BuskNY is looking for folks with a few minutes to spare for performer outreach. It’s fun and low-commitment (0-3 hours per week, as you wish). Most of all, it’s a chance to hear great music. The key duty is direct outreach — i.e. chatting — with the performers you cross in the subway. You can read more on Idealist. To get involved, simply RSVP on Facebook for our training event next Monday, December 15 at 6:45 at 224 W 29th St, 14th floor. There will be snacks, and participants will receive free “We Are Culture” t-shirts. In other news, we’ve prepared our Kickstarter rewards for shipping. Those of you who backed our campaign can expect them to arrive soon, and anyone who missed out can still buy one for $25 — just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BuskNY was proud to speak at Busker Ball 8, a showcase for the city’s most vibrant freelance performers, on Thursday. Under the direction of Theo Eastwind, the latest Busker Ball brought its focus to activism, criticizing the wrongful ejections, tickets, and arrests that have plagued the NYC subway performing community.
BuskNY spoke and displayed the banner we used for our rally at City Hall, and the audience also heard a recorded update on buskers’ rights from Nick Broad of the Busking Project.
Performers included Lawrence Wilson, Eli Bridges and Ken Shoji, Theo Eastwind, Grace Kalambay, Cathie Russo, and Mr. Reed.
BuskNY is pleased to announce that we are open for submissions for our upcoming exhibition. Please submit your work or share this information with any artists you know whose work is relevant to our theme!
“SHOWTIME: Underground Arts”
OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
BUSKNY ART SHOW at Armature Art Space
BuskNY and Armature Art Space invite you to submit work for “SHOWTIME,” an exhibition of art made in and about the subway and public transit.
BuskNY is an arts advocacy organization that was created in 2013. Our mission is to generate broad awareness of the legality of artistic performance in the New York City subway, in order to end wrongful ejection, ticketing, and arrest of subway performers. While our primary focus is on musicians and performing artists, we also promote the creation, promotion, and sale of art by independent artists in the subway.
Through SHOWTIME, we will support visual artists whose work deals with or is made or sold in public transit and public space, with a particular focus on art made in the subway system itself. SHOWTIME will refocus the subway art dialogue on work made by independent artists, and publicly reemphasize that all New Yorkers can participate in the creative process.
Our partner, Armature Art Space, is a Bushwick gallery that showcases local artists using traditional media. Armature, which describes itself as “the support (or “armature”) on which artists can express themselves and around which artists may build community,” has graciously offered its gallery space free of charge.
The opening reception for SHOWTIME will feature refreshments and live performances by visual artists and prominent subway musicians.
Show dates: October 3-12
Opening: Friday, October 3 7-11 PM
Submission deadline: September 19
Work dropoff times: Minimum 3 days before opening
Work pickup times: Sunday, October 12 1-5 PM
Address: Armature Art Space, 316 Weirfield St, Brooklyn, NY
Submission information appears on the following page. We appreciate your interest, and will respond to all queries in a timely manner. Please feel free to forward this message to other artists, and to connect with us online at buskny.com or armatureartspace.org.
Please send all submissions and inquiries to Milo Wissig, email@example.com, with SHOWTIME SUBMISSION in the subject line. Please include an image of the piece[s] you would like to submit with the file name formatted as: Name_Title_HeightxWidthxDepth_Medium_Year.jpg.
The images should be 72 DPI JPEGs about 1000 pixels wide. Please include the following information:
If you choose to sell your work, you will receive 100% of the retail price. (Armature Art Space takes no commissions).You may submit up to six pieces for consideration; we will likely choose 1 to 3.
This Thursday we attended the 7th quarterly Busker Ball, an event organized by Theo Eastwind, in which some of the best buskers in New York performed at Williamsburg bar and music venue Spike Hill. Theo has been inviting us to speak about busker’s rights, distribute flyers and sell t-shirts for the past few Busker Balls.
The lineup for this season’s show:
Following the success of last year’s Kickstarter campaign, we will be raising the money to make our new shirts free to all performers. We would like to include footage of a variety of buskers in our video, so if you would like to participate you can either send your own brief clips (webcam or phone video is fine) of yourself performing or speaking about busking and police harassment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us so that we can film you ourselves later in the month when we’re putting the video together.
The next Busker Ball is October 30th at 7:30 at Spike Hill!
Theo Eastwind suggested we sell the leftover “Music is Legal!” t-shirts at the 5th Busker Ball last Thursday at Spike Hill so I went to set up a merchandise table and took a lot of blurry shots of the show. We even got one of our shirts pinned up to the curtain with Blueberry Season pins.
It was a great show! I encourage anybody who missed it to come to the next Busker Ball on April 24th– and ask Theo about getting involved if you want to perform.
Shiloh Levy gave a presentation about buskers’ rights explaining what BuskNY is all about, followed by Heth of Heth and Jed who discussed his recent legal victory. I gave the last ten or so shirts to Arthur and Shiloh to distribute, so now I have room for the 2014 shirts. We learned a lot about what people want in a shirt from the first run, so I’m planning on doing something a little more complicated, and with a more inclusive message. There may be another Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for materials and equipment. I’ll keep you updated!
Almost immediately after we started giving them out, we began spotting our “Music is Legal!” t-shirts all over the city. Now that we’ve managed to distribute most of this summer’s supply, we’re creating a gallery of photos performers wearing the shirts.
We only have a few photos so far, but it would be great to see more people showing support!
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on setting up my own silkscreen equipment, so I can make even better shirts, with a new design, next year.
Also, don’t forget that our “Music is Legal” event at Armature Art Space in Bushwick is this Monday night! We hope to see you there!
I’m taking off tomorrow morning for a week in Vermont. So, it’s a good moment to look at what we’ve done and learned so far this summer:
- We’ve gotten the website and associated Twitter and Facebook pages up and running, with decent visibility and traffic. Also, one of our videos currently stands at 7,641 views, which I think is pretty great. One of our original goals was to establish a web presence for practical legal information about busking arrests — so we’re making good progress there.
- The “Music is Legal!” shirts have been printed, and we’ve distributed about 20 so far. They look great, and we’re happy to see ’em in the subway.
- Our mailing list is expanding fast. We hope not to use it often, apart from a couple reminders about the possibility of lawsuits. But if and when rules changes are proposed at the MTA, it’ll be the subway arts’ weapon for organization. Si vis pacem, para bellum!
- Our harassment database has also grown to over 20 incidents. Not bad, considering it came into being two weeks ago — but also not good, if you believe that subway artists shouldn’t be being illegally harassed. But in any case, the problem is starting to be documented on a broader scale than it has been before, and that may be a solution in the making.
- We’ve started to develop strategies for protecting performers proactively, including visibly displaying rules pamphlets and tracking police incidents back to misinformation with station managers. Big hopes for the future on this front…
One other thing: through a lot of conversations in the last few weeks, I’ve heard how hard it’s been for many performers because of wrongful harassment. I’m still the only one I know who’s been hit by a cop for playing the violin — but I’m not the only one who’s been harassed, or hurt, or chased out, or yelled out, or arrested. This is not a non-issue, folks, and we’re going to hit back as hard as we can.
And, a couple goals for the future:
- More lawsuits. With the harassment database growing and the news that you can sue for a wrongful summons, this is the time to take a bite out of the NYPD for its failure to train its officers on the laws of New York City. We’ll be psyched to see some notices of claim filed soon!
- More community involvement here. Given the basis we’ve established so far and the importance of public performance to the NYC arts scene, we think an organization in this role can be productive in the long term in this city. We’d like to start taking steps to make this more sustainable — and that includes getting friends and peers writing here and involved in planning and decision-making. More on this to come soon!
My 7 AM Megabus beckons, so that’s all for now. I’ll be enjoying a break from the blog for the week — but based on what we’ve heard and done so far, I’ll be looking forward to getting back to work just as much. See you soon, New York!
The shirts arrived Thursday evening, and since I only had two days available to print them before losing access to my studio space (and I’m spending Sunday helping to install my show at the Painting Center), we had to rush to get them done.
With only two people, it took seven or eight hours to finish the front side of all 135 shirts.
My cousin Zeke took a detour into the city on his way up the Appalachian Trail, and he offered to help us print the backs. With his help, we finished them in four hours.
Matthew and Kalan will start distributing them to subway performers this week. Remember: Music is Legal!