A LETTER FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, RACHEL COOK ON FUSEBOX FESTIVAL Apr 21, 2020
Last week would have been the opening of Fusebox festival in Austin. On the Boards and Fusebox have a long-standing friendship as artistic collaborators, co-commissioners, and fellow creative instigators. Betsey and I were planning on going with a group of OtB Board and Audience members, to experience the festival together. We have been thinking about the similarities between Seattle and Austin; growing tech community, desire for social change, civic-minded creative communities that want to make an impact on the city, and incredible local food!
This year in quick pivot, Ron Berry, the founder and Executive Artistic Director and Anna Gallagher-Ross, the Associate Artistic Director and Curator, figured out how to launch an online festival in less than a month. I’m so impressed by Fusebox’s ability to try creative and adventurous ideas out in public. They are both fearless leaders and I’m thankful to call them good friends as well as curatorial colleagues and peers! Since the founding of the festival, the ethos of everything they do is let’s see what might happen if we did something this way, including making the entire festival free! This combination of imagination, entrepreneurial, high tolerance for artistic risk, and good sense of humor has allowed Fusebox to create an organization that is more than simply a festival, but a global hub that studies, commissions, and presents contemporary live performance.
We all are trying to creatively imagine how we will reemerge from this and be able to gather with one another again. I’m trying to channel some of those Fusebox-Texas vibes and advocate strongly for the idea that art, artists and organizations that were created to support their creative work all HAVE VALUE and need to be part of our society, whether part of that society is trapped indoors or whether that society is stuck in a hospital fighting for their lives.
I believe each of us are creative, thinking beings and have the ability to learn from artists, see things from the artists point of view and through this constant exposure to art, we can learn about history, culture, identity, and many other societal issues of our time. I hope we can rebuild an arts ecosystem that creates new networks of creative practices. I want to build mechanisms for artists to sustain their creative practice, as well as cultural arts workers and curators to have a healthy arts organization/institutional structure that they can do their best creative work inside of and transform society.