The Incubator Arts Project Says Goodbye

by Samara Naeymi

in American Theatre magazine,Artistry & Artistic Innovation

Post image for The Incubator Arts Project Says Goodbye

(The following post is adapted from an email sent announcing the closing of the Incubator Arts Project. We publish it here with their permission.)

As of July 1 2014, the Incubator Arts Project will close its doors at St Mark’s Church. It has been a long and wonderful ride in support of emerging work, dating back in some form or another to 1992. This room has had a long history of art warriors before then; we were not the first and we dearly hope we won’t be the last. We made the decision to end our lease and cease further productions, thereby releasing the future of the room. We wish nothing but wild success for our dear friends at St Mark’s, the Poetry Project & Danspace. We know that St Mark’s will be able to provide information about the future at the appropriate time.

jTxSCkn46kEzqyLExbrjdkd3sShfm7FkIB_xfYTpuSkIn our humble opinion, the conversation is not that we’re closing or why–it ended like most things do, the timely result of a series of good intentions. The conversation we want to have is about what we now know. Let’s not forget all that we earned along the way: the artists we fueled, the conversations we sparked, the history we honored, the accolades the work received, the grills we overflowed, the beers we drank, the companies founded, the companies shattered, the great VIP equalizer (our crappy folding chairs), the electric ghosts we wrangled, the honesty we encouraged, that charming AC unit, the riff raff we kicked out of the yard, the old as hell gear we kept running by some magic, the lure of inventive catwalk design, ever creative column use, the artistic freedom, and the comps with a wink. “No, Danspace is downstairs,” “Yes, Poetry Project is still here,” “No, Richard does not work here any more,” “Yes, this is still a functioning church,” “No, actually we’re the Incubator Arts Project–” and we had a hell of a time.

And we’ve learned this much: Go make your work. Stop being a dick. Be a seriously good person to everyone in that room spending any of their time to make your crazy fever dream a reality. Because none of us HAVE to be there and many of us won’t be soon due to circumstance or choice, so be the best you can while you’ve got the mic. No one is getting famous or paying off their MFA from this pursuit of happiness, and we’ll all fight so it can be otherwise, but in the meantime be one of the good guys. Maybe try to show up to a stranger’s show once in a while. Theater only works if you show up. Spaces only thrive if you empower them with your strongest work.

So let’s strike this show and make room for the next one. See ya at the Starr, the Brick, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, Abrons Arts Center, HERE, PS122, New Ohio, Roulette, Cloud City, Silent Barn, the Stone, the Chocolate Factory, Soho Rep, JACK, the Invisible Dog, La Mama, NYTW, Coil, UTR, Prelude, Irondale, Danspace, Poetry Project, and any number of places that we’ve neglected to mention and any number of places that will pop up to continue this work in the future.

It’s been good.

Incubator 3
Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way, bringing their work or filling a seat or lending a hand. We will never ever be able to fully express our gratitude and respect to the fantastic and ferocious Mimi Johnson who is the only reason we could make that initial leap and stay as long as we did. Last but not least, a final, huge, unending thank you to Richard Foreman who had the bright idea to leave the kids alone in the room.

- The Incubator Arts Project

Incubator 4

Incubator 5


samara_photosmallSamara Naeymi is a producer, consultant, curator and voice actor originally from Kansas and currently living in New York. She was a curator and the producing director of the Obie award winning contemporary theater space, Incubator Arts Project from 2009 – 2014. She is on staff as commercial voice talent for Pandora Radio and Brickshop Audio and has worked in NY as an announcer for the variety show Mamma Rice n’ Friends since 2009. She currently works as a freelance producer, consultant and web designer for emerging theater artists and actors and as a staff consultant at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.