Purpose and Vision
The purpose of The West is to contribute to the overall mental and emotional health of the community, to find how art is useful and somehow a part of everyday life, to serve and create community and the sense of community, and to provide a home for all artists. We will know our work is complete when all human interactions are built on a foundation of compassion and acceptance (rather than judgment), when all people feel responsibility for the well-being of their community, when all people consider themselves artists in some specific way, and when all artists are completely provided for and free to pursue their work.
The West is an ensemble of performers and other artists producing contemporary narrative work from all peoples across all times. It will serve as an embassy for its community, importing the finest national and international artists and exporting its own work to the rest of the nation and the world. It will foster its community and their sense of art-in-life by providing access to the entire creative process and by providing free educational programming in the local schools, and low-cost education programming for adults and young adults. These classes will be taught by ensemble members and visiting artists.
Our ensemble is ever-developing, studying out in the world, in our laboratory, or with visiting artists in an effort to discover the best method for the telling the best story for our specific time and place, changing as that definition changes. Ensemble artists serve as administrators in this company so that all aspects of creating work are transparent to both company members and the community in which they create work. We are committed to ensuring a high quality of life for our members, paying them a wage and benefits that will provide a middle class lifestyle. Though this will not happen overnight, this company is committed to compensating its artists appropriately for their time and skill.
- Contribute to the overall mental and emotional health of the community: We will foster empathy and compassion first in ourselves and then in our community. We will help others to surrender their judgments both of themselves and others and to replace their judgments with curiosity. We will give permission to the individuals in our community to be more themselves, and give permission to the community to accept its individuals as they are. We will help individuals within the community to find community, esteem, and self-actualization. We will stay informed of the latest psychology, neurology, anthropology, and sociology to determine what contributes best to the overall mental and emotional health of an individual and a community.
- Discover how art is useful and a part of everyday life: We will encourage others to think of some aspect of their lives as artistic. We will encourage others to take up an art, however small. We will encourage others to see all man-made things in this world as a type of art which comes from craft and inspiration. We will give permission to individuals within the community to see themselves as artistic, creative people, and give permission to the community to value, support, engage, and create art for itself and others. We will educate the community about the value of arts education and practice, about the interdisciplinary benefits of creative thinking. We will show the community how works of art are made and encourage them to make their own. We will constantly ask ourselves whether the art we are making is useful – does it make our community better in a lasting way? We will create inspiring, transcendent, beautiful, truthful, poetic moments in people’s lives.
- Serve and create community and sense of community: We will provide a place for people to come together, encounter one another, exchange ideas with one another. We will create work in which the community feels it has a stake, and which it is proud to call its own. We will create a safe forum for individuals within the community to express themselves. We will foster and develop community exchange for comparison and enrichment, both sending our work and artists out into the world, and bringing other artists in.
- Provide a home for all artists: We will create an environment where artists want to work and participate. We will pay artists a wage that can sustain them and help them thrive. We will encourage and support young artists, local artists, not just with words at workshops, but with space and time and resources to actually develop work. We will bring in national and international artists. We will maintain an ensemble which is mutually supportive and always looking to improve itself and the world around it. We will require those artists to help build their home – to contribute to its longevity, cleanliness, and organization in some way. We will require the artists to help sustain the home, and help it to thrive.