We recently had the opportunity to speak with New York Live Arts, a center devoted to the creation of live art that elevates the human spirit and brings people together in shared humanity. Their mission is to keep live arts experiences at the center of a broader conversation about cultural values and the intellectual, aesthetic, and social purposes of art-making. As a member of the creative community, they utilize artists and facilities to impact lives through programs aimed at developing critical thinking and engagement with the world around us. At the core of their programming is a certainty that art has the ability to create communities and platforms for the exchange of ideas.
Using art for inclusion through peace
New York Live Arts is interested in bringing peacemakers together to deconstruct notions of ‘otherness’. Examples of otherness in our society today include increased feelings of nationalism and protectionism that are reactions and perceptions to external threats. While there are real threats, people will need to recognize shared needs and the idea that what benefits one person doesn’t take something away another. Helping each other and working together to coexist instead of magnifying differences is crucial.
Capturing peace with compassion and inclusivity
It’s important to foster inclusivity and compassion to advance the notion of peace. Artists play a critical role in contributing to society’s transformation towards peace and provide a forum and framework to share ideas. By engaging with others, regardless of your views, and making an effort to be around people who don’t always think and feel like you do, you won’t be siloed in your beliefs. People may view situations through a different lens and with a different set of values than you but it doesn’t mean they care any less about the cause or situation than you do. Instead of doubting others motives, we should try to understand where they’re coming from.
Events offered through New York Live Arts
Building a Better Fishtrap / from the river’s mouth was a performance ritual presented last season that honored and embodied the stories and spirit of the Bronx River. Created by Paloma McGregor through collaboration with dozens of artists and community members, the work took audiences by boat on a 1.5-mile stretch of the once embattled waterway; along the way, passengers encountered kaleidoscopic installations that drew from the river’s rich past and present, as well as hopes for her future.
Ways to get involved
New York Live Arts offers programs including performances and lectures as well as many volunteer opportunities. The next Live Ideas Festival will take place from May 8 – 12, 2019 and is co-sponsored by Google Creative Lab. This year’s theme is about artificial intelligence and how our world is changing with technology. This event is a great way to see how artists are involved in pressing issues of our time and what the organization is all about.