It may seem like wintertime is a dead time, but for artists it can be one of the busiest of the year. This is when the right-brained folks are struggling to pitch their best and brightest ideas to summer arts festivals, gallery calendars and music venue rosters. Unfortunately, that’s no easy feat during this most depressing season. Nothing’s growing, everyone’s cranky—finding inspiration in February is like finding a cheap 1-bedroom north of Jersey. But resident BK arts company Fresh Ground Pepper likes to announce its season at the top of the year for that very reason: they curate a challenge-based, year-long season of open submissions for new works in performance. Best part? You can pitch a whole new play to ’em without ever getting out of bed.
ICYMI in last year’s artist starter kit, Fresh Ground Pepper is a monthly events series that presents works-in-progress inspired by themed prompts. The prompts read kind of like reality-show challenges or secret ingredients; think Iron Chef meets your B.F.A. in Performance Studies. Each prompt leads to a night of performance that features 10-15 new works (which all fall within the month’s theme). One of those works could be yours!
If your idea is selected for an event, you’ll get to sit down with one of the company’s artistic directors and pitch the idea in more detail. Fresh Ground Pepper takes on the role of mini-producer, so don’t worry about paying for space rental/tech stuff. And heck, definitely don’t worry about paying for entry: FGP events are always free to attend, although donations are certainly encouraged and drink-buying is downright recommended.
Want in? Check out the list of challenges below. Then, do one of two things: if you’ve got something lying around in your creative clearinghouse that already fits one of these prompts, submit that. But if your creative juices are frozen and you suddenly get inspired to try a creative experiment off a prompt, submit that instead. Submissions are open all year long, regardless of which month you’re submitting for.
If you prefer to see an event in action before you pitch, the company’s annual Birthday Party gala is tonight. You’ll see projects from past years, as well as current and future works by artists in the FGP community. Forewarning (the good kind): this theater crowd is sports-fan rowdy. And everyone’s drinking Sixpoint, which is the company’s longtime sponsor.
Here’s the rundown of their 2015 challenges.
MARCH — “Aerobics” (an interactive dance competition)
MAY — “Runway” (artists are asked to create characters based on costumes)
JULY — “Epic” (A filmic/literary/musical classic is selected by popular demand, then re-imagined by participating artists)
AUGUST — “BRB” (A week-long artist retreat in the woods)
OCTOBER — “Decades” (Devised theatre challenge, re-imagining classic eras)
DECEMBER: Playground (Residency: Culminating festival for 2015 Playgroup)
FGP’s tagline is “If you can’t be famous, be emerging.” Kind of a wink at the dumb labels that the art world tends to have, but also a nod toward the unspoken community of art-makers in the borough who are still just trying to figure it all out for themselves. Hmm, sound like you?