As a working professional, I spend most of my time creating. The rest of the time is used getting organizations and individuals to partner with me financially so that I can continue to present my work at the highest level. It is not a hobby. My mission is to add value to people’s lives through my creative projects. In a culture such as that in Northeast Florida where there is no economic model to provide for artists, it adds more work to a challenging vocation that does not pay often, and very little when it does. If you’re a fan of mine, sponsoring my work helps me continue to create and broaden my audience.
This is why I am honored to share information about STAGE Fund. The founders’ mission is to compensate professional-level performing arts talent in Jacksonville and retain that talent, rather than see it depart for cities with more inherent opportunity for financial support. Through STAGE Fund’s contributions, I’ve been able to present two productions of Peter Pan: A New Musical by Jason Woods this year. If you’ve seen it, you know that it is not an ordinary show. This is the level of work STAGE Fund wants to see grow and multiply.
This is not to diminish the role of volunteer work in community theatre, but rather raise the bar of work by retaining, nurturing and rewarding the excellence we possess, rather than stand by while artists, who sometimes have no choice, leave the area for more opportunity than Jacksonville offers.
If you have thought in the past, as many do, that a ticket purchase is all that is needed, please know it is not enough. While tickets are essential, they play a relatively small part, and grants are sometimes grandfathered into organizations regardless of vision or results, and sometimes, the best work in the city goes either unrewarded, unseen, unsung, underfunded, or all of the above.
STAGE Fund, a nonprofit organization, wants to create a professional theatrical presence in Jacksonville, which will only help the city.
The brain trust of STAGE Fund is comprised of Diane Kilpatrick Brunet-García, Lisa Goodrich, Alicia DeWitt Somers, and Joshua Taylor. These are smart individuals with integrity, vision, generosity, and a fierce determination to truly change the artistic landscape of Jacksonville. They know that talking about a renaissance of performing arts means nothing. It takes work and it takes money.
We need more like them and others to share in the gift of funding professional theatre. This is a desperately underfunded area of arts support in Jacksonville.
Consider a contribution of any kind to STAGE Fund. You will see the difference.
You may experience the difference.
Learn more at www.stagefund.org.
By Jason Woods
Actor/Director/Author of Tinx Just Stinks And Charlie Doesn’t