Art Garden

Art Garden Logo

In 1987, I created the Art Garden, a seasonal performing literary magazine  which ran for twenty-five years, first at the Garrison Art Center and then at  Philipstown Depot Theatre in Garrison, New York. You can find out more about it as well as viewing performances  here online. Our last Art Garden, “Harvest,”  took place on November 24, 2012.
Every Art Garden had a theme, which helps us celebrate the unity and the diversity of one another, and gaves the evening its structure. I sent the theme to selected writers and performers who independently created and rehearsed their own pieces. With the help of friends I created a simple set and programs. The public was invited on the night of the show and the result was a warm evening of shared inspiration.

I created the Art Garden in 1987 for three reasons. First, I wanted to write more. Having a deadline is very helpful to most writers; it means that at some point we must stop putting off writing and actually sit down and do it. Second, I knew several writers and performers whose work deserved a larger audience. Third, I wanted to encourage writers to perform and performers to write. Having done both myself, I know how one feeds the other. Reading words aloud makes a writer check for clarity, rhythm and pleasure in the lines. Reading work in public is empowering for writers. Writing is a solitary activity with communion as its goal. It’s nice to experience the goal with a living audience.

I encouraged performers to write because performing, while a pleasure, is ephemeral. The most magnificent performance dissipates in the evening air. Writing stays written.

It is wonderful for an audience to meet living writers. The printed page has a strange authority. Like music, it is easy to forget that people create it. Hearing writers read reminds us the word it is not a disembodied thing.

From the beginning, the Art Garden was an affirmative evening. I chose the garden metaphor because it implies growth, nurturing and diversity. The garden metaphor also guides the tone of the writing. While there are bugs and fungus in a garden, it’s basically a pleasant place to be. We liked leaving the audience with the same feeling about life.

 

1show current page