Artshare brings together 15 arts organizations who perform at
"I had the kernel of the idea in late 2009, literally
We talked about how great it would be, then we started thinking about logistics and went home and decided it would never work because it was way too complicated."
Pared down from city-wide to
For the Southern, Artshare is an effort to reclaim its place as one of
"This puts the Southern in a position where we know what our cash flow is," Runnals said. "Given the lessons of the past at this organization, one thing I've tried to reflect in my tenure is a level of accountability and transparency."
Consistency is also the goal for the 15 companies, whose representatives see Artshare as a win-win.
"We're a small theater company so there's no way we would ever have been able to afford to rent the Southern," said
In fact, Disciorio is finding it difficult to see a downside, other than having to raise individual ticket prices, since Swandive previously charged much less than
"We tried really hard to find a catch," Disciorio said. "With free rental space at this gorgeous space, the opportunity for collaboration maybe with the other companies, the opportunity to have more money to pay our own artists and the cherry on the top of the (subscriber) stipend -- I mean, to actually get paid as a small theater company? We're lucky if we break even."
Janczewski said getting locked into specific dates is tricky (his will be in early August, at the same time as the Minnesota Fringe Festival) and he needs to make sure not to double up on his existing donors, but he thinks he can make Artshare work.
"I like the idea of the artists getting a percentage of the Artshare memberships. To have that monthly check coming in is such a luxury," Janczewski said. "That's what I think is cool. The Southern is really putting the artist in front of it. It's always been the most artist-driven space in town and this continues that."
The hope is also that Artshare will encourage folks who have not been to the Southern to attend performances there, since going to a few performances a month for one's
Janczewski refers to the Artshare participants as "renegades" and everyone involved acknowledges that there's no guarantee the
"Will it be a raging success? I don't know. I hope so," Runnals said. "The truth is that I'm much more interested in creating stability than in bringing in tons of cash really fast. The program can give us a bedrock from which we can build for the future."
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