October 2013

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October 2013

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

Step Back, Appreciate the Art

Photos/ David Grindle

One of the downfalls of my job is that I don’t always get to see our leaders as the artists they are. I know them as board members, operations people, or committee members. While I know that every person in our organization is an artist of some form, getting to see them as such is frankly a rarity.

This came to my attention at World Stage Design. I’ve worked with Sandy Bonds since starting this job. I knew Sandy as a member of the Costume Commission, Vice-President for International Activities, and Artistic Director of PQ 2011. Sandy is also a costumer. A really brilliant costumer!

Now, I’ve been open about my belief that fabric defies all laws of physics. I’m also an eight-crayon person, so my color palate is limited. These are among the traits that led me to stage management as a career path in theatre. But those don’t stop me from appreciating the people who can do what Sandy does.

To see her work on display was eye opening. I saw creative fabric, story telling through clothing, and a modern take on period clothing. These all showed me a side of a colleague that I knew was there (after all, she was a member of USITT), but I had never gotten to experience.

Membership in an organization like USITT is a marvelous treasure chest. The people who work amongst us for the good of the Institute do it while doing other jobs. Only 10 of us work full-time for USITT; the rest comes from people who have art at their soul. We get so busy making the Institute happen, sometimes, that we don’t get to step back and enjoy that art.

The art comes from managers, designers, engineers, architects, and technicians. It is in different forms, but it is there. Yet, so often we don’t get to see it.

This isn’t a USITT thing. In theatre, we often don’t get to experience the art of our colleagues unless we are doing a show together, and our arts are collaborative. Then, it is hard to appreciate the art of our colleagues because of the goal we are working towards. It has a different meaning in this context. To get to experience the art of a friend with no attachment to the show is a unique experience that is all too rare for us.

I don’t have the solution, just an observation.

David Grindle

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail David at david@usitt.org.