You know who you were back in high-school. I know who I was. I was the moody blond that tended to sulk a lot while I wrote abysmal poetry in my journals. I wore black and mourned my lost youth when I wasn’t in my tartan uniform skirt with rebellious Doc Martin loafers as my only means of personal expression. The nuns loved the shoes. They thought they were sensible. I was one of the arty kids that lived under the constant shadow of the more vocal and popular sporty kids.
I knew I wanted to be a writer. My friends were writers, poets, artists, musicians, and actors. Every year there was a dog fight over funding for the school play in the fall and the musical in the spring. Because we didn’t have jerseys that could accommodate branding of sponsors, we got the shaft. Maybe this is a good thing. Artists are forged from the heat of their struggles. It is no lie that there is a certain level of suffering that has to be endured before an artist has developed enough character to truly be interesting. That doesn’t change the fact that it breaks my heart when kids that want to put on a play, have to go scrounging for the funds to make it happen.
From today’s art, poetry, drama, and band kids the next generation of entertainers will be born. Somewhere the next George Lucas, Edward Norton, Adele, Wayne Thiebaud, and Jack Keroac are being formed. The simple truth is, these future contributors to society are learning early that, to quote Rodney Dangerfield, they don’t get no respect. If they want to put on a play, they need to work for it. The arts, unlike sports, do not get money hand over fist.
This is why I’m so pleased to have discovered Kickstarter. More specifically, I found a group of kids that want to put on a play. They need $350 for sheets to make togas, batteries for their microphones, and halogen lamps. They’re putting on A Midsummer Nights Dream – fortunately the fairies have all agreed to buy their own leotards. How sad is that? The fairies have to buy their own leotards because there really is that little funding for the arts in our schools. This pisses me off. I’ve been that kid that had to buy her own leotard so my acting group could put on the same play.
I’m mad that these kids have to do this. I’m grateful Kickstarter exists. I’ve given them $5. If I had the money, I’d back the project wholly. My first venture as a theater backer. I hope they make it. If they do, they’ll be able to put on their show and have the resulting rush. If they don’t, then they’re going to learn a lesson in wanting to be in the arts – it’s hard and heartbreaking.