goodman: I know you're proud of all of them, but the ones that really you know stand out to to accomplishments and things that you've done that might have pushed the envelope or that really got acknowledged as being exceptional.
00:23:48.090 --> 00:23:53.790 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: um I think there's been there's been several and you know we've always kind of hope that each each.
00:23:55.530 --> 00:23:59.700 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: project that you invest time and energy and you always hope that that will be the thing that kind of.
00:24:01.800 --> 00:24:07.650 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: hit hits the most you know possible layers of communities that you can reach.
00:24:09.330 --> 00:24:19.140 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: You know, we do a really fun holiday show every year that's really neighborhood focused it's a it's sort of based on a pantomime tradition, which is really fun.
00:24:20.310 --> 00:24:25.650 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: We had a really fabulous photo exhibit last year just before cove ID.
00:24:26.700 --> 00:24:29.940 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: That was called rainbow shoe repair shop and it was.
00:24:31.230 --> 00:24:41.970 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Really centered around a local business that had through the 80s and 90s taken portraits of people in the neighborhood people would stop in and get their prom pictures taken or.
00:24:42.870 --> 00:24:53.040 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: just stop in and kind of show off a cool outfit that they had that they had bought, and so we collected, these are photos from around the neighborhood and display them.
00:24:53.790 --> 00:25:08.370 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And it was this really interesting juxtaposition of you know fashion and Community pride and and art kind of all colliding and one one sort of a killer show that was really fun.
00:25:09.300 --> 00:25:22.080 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I could go on there's a lot of shows that i'm super proud of i'm mostly proud, though, like the mostly proud of the fact that we're able to continue supporting artists and bringing new people in and giving them the opportunity to put their work out there.
00:25:23.760 --> 00:25:29.970 Jeff Goodman: As an arts organization Craig that is part of a local so social service organization.
00:25:30.720 --> 00:25:44.640 Jeff Goodman: Would you say that most of the people who attend events and performances are actually from the lower East side, do you get a real cross section of people who live in a neighborhood and also come from other parts of the city to to appreciate what you what you offer.
00:25:45.150 --> 00:25:58.830 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: It really depends, it depends on the show and it depends on you know the the type of not only the content, but how we kind of connect with the audiences that that may come in, I would say, mostly though our audiences come from.
00:25:59.940 --> 00:26:01.020 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Beyond the neighborhood.
00:26:02.760 --> 00:26:20.490 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Depending though you know if something is a is a very hyper local issue, it will it will draw a crowd from from the neighborhood, but we do a tremendous amount of outreach to schools in the neighborhood so we're reaching a lot of young people come in and see work throughout the year.
00:26:22.230 --> 00:26:24.540 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: So I would say it's a real cross section.
00:26:25.860 --> 00:26:26.370 Like.
00:26:27.990 --> 00:26:35.970 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: We, we are not a we operate sometimes as a local sort of Community arts organization, but.
00:26:36.390 --> 00:26:49.260 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: In terms of an arts presenter we are internationally recognized, and so we have a lot of we do present the work of international artists, and so there, there are people from all over that tune in and try to see what's going on in our space.
00:26:50.700 --> 00:26:57.600 Jeff Goodman: i'd like to ask you a broader city question is we coming out of the pandemic or as most of us are coming out of the pandemic.
00:26:58.290 --> 00:27:11.520 Jeff Goodman: What role, would you say that New York City arts organizations, especially Community arts organizations and artists can play in not only the economic, but also the spiritual recovery of the city as we come out of cogan.
00:27:12.840 --> 00:27:28.200 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: You know I think that's a question that's a lot of our organizations have been asking themselves over the let you know not not only you know how how we come out of this, but you know what is our role to play, especially in times of crisis like this, you know I.
00:27:29.340 --> 00:27:43.860 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: i've i've i've rejected the idea that somehow artists are going to pull us out of this because I think are smarter than pulling us through this in you know a number of ways, I think that.
00:27:45.330 --> 00:27:52.800 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: You know, when we when we think back what you know what are the things that sort of got us through the dark days of the pandemic, it was books, it was music, it was.
00:27:53.640 --> 00:28:06.360 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: YouTube it was you know all kinds of content, created by artists, and so I feel like artists have been there with us all along, I think, as a small arts organization.
00:28:07.320 --> 00:28:21.480 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: we've found other uses for space during the pandemic, you know very early on, we transitioned a big portion of our building into a food pantry that was powered by technicians and and arts workers.
00:28:22.620 --> 00:28:33.810 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And so we have really tried to find ways to connect with our neighborhood in different ways throughout the pandemic, but as I said, I think that.
00:28:34.950 --> 00:28:45.030 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: I think that we owe a great debt to artists, right now, because I think that there are the only things, the only people that have really kept us sane through a really, really difficult time and really helped to.
00:28:46.020 --> 00:28:51.120 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: kind of keep us grounded keep us in community with each other and keep us thinking creatively.
00:28:53.460 --> 00:29:01.410 Jeff Goodman: One more question before we go what programs, do you have coming up in the near future that you'd like to tell our listeners about and have them, maybe check out on.
00:29:03.060 --> 00:29:07.290 Jeff Goodman: The organization i'm also going to ask you for your for your contact info for the website ravens.
00:29:07.710 --> 00:29:12.630 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: sure we have a show opening actually on Friday evening by autumn night.
00:29:13.920 --> 00:29:19.440 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: it's a performance that we're doing outdoors in our amphitheatre for three nights Friday Saturday Sunday.
00:29:20.550 --> 00:29:25.980 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: And we also have an opening a visual art exhibit called camper flags which is.
00:29:28.290 --> 00:29:44.880 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: exhibition and our galleries, or that looks at is exploring colonialism and sort of what the what flags can and do represent in terms of colonial power and that also opens this weekend so we're going out of June with a big bang.
00:29:46.620 --> 00:29:48.120 Jeff Goodman: and your website is.
00:29:48.840 --> 00:29:50.100 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: aprons art center.org.
00:29:50.610 --> 00:30:00.270 Jeff Goodman: Okay easy enough to remember Craig peterson executive artistic director of the apron art Center at the Henry street settlement Thank you so much for your time and coming on the show tonight.
00:30:00.630 --> 00:30:02.220 Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center: Thank you so much for having me.
00:30:02.880 --> 00:30:11.760 Jeff Goodman: we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to speak to a leader of another local arts organization that's a little bit different from a Prince will be back in a moment.
00:32:57.780 --> 00:32:58.470 Jeff Goodman: we're back.
00:32:59.040 --> 00:33:07.860 Jeff Goodman: And you're back to rediscovering New York support from the program comes from our sponsors the mark Miami team Morgan strategist at freedom mortgage.
00:33:08.280 --> 00:33:15.690 Jeff Goodman: for assistance in any kind of residential mortgage market his team can be reached at 646-330-4735.
00:33:16.530 --> 00:33:23.430 Jeff Goodman: and support also comes from the law offices of Thomas the aca focusing on wills estate planning probate inheritance litigation.
00:33:23.970 --> 00:33:36.150 Jeff Goodman: Tom and his staff can be reached at 212-495-0317 you can like the show on Facebook and you can also follow me on instagram and Twitter my handle is on all three are Jeff Goodman nyc.
00:33:36.810 --> 00:33:42.870 Jeff Goodman: If you have comments or questions or would like to get on our mailing list you can email me Jeff at rediscovering New York done nyc.
00:33:43.800 --> 00:33:48.210 Jeff Goodman: One of the note before we get to our second guest, even though the program is not sure about real estate.
00:33:48.660 --> 00:33:54.600 Jeff Goodman: When i'm not on the air, I am indeed a real estate agent now amazing city where I help my clients buy sale lease and rent property.
00:33:55.200 --> 00:34:06.780 Jeff Goodman: If you or someone you care about is considering a move into active within New York I would love to help you with those real estate needs, you can reach me and my team at 646-306-4761.
00:34:07.680 --> 00:34:17.220 Jeff Goodman: Our second guest is Brian Rogers Brian is a director filmmaker and video and sound artist and he's The co founder and artistic director of the chocolate factory theatre.
00:34:17.610 --> 00:34:25.530 Jeff Goodman: which supports the creation of theater dance music and multimedia performance and it's 5000 square foot facility and long island city that's in Queens, by the way.
00:34:26.580 --> 00:34:40.920 Jeff Goodman: Since 1997 Brian has conceived and or directed numerous large scale, films and performances at the chocolate factory, including and other places, including screamers that was actually at the aprons art Center hot box line festival and.
00:34:42.060 --> 00:34:50.310 Jeff Goodman: coil festival, and the best he nominated selective memory, Brian recently compose the soundtrack for Sean iron and lauren petty's film.
00:34:50.700 --> 00:34:58.710 Jeff Goodman: standing by gets backstage and he's collaborated as a sound and video artists with numerous experimental dance and theater artists in New York and elsewhere.
00:34:59.370 --> 00:35:13.470 Jeff Goodman: In addition to his own work, Brian curates the chocolate factory is artistic program now in its 17th year it supports the work of more than 100 dance theater and music and interdisciplinary artists, every year, Brian Rogers a hearty welcome to rediscovering New York.
00:35:13.830 --> 00:35:15.180 Brian Rogers: Nice to be here, thank you.
00:35:15.660 --> 00:35:16.830 Jeff Goodman: Are you from the city originally.
00:35:17.190 --> 00:35:25.800 Brian Rogers: No, I am I was born in Los Angeles, but I grew up mainly in Idaho Idaho falls Idaho so as far from the air, because you can get.
00:35:25.950 --> 00:35:28.950 Jeff Goodman: I think so, yes, culturally, as well as a.
00:35:29.160 --> 00:35:34.110 Jeff Goodman: Almost, on the other side of the country, what brought you to New York i'm guessing art hit something to do with it, but.
00:35:34.170 --> 00:35:36.540 Jeff Goodman: But I was like I asked my guests are we here, why you know.
00:35:36.780 --> 00:35:38.070 Jeff Goodman: What the landed them in New York.
00:35:38.430 --> 00:35:40.530 Brian Rogers: yeah no art, I mean I went to college.
00:35:41.610 --> 00:35:45.750 Brian Rogers: In Vermont at babson college and it was it was actually not even.
00:35:46.860 --> 00:36:02.250 Brian Rogers: A question of where I would go after that it's a really interesting thing to reflect on I feel like as an as a student in art school in the 90s, it was just almost assumed that we would come to New York because that's where all that's where all the action was really.
00:36:03.180 --> 00:36:07.710 Jeff Goodman: Did you go to bennington to study or specifically or is it something that interested you after your matriculated.
00:36:08.430 --> 00:36:10.200 Brian Rogers: know I went to back into the study art.
00:36:11.310 --> 00:36:13.800 Brian Rogers: Mainly theater and and music.
00:36:15.240 --> 00:36:24.690 Brian Rogers: But I would say that I found sort of the community of people that i'm part of now once I got some New York, but art has always been the path that I was trying to chase.
00:36:25.650 --> 00:36:29.970 Jeff Goodman: And you help found the chocolate factory, did you decide that.
00:36:30.390 --> 00:36:40.860 Jeff Goodman: One day, you would play a leadership role in helping to create an arts organization Brian or did you leadership role, did you have your founding of the chocolate factory happened more organically, all of a sudden, you decided to do it.
00:36:41.310 --> 00:36:52.980 Brian Rogers: I would call it a total accident in a way, I mean I I sort of would question whether anyone sets out to be to take a leadership role in in the arts world I think these things happen to people rather than.
00:36:54.150 --> 00:37:04.500 Brian Rogers: People making it happen for themselves in a way, but no I I had no vision for this to happen it it came organically over over the years.
00:37:05.280 --> 00:37:14.550 Jeff Goodman: Well before we talk about the history and programming of the organization I gotta ask you chocolates, one of the very big loves of my life, the organization get its name, how did you come up with the name for it.
00:37:15.120 --> 00:37:27.180 Brian Rogers: Well, the very first space that we had in the in long island city, not the not the space that we occupy now, but the space that we that we had for one year, just before had had been in its previous life a chocolate factory.
00:37:27.660 --> 00:37:37.470 Brian Rogers: And someone someone wrote an article about us for Queens newspaper and on earth this information and and told us about so that the name was obvious and it just stuck.
00:37:38.430 --> 00:37:46.920 Jeff Goodman: hmm well I when I worked in digital I actually worked for a company that was based in baltimore in the Ivory building, but the chocolate factory is.
00:37:47.070 --> 00:37:48.840 Brian Rogers: punching more appetizing so.
00:37:49.440 --> 00:37:51.360 Jeff Goodman: You don't want to think about putting ivory in your mouth.
00:37:52.800 --> 00:37:58.590 Jeff Goodman: What tell us about the history of the chocolate factory, how did you get started, what was what what was this genesis.
00:37:58.980 --> 00:38:01.020 Brian Rogers: Well, I mean we start so.
00:38:04.230 --> 00:38:09.510 Brian Rogers: The factories other Co founder whose name is sheila when he and I were.
00:38:10.650 --> 00:38:26.070 Brian Rogers: Making work, making theatre work together as independent artists and we were sort of itinerant moving from space to space around the city and then a certain point it occurred to us that we really would benefit from having a space of our own just to support our own work.
00:38:27.510 --> 00:38:28.380 and
00:38:29.580 --> 00:38:32.490 Brian Rogers: And we both lived a long island city in Queens of the time and we.
00:38:34.740 --> 00:38:35.850 Brian Rogers: found a space.
00:38:37.530 --> 00:38:41.550 Brian Rogers: close to where we lived and managed to make a relationship with the landlord and.
00:38:43.530 --> 00:38:44.850 Brian Rogers: it's sort of one of those.
00:38:46.350 --> 00:38:57.390 Brian Rogers: I think unique New York stories that's it's it's so rare we you know we managed to forge a relationship with the landlord who then offered us a very long lease at a very favorable rent.
00:38:58.590 --> 00:39:05.190 Brian Rogers: And so we were just able to make that thing happen in a way that I think, very few people can in it and that's I think.
00:39:06.450 --> 00:39:18.690 Brian Rogers: Mainly blind luck, the back that that could happen for us, but really it was just initially about finding a way cheaply, for us to support our own work and.
00:39:20.370 --> 00:39:24.120 Brian Rogers: And there was no vision for the larger thing that the factory.
00:39:25.320 --> 00:39:35.730 Brian Rogers: Eventually, has become, although we're still quite small I had, I never envisioned that we would be presenting organization or that i'd be a curator it just kind of happened.
00:39:36.780 --> 00:39:50.040 Brian Rogers: We found the space and then almost immediately artists heard that the space was there and and would knock on the door and asked if they could do things there and I saw it, we saw an opportunity to potentially build a Community around the place if we could.
00:39:51.900 --> 00:40:07.740 Brian Rogers: find a way to support artists outside of ourselves and forge a clear perspective or identity around the thing that we were doing so, so we decided to take that leap and it sort of slowly grew.
00:40:08.940 --> 00:40:12.240 Brian Rogers: Year after year, since that time, which is 17 years ago now, so.
00:40:12.720 --> 00:40:20.070 Jeff Goodman: Well, when, would you say that the chocolate factory began to make that change was it was it soon after you you formed, or is it more recent.
00:40:20.970 --> 00:40:31.320 Brian Rogers: It was soon after reformed, but it took it took a quite a long time for to begin to bear fruit, I would say, I mean we started that organization or that space rather in.
00:40:32.550 --> 00:40:47.340 Brian Rogers: With no money and so know that we were doing this work on a volunteer basis and the artists were working just for a cut of the very miniscule box office and we we function that way for five or six years and then.
00:40:48.840 --> 00:40:55.320 Brian Rogers: The tide started to really turn and there was you know suddenly after all of these years I kind of.
00:40:57.480 --> 00:41:10.110 Brian Rogers: growth of support from foundations, and we were able to raise more money and begin to pay ourselves and begin to Commission actually commissioned artist to make work and pay the artist better, but it took it took quite a long time for that to happen.
00:41:10.800 --> 00:41:22.500 Jeff Goodman: You know i'd like them, if you want to tell me but i'd like to ask how did you get the landlord to to go along with that, in the beginning stages when when money was so tight, I mean that's that itself is an incredible feat.
00:41:23.070 --> 00:41:23.880 Brian Rogers: it's you know.
00:41:24.930 --> 00:41:30.780 Brian Rogers: My memory of it is that you know we met a person who had a.
00:41:31.950 --> 00:41:36.870 Brian Rogers: profound and our landlord he passed away a few years ago, his name is john coast and.
00:41:37.980 --> 00:41:49.290 Brian Rogers: He had a profound personal connection to that to the space, but it would have been his father's business and when we first met him his mother, who was quite old was still.
00:41:50.550 --> 00:42:01.560 Brian Rogers: was still living at that point and sheila was able to just forge some kind of connection to john's mother and we explained to him what we were doing, and he just felt he just had some kind of.
00:42:03.450 --> 00:42:17.460 Brian Rogers: He understood somehow that there was something special that could happen in the space that wasn't really it was really important to him, he was one of those I think were landlords in New York City, that was not motivated by money or financial return the space that he was.
00:42:18.540 --> 00:42:28.950 Brian Rogers: Was renting meant something to him on a different level and so he essentially asked us what we could afford to pay him and we told him and.
00:42:29.970 --> 00:42:38.640 Brian Rogers: And then we asked him for a 15 year lease and he agreed to give that to us, which is you know I think i've since learned is pretty unheard of.
00:42:41.130 --> 00:42:43.620 Brian Rogers: But it was it was really just about this personal relationship.
00:42:45.180 --> 00:42:52.680 Jeff Goodman: It was obvious that you also gave him a gift to you, enabled him to support something that he saw as being bigger than just you know that.
00:42:52.770 --> 00:42:54.270 Jeff Goodman: then check at the end of the month.
00:42:57.420 --> 00:43:14.280 Jeff Goodman: The chocolate factory, you know, unlike other or artistic organizations and spaces are actually run by artists um What would you say the importance, Brian is an artist space that's actually run by artists, instead of by like a staff that runs it and then the the artists utilize it.
00:43:15.120 --> 00:43:18.900 Brian Rogers: Well, I mean it's this is always a complicated thing to navigate and.
00:43:20.670 --> 00:43:24.300 Brian Rogers: there's always because we're working in a field.
00:43:25.320 --> 00:43:38.400 Brian Rogers: As Craig said in the earlier part of this program just perpetually under resourced and independent artists are trying to piece things together, and most of the presenting organizations below a certain size.
00:43:39.510 --> 00:43:56.340 Brian Rogers: are just year after year, struggling to survive and keep it going, then there can be a real tension between the artists and the presenter around the conditions of the work that happens, and how money flows, and I think because.
00:43:57.360 --> 00:44:12.840 Brian Rogers: At the time of its founding I was a working artist and i'm still working artists, I just have a very direct and personal understanding of what it takes for an independent artists to to make a project happen in New York City and.
00:44:14.160 --> 00:44:18.240 Brian Rogers: When inviting other artists to come and do a project with us in our space.
00:44:19.890 --> 00:44:27.630 Brian Rogers: When the artist knows that i'm also an artist and that I understand these challenges, we can have a conversation around how to make this thing happen.
00:44:28.830 --> 00:44:38.490 Brian Rogers: that's less hierarchical in some kind of way when we don't have to negotiate so much as we can just talk about the challenge and and.
00:44:38.910 --> 00:44:48.120 Brian Rogers: collaborate on how to solve the challenge or overcome the challenge and so there's something culturally inside the organization about that that I think makes it.
00:44:50.310 --> 00:44:52.620 Brian Rogers: there's less suspicion and either side around how.
00:44:54.480 --> 00:44:56.430 Brian Rogers: on how the relationship can unfold.
00:44:56.820 --> 00:45:07.470 Jeff Goodman: mm hmm probably probably less a breeding ground for resentments and second guessing that someone's motives, because you, you know you all come from the same place as artist.
00:45:07.860 --> 00:45:13.980 Brian Rogers: yeah I think so, and there's a lot of trust there, although I you know I would I would I would emphasize that you know.
00:45:15.630 --> 00:45:21.060 Brian Rogers: building trust in organizational cultures can happen in all kinds of ways, I mean it's really quite amazing that.
00:45:21.690 --> 00:45:28.110 Brian Rogers: That you invited both pregnant I to speak on the same program because we share a lot of the same values and it worked with a lot of the same artists.
00:45:29.040 --> 00:45:41.760 Brian Rogers: And I think there's something unique about the culture of the chocolate factory that really does spring from the fact that I make work as an artist, but it's not it's one of it's one of numerous I think factors that.
00:45:43.740 --> 00:45:47.130 Brian Rogers: Can engender trust between an institution and.
00:45:48.600 --> 00:45:53.340 Brian Rogers: A small scale independent artists who's trying to achieve something ambitious.
00:45:54.480 --> 00:45:59.490 Jeff Goodman: Well we'll give a shout out and thank Merrill Cooper for connecting both you and Craig Thank you Meryl.
00:46:01.020 --> 00:46:12.930 Jeff Goodman: we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our conversation with Brian Rogers who is one of the founders and artistic director of the chocolate factory theater right here in New York City in long island city in Queens will be back in a moment.
00:48:27.960 --> 00:48:33.060 Jeff Goodman: we're back and you're back to episode 119 I can't believe this is 100 19th episode of the show.
00:48:33.540 --> 00:48:40.470 Jeff Goodman: we're looking at arts organizations in new york's but in New York, but smaller arts organizations organizations that many people have not heard of.
00:48:40.830 --> 00:48:45.570 Jeff Goodman: But that make up such an important and vital part of the artistic culture of the city.
00:48:46.170 --> 00:48:55.230 Jeff Goodman: My guests, for the second segment of Brian Roger is Brian Rogers he's a director of filmmaker video and sound artist and the co founder and artistic director of the chocolate factory.
00:48:55.830 --> 00:49:00.930 Jeff Goodman: I have to say, Brian that we have one little negative fan or engineers and I thought we'd be talking about.
00:49:00.960 --> 00:49:02.010 Brian Rogers: Chocolate a lot more.
00:49:02.250 --> 00:49:03.180 Brian Rogers: i'm sorry this boy.
00:49:05.010 --> 00:49:08.220 Jeff Goodman: I have to get her some hershey's with almonds, which is one of my favorites.
00:49:09.450 --> 00:49:10.590 Jeff Goodman: When I ask you um.
00:49:11.640 --> 00:49:13.800 Jeff Goodman: What kinds of.
00:49:15.420 --> 00:49:21.990 Jeff Goodman: Programming do you create an hosted the chocolate factory and that also might be a little bit different from what other people might find it other organizations.
00:49:22.380 --> 00:49:28.170 Brian Rogers: Well, I think you know we call ourselves an incubator space, which means that we're supporting.
00:49:29.310 --> 00:49:42.030 Brian Rogers: New developments, so we you know we we try to make a space for the most experimental or I would say just weird things that are happening in the artists community.
00:49:44.820 --> 00:49:53.250 Brian Rogers: which you really it's it can be quite hard to find in in larger institutions or more mainstream spaces.
00:49:54.030 --> 00:50:00.630 Jeff Goodman: What would you say has been some of your more edgy programming or surprising stuff that you that you've produced.
00:50:01.500 --> 00:50:04.980 Brian Rogers: I mean there have been so many over the years, and I would say that, in a way.
00:50:06.030 --> 00:50:09.750 Brian Rogers: I sort of celebrate our failures more than our successes, sometimes because.
00:50:10.860 --> 00:50:20.130 Brian Rogers: If an artist takes you know, a really prominent risk and then fails, I still think that's a really important contribution to the to the to the art form.
00:50:20.970 --> 00:50:33.900 Brian Rogers: But we've we've had a whole bunch over the years, one there's an artist named David Newman who's made a few really important works that actually we co commissioned with the aprons art Center there's an artist named Daniel fish.
00:50:35.310 --> 00:50:47.130 Brian Rogers: Who recently has worked on broadway and oppression of Oklahoma but did a production inspired and drawn from the work of David foster wallace that we did a few years ago that I think is a highlight.
00:50:48.840 --> 00:50:51.210 Brian Rogers: And just dozens of others, I would say, actually.
00:50:52.680 --> 00:50:56.670 Jeff Goodman: and talk about the evolution of an organization, you have a new home now not.
00:50:56.730 --> 00:50:58.830 Brian Rogers: yeah there's the landlord yes.
00:50:59.280 --> 00:51:10.290 Brian Rogers: We do yeah I mean we, and this is really a credit to sheila Lewandowski, my co founder of the organization with me, but when you know when we more than a decade ago.
00:51:11.460 --> 00:51:12.750 Brian Rogers: After we established.
00:51:14.190 --> 00:51:22.830 Brian Rogers: The long leash relationship with with with john our landlord we really understood as the organization began to gain some traction.
00:51:23.850 --> 00:51:29.640 Brian Rogers: That if we wanted this to survive long term we really needed to own a space, I mean that.
00:51:31.170 --> 00:51:39.000 Brian Rogers: As I think most you know and and probably most your listeners know New York City is a constantly changing and challenging real estate market.
00:51:40.140 --> 00:51:42.270 Jeff Goodman: And we knew that if we were actually in long island city, I mean.
00:51:42.900 --> 00:51:48.420 Brian Rogers: yeah the fastest developing neighborhood in New York City and buy some estimations the country.
00:51:49.770 --> 00:52:00.510 Brian Rogers: So much, as was happening here, and so we started more than 10 years ago to try to find a way to own a building and it took quite a long time and there were several false starts and.
00:52:01.710 --> 00:52:04.050 Brian Rogers: failed projects, but we.
00:52:05.220 --> 00:52:14.460 Brian Rogers: We were able to, with the support of our of the city of New York and in particular our city council person or outgoing City Council person dream and grammar we were able to.
00:52:16.650 --> 00:52:23.070 Brian Rogers: get some significant support from the city to purchase a building and we finally found a building and.
00:52:24.990 --> 00:52:27.060 Brian Rogers: Who seller was willing to sell it to us.
00:52:28.140 --> 00:52:41.910 Brian Rogers: And the city of New York purchased a 7500 square foot factory building in the neighborhood we we closed on in in 2017 and we're now going to start off we're going to be full time occupying that building.
00:52:43.500 --> 00:52:44.070 Brian Rogers: This summer.
00:52:44.460 --> 00:52:47.610 Jeff Goodman: Oh great so it's the city leasing it back to you they're they're the owners and.
00:52:47.760 --> 00:52:50.250 Brian Rogers: know where the owners, the city, it was the.
00:52:51.630 --> 00:53:09.300 Brian Rogers: it's a process that I think, rarely has ever happened in New York, but the nyc EDC economic development corporation purchased the building on the market on the private market and then sign the deed us so my organization is, though, is the owner of the building.
00:53:09.660 --> 00:53:13.200 Jeff Goodman: wow well that's probably the most substantial bit of fundraising you've done i'm.
00:53:15.090 --> 00:53:15.540 Jeff Goodman: Building.
00:53:16.890 --> 00:53:18.300 Jeff Goodman: In long island city, you know.
00:53:18.480 --> 00:53:18.960 Brian Rogers: Oh yeah.
00:53:19.980 --> 00:53:20.460 Brian Rogers: yeah.
00:53:20.670 --> 00:53:23.070 Jeff Goodman: You should write a book on how you and how you did that but.
00:53:24.840 --> 00:53:32.550 Jeff Goodman: Aside from the city, you know and councilmember van braemar who, even though we're not politically is running for a Queens borough President today and the primary.
00:53:34.950 --> 00:53:51.420 Jeff Goodman: What kind of what is it like to fundraise for the chocolate factory or the challenges that you find that you face because you are an organization that was founded and run by artists and and and not sort of mainline and traditional for an arts organization, even a small one.
00:53:52.110 --> 00:53:55.380 Brian Rogers: it's yes it's a fundraiser I mean it's um.
00:53:57.870 --> 00:53:59.130 Brian Rogers: This is one of the big lessons.
00:54:00.210 --> 00:54:15.870 Brian Rogers: That i've learned as the leader of an arts organization is that you know my title is artistic director and i'm a curator but really what I spend most of my time doing and sheila spins my partner sheila spends most of her time doing is raising money that's really what my job is doing.
00:54:16.980 --> 00:54:19.800 Brian Rogers: And it's incredibly challenging for a small organization.
00:54:21.840 --> 00:54:30.300 Brian Rogers: Because we don't have you know some of the like large you know the large museums, or very large established cultural spaces.
00:54:32.910 --> 00:54:38.520 Brian Rogers: raise money in some ways, through their attachment to I don't know the social register or sort of you know, the high class.
00:54:39.180 --> 00:54:39.510 know.
00:54:41.760 --> 00:54:42.930 Jeff Goodman: Is that would be different for you.
00:54:43.050 --> 00:54:50.490 Brian Rogers: Obviously, yes, very much so we're very low, to the ground we're very you know grassroots Community based, and so we survive really on.
00:54:51.480 --> 00:55:07.650 Brian Rogers: foundation grants we spend all of our time writing grants and similar to a resource Center ticket sales are a minuscule portion of our budget it's less less than 5% even pre pandemic and obviously during pandemic it's zero percent but.
00:55:09.090 --> 00:55:16.830 Brian Rogers: it's never been a big part of our budget so yeah we just we rely on the generosity of foundations and individuals.
00:55:18.180 --> 00:55:27.180 Jeff Goodman: In the minute we have left prime what kind of programming, do you have coming up the chocolate factory and also How can people find out about I suppose the chocolate factory that'll work, am I right about that is that.
00:55:27.210 --> 00:55:31.650 Brian Rogers: Yes, three theater.org is our is our website, I encourage everyone to visit.
00:55:32.700 --> 00:55:44.250 Brian Rogers: And the most important thing that's happening programming wise for us right now is we're we're celebrating the closing of our current space or current in space we're actually handing back the keys on July 1.
00:55:45.240 --> 00:55:54.360 Brian Rogers: So we have a series of events this week that are celebrating the 17 years we've been in that space, culminating this weekend, with two afternoons of.
00:55:55.230 --> 00:56:01.020 Brian Rogers: outdoor performances we're closing off the block in front of the theater as part of the open culture Program.
00:56:01.860 --> 00:56:13.950 Brian Rogers: And we have to sort of marathons of performances by artists who have shown work at the chocolate factory over the years and that's The thing that i'm most excited about in the short term.
00:56:14.940 --> 00:56:24.330 Jeff Goodman: Great well Brian Rogers thanks so much for being a guest on the special program about lesser known arts organizations and the important role that you all play in the arts and culture of the city.
00:56:25.260 --> 00:56:32.910 Jeff Goodman: My second guest husband Brian Rogers he's The co founder and artistic director of the chocolate factory theater and long island city Queens about to move into their new home.
00:56:34.320 --> 00:56:40.740 Jeff Goodman: If you have comments or questions about this show would like to get on our mailing list, please email me Jeff at rediscovering your pet nyc.
00:56:41.430 --> 00:56:50.010 Jeff Goodman: You can like us on Facebook and also follow me on instagram and Twitter once again i'd like to thank our sponsors the mark my admin team Morgan strategist at freedom mortgage.
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00:56:56.010 --> 00:57:02.280 Jeff Goodman: One more thing, before we sign off i'm Jeff Goodman a real estate agent or brown hair Stevens in New York City and in long island city as well.
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00:57:08.640 --> 00:57:20.610 Jeff Goodman: To help you, with your real estate needs, you can reach us at 646-306-4761 our producers Ralph story or our engineer this evening is the amazing Emily showman, especially because she loves chocolate, just like.
00:57:21.600 --> 00:57:27.300 Jeff Goodman: Our special consultant is David Griffin of landmark brandon thanks for listening, everyone will see you next time.