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2896039-lgAs the drama unfolds on the Hill (will republicans back the stimulus package without enough tax breaks), I think it’s important to talk about the arts. After all, the arts often suffer first in any economic turmoil. Broadway has seen the biggest wave of closures; funding is out of the question for many new artists. Times are bad for us in the creative field.

Habit is a curious thing. When an option is removed from the table, we usually look at our other options. I can’t drive that way because of construction? I’ll go another way. But when habit is threatened, we freeze up. We don’t ask what else?, we ask how do I fix it.

Producers might be trying to figure out how to fix Broadway so it returns to being a cash machine. They probably remember the days when shows could sell tickets with $200+ prices. Well, now that option’s off the table. The new option is that producers can focus on new kinds of projects; they can explore beyond the movie musical, or even the dreaded jukebox musical. And Broadway will see something new.

We can either build our arts to return to our old ways, or we can take this opportunity to choose a different option. We are the creative sector of this country, and yet we’re just as guilty of mediocrity. It takes opportunities like this to show off our ingenuity. After all, the writer’s strike, while ultimately disastrous for dramatic writing community, still saw new projects that would not exist in normal conditions.

We don’t have to stray far from what we know–after all, some rules exist to create the best products. But we can try to use this economic climate to forge ahead. Artists, take on new projects. You may not get paid as much, or you might not get paid at all. The point is that your creative energy doesn’t rely on the health of stock portfolios or a hemorrhaging economy. Your creative energy allows you freedom in the economic storm. You can still create whereas others are screwed for the time being. And once the storm passes, you still have a product to show your talent.

So, get out there! Do something–especially if you’re layed off from your “A” job. Create, create, create.

P.S. Things might pick up soon. If the stimulus package is passed, there will be 50 million dollars for the arts!

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