Contributed by Marcus Dargan
I am an artist. Like many artists, I have studied and performed under multiple disciplines. Professionally, I have worked as an actor, singer, playwright, musician, theatre director, teaching artist, DJ, visual artist, church organist, choir director, poet and a couple of other “callings,” including a short-lived stint as a drag queen. In order to support my artistry I have taken on some less glamorous roles as a producer, executive director, arts administrator, marketing consultant, web designer and development consultant to name a few. This is not new or unique to just me. Most artists wear several hats in order to create their work and then to get it out there on their own through social media, marketing, networking, booking gigs, raising funds and any other resource they can muster up.
Creating great works of art is just the beginning. If the work doesn’t get the right exposure, it becomes like a silent tree falling in the forest. The artist’s soul may be fed in the creation and performance of their work; however, small audiences and lack of reviews or recognition can drain one’s soul, energy and pockets. If the artist hasn’t mastered the art of producing and promoting their own work or hasn’t secured someone to do it properly for them, the creative work suffers. There are many measures of success, but the most rewarding to me as an artist is to be able to reach as many people as possible with my work. Getting one’s work out there is an art form unto itself.
That funky symbol, the one that looks kind of like a starfish with a hole punched in it, is the logo design for Down Stage Pass. It is inspired by the West African andinkra symbol called Ananse Ntontan. Named after the “trickster god” and folk tale character Anansi the Spider, this symbol represents a spider’s web and evokes creativity and connectivity.
I found Down Stage Pass in order to support, develop, cultivate and connect emerging and established artists, companies and organizations to their peers and audiences. I like to think of it as “Connecting Creativity.” Down Stage Pass is a hub, a network of the artistic, business and local communities that provides much needed services to the underserved artist. You’ve heard of a backstage pass, right? Well, Down Stage Pass brings everyone downstage to the center of it all!
Down Stage Pass will launch fully in the fall 2014 and provide an array of consultation services, including marketing, administrative support, development and programming. Some of what to expect from Down Stage Pass: web design, email marketing campaigns, grant writing, press distribution, press creation and design (press releases, press kits, business cards, logo design, flyers and postcards), reviews, ticketing services, photography and videography services (headshots, press photos, video editing), event listings, rehearsal and performance space, education and workshop development, theatrical staffing (stage management, house management, lights, sound, makeup, and design) and artist management.
I am most excited about Down Stage Playbill. The playbill will be a professionally printed theatrical program designed by our staff at no cost to the presenting artist or organization. In fact, Down Stage Pass plans to secure funding as a nonprofit organization in order to negotiate all of our services at little to no cost to the clients we serve and represent.
During the soft launch of downstagepass.org, I will continue to provide weekly reviews of events and performances I attend. I like to maintain a very personal and reflective tone in my writing and reviews. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a little long-winded as I haven’t quite caught up with the “140 character” phase inspired by the MTV generation. If you are interested in writing for Down Stage Pass as a contributor or would like to obtain a review for your upcoming show or project, please contact me at 347 855-7281 or email me. I am also open to collaborating with other artists, consultants and organizations who would like to participate in the conception of Down Stage Pass at any level. Hit me up and we’ll have brunch and chat about it.
Until then, I encourage you to join our mailing list by submitting your email below. I am personally and professionally committed to only sending out only one email per week , so don’t worry about cluttering your inbox.
Marcus Dargan is the Artistic Director of NuAFrikan Theatre and a recipient of the Jacob A. Weiser Playwright Award for his play Dream Deferred, which was nominated for the AUDELCO 2012 Dramatic Production of the Year. He was last seen in the role created by Ken Page in Ain’t Misbehavin’ with the Harlem Repertory Theatre, a show garnering five AUDELCO Award nominations. He is the author of the play Antichrist Lament, which received workshop performances at the Manhattan Theatre Source PlayGround Development Series and Nuyorican Poet’s Café. He is an adjunct professor of the Speech, Communications and Theatre department at Borough of Manhattan Community where he received an A.S. in Theatre. He also holds a B.A. in Theatre and M.S.Ed. in Educational Theatre from City College of New York. marcusdargan.com