To arts lovers everywhere,

I have never in ODC’s 45-year history written two fundraising appeals in one year. But this is a year of significant disruption and uncommon need. Having just premiered What we carry What we keep (a piece about “stuff”, about holding on and letting go), I am struck by the new administration’s willful letting go of so many of the things I have worked for all my life.

I know that ODC’s donors and patrons have likewise put their shoulders behind a raft of important causes, artistic, social and political. It rests with all of us to figure out individually and together how to sustain what matters to us, to our families and our communities. I think ODC—our artistic work, generative community programs, people and ambitions—counts as one of those things. Jon Carroll, former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, wrote a blog entry that touched my heart. I want to share a portion of it:

“Art is a mark of civilization, and civilization is what we are trying to save. I know that sounds a little excessive, but think about it. A little chaos is good, but civilization does not do very well in total chaos. Stuff gets lost. Some of the stuff getting lost is eminently disposable, but some of it isn’t. Like art.

…The humans in charge of the government do not seem to be exactly in tune with the solace of art. … Art is our port in the storm… and the live stuff is the best. And it’s also where transcendence happens; some unpredictable combination of audience and performers and musicians and lighting technicians and everybody coming together to provide balm for your heart.

Feeling a little down about human beings? Get out and see someone doing something. … That’s [a] gamble we take as sentient humans; we trust others to see truth we cannot see. And to share it with us, and to expand the community of empathy.

So, swear to god, if you want to make a political statement, go support a theater company or a zither player or an action painter or a chorus of Ukrainian hip-hop opera stars. Applaud, share, repeat, rejoice. Remind yourself that this too exists. Give money to artists so they can keep being artists.”


Amen. If you are able to help support ODC as we ride this storm, please, please do.

Brenda Way
ODC Founder and Artistic Director
 

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“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart”
— George Sand