Essay by

In Search of the Artistic Home

Essay by

Jamie Gahlon has asked theatre artists from around the country to talk about their personal search for an artistic home. Erik Ehn continues this series.

What makes an artistic home?
A bed, a kitchen and polite indifference—freedom to come and go plus the occasional civil rituals to provide a sense of specific gravity. Walking distance to—things. Multifarious ways forward for scripts/theatremaking that puts midnight and 4am on an even par with the 8pm curtain.

Where and how did you find yours and what does it mean to you?
I was literally dying—I couldn’t have fallen any further into solipsism (self absorption matched perfectly with self-misunderstanding) without turning into a small flake of lead. A nice actor took my work to nice people (Jeff Jones, Mac Wellman) who brought me into BACA, where Greta Gundersen made the place (a room in back of a church, downtown Brooklyn before Metrotech) feel like family— arguments, scenes, spills included. Inconstant and not outcome-enabled. Not only would I not be a writer today without this community, I’m telling you, I wouldn’t be alive.

We know what home is. Lose the art, make the home, the art will be a consequence.

How can one create and/or build an artistic home for others?
Make excuses for people to get together, where excuses and getting together are at the center, and the work rises up as an accident of community. Don’t sweat the work (not even the work should sweat the work)—make the occasion/event.

What is the artistic home of the future?
We know what it is; the question knows what it is—it’s home. We know what home is. Lose the art, make the home, the art will be a consequence.

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Thoughts from the curator

Theatre artists from around the country reflect on their respective "artistic homes."

Artistic Home

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I raise my hand in witness to Erik's astute observation: ..."the work rises up as an accident of community. Don't sweat the work (not even the work should sweat the work)-- make the occasion/event." Invite artists into your home. Make them welcome. Give them gifts. Travel to other artists' homes. Bring them gifts. Art arises. Of course, there's inevitable sweat involved in the shaping of that art. Especially if the artists come from very different homes (cultures, economic classes). But believe in the birth. It's blessed.

"Make excuses for people to get together, where excuses and getting together are at the center, and the work rises up as an accident of community." What a great line. It rings true: the richest, most powerful meetings are those that happen by accident.