I am the Program Director of S.L.I.P -which is the SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program. S.L.I.P is a two week intensive for emerging artists that focuses on the business of the arts. Michael Rubenfeld and I co-created the program four years ago.As the Program Director I organize, curate, administrate and dream up every detail pertaining to the program. The job (and the program) is important because we get to help emerging artists learn about a side of the industry that is often not talked about in traditional arts schools – the business side of the industry. We bring in the best of the best to speak to our participants about topics like budgeting, marketing, publicity, grant writing, fundraising and more. The program offers participants practical skills and connects them with some of the most sought after professionals in the arts. S.L.I.P is a groundbreaking program and many of our participants come out of the program feeling prepared to take on a career in the arts.
2. Why do you engage with the SummerWorks Performance Festival? What has it taught you as an artist?
I engage with SummerWorks because it is one of the most unique festival’s in the country. I wouldn’t be able to run a program like S.L.I.P at just any festival. SummerWorks allows for and encourages possibilities. It’s an environment where anything can happen. As an artist, the spirit of the Festival has taught me to dream big and plan well.
3. What advice would you give to a newbie SummerWorks attendee so that they really get a feel for the festival?
Try to see a show at every venue. Try to see something at the Performance Bar, Live Art Series and Music Series. Stay and have a drink with other attendees. Stay and have a drink with the artists involved in the Festival. And…pace yourself.
4. Why do you think SummerWorks is important to the Toronto, and national, arts scene?
The Festival showcases work by some of the most established and the most emerging artists in the city and across Canada. Quality of work is always at the forefront and yet the Festival insists on maintaining a sense of play. The work is serious but there is also room for magic.
5. There’s never enough time to flesh out all we want to in our jobs, so what do you wish you had more time to do with your job?
We have 12 participants in the program this year. A number of them are coming in from out of town (Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal). This has given me a taste for how the program could have a real national presence. I wish I had the time to find more funding which would enable us to bring in even more artists from out of town.
6. Female, artistic/creaitve influnences; who were yours?
A few are: Kelly Thornton, Hannah Moscovitch, Gina Wilkinson, Joan MacLeod, Judith Thompson, Diane Flacks, Kristen Thomson, Leah Cherniak, Nina Lee Aquino, Naomi Campbell, Leslie Lester, Yvette Nolan, Sherry Bie…and my mother.
7. Finish this sentence: If the SummerWorks Performance Festival were a woman, she would _____
What do you mean ‘if.’
8. Money, (wo)man power, and time aren’t issues: what do you want SummerWorks to do next?
Each year, we invite over 30 professional artists to speak to our S.L.I.P group. I would love to bring more artists in from outside Toronto to speak to our participants about art that is happening across the country.