Sunday, January 15, 2012

storytellers, unite!

Who Knew?

I suppose it is my own fault and I should know better. But I decided to archive my 'google' alerts at an old email  account and was just cleaning out all my old folders when I found myself listed as the only storyteller at Murray Hill Talent Agency. Wow! Who knew? Does this make me happy? No. And, Yes.  No! With all the amazing storytelling talent in New England,  I shouldn't be the only storyteller listed.  And yes, it is nice to get a paying gig every lil' once and a while! This is another perfect case in point about why we started masssmouth,inc. three years ago -  to promote the art of storytelling.
Too many of my colleagues would be happy with being the sole listing at a talent agency. But that reaction to this situation would be short-sighted. Easily understood but our long suffering art form cannot grow with this attitude of small-minded, desperate artists. I post this listing because I hope my colleagues will read this and send their promotional materials to these people. Murray Hill found me because I have a web presence. Now you storytellers reading this? You can find Murray Hill, because I am sharing this.

My point is, like all artists in a bad economy; and face it, New England has ALWAYS been a bad economy for artists, we need to stop fighting over the crumbs from an ever shrinking pie and band together to make ever widening 'pies' so we all can get the piece we need and deserve.  Let me clarify... we also need to know that our desperate work situation is not solely of our own making.

Checking out the National Arts Index - Americans for the Arts one can see how our national financial situation has affected the overall arts scene. State funding is at an all time low of 75¢ per person per year in arts spending. In a paper published in 2000, the NEA summarized the latest research comparing government (public) arts expenditures in the U.S. with the spending levels of other countries. It drew on data published by the Arts Council of England (ACE) in its 1998 report entitled International Data on Public Spending on the Arts in Eleven Countries . In a chart titled "Government Expenditure on the Arts and Museums Includes Federal, State, and Local Government Spending on the Arts per capita" - in the UK $26 in the US $6.

While Massachusetts has one of the higher gross state budget amounts for the arts (we rank 8th) the entire yearly budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is a measly $163 million.  By my calculator and google's US population tally of 307,006,550 - that equals a whopping $1.89 per person.  Compare to the reward the Wall Street bankers for gave  themselves in 2009  as a reward for crashing the economy?  $18.4 billion.  Yes, that is $59.00 per person if that money were redirected. Ooops, I fear my red undershirt is showing again. But comrades, seriously? With these kinds of objective conditions we need to band together. Things are tough.  And I haven't even started to examine at the health care situation vis-a-vis artists.

We all want to work and be able to give people all the good that comes from our art. It will not be as easy as pie, and we need to band together so we can roll out the dough!

What to do? Start with listing and posting your gigs. Everywhere. But especially at, where at great expense, we maintain a site to promote you and your live events.

More to come...


Carolyn Stearns Storyteller-Announcer said...

as always yhou are telling it like it is. Now to hope this does not fall on deaf ears! Come on everybody let's help each other out of the mire!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your information!