Partnerships are relationships built over time with other artists and organizations. Working with partners means that there’s a kind of community of resources available, ensuring that our projects succeed and that they even happen in the first place.
Some of Rhubarb’s partners this year are The 519 Church Street Community Centre, Glad Day Bookshop, Dancemakers, Hub 14, VideoFag, and FADO. Some partners are co-presenting work with us, some provide rehearsal/performance space or swap ad space, some provide an outside eye and feedback on works in development, and some help us bring creativity to spaces where performance may be unexpected. However, all of Rhubarb’s partners recognize the value of experimental art, and, because of this shared ethos, these partnerships go beyond business transactions. Our partnerships are not one-for-one exchange-based transactions; they are relationships. They form a network of collaboration that fosters vibrant arts culture of all of our audiences to enjoy.
One of the Rhubarb interns, [color]Zita Nyarady[/color], has been helping with partnerships for the Mobile Works and One-To-One Performance Series. Zita highlights the ways that building partnerships is kind of like dating.
This past fall, I found myself stealthily walking up and down Yonge Street, notepad in hand, researching neighbourhood restaurants with patios and large windows and looking for the best spots to watch Priscilla Guy’s guerilla dance performance Moving Installations. In the end, we didn’t use that research, but my long walk did teach me that partnerships take many forms. Here’s what building partnerships can look like:
Blind Dates: Approaching new partners is nerve-wracking, whether for romance or for the festival. Learning the intricacies of a partnership is a process. Are your potentials best communicated with through phone or e-mail? Does their organization/company timeline mesh with the festival? Is the festival a fit for all parties involved? And sometimes you just have to be ok if they don’t call you back for a second meeting.
Long Distance: Not all the artists live in Toronto, and some of these artists are doing site specific work (again, Moving Installations – Priscilla lives in Montreal). With a measuring tape and my trusty phone camera, I’ve found ways for the artist and the space (The 519’s restaurant, Fabarnak, and Glad Day Bookshop) to virtually meet and become familiar with each other in the lead-up to the festival.
Growing Relationships: Seeing partnerships flourish is wonderful. This is the second year we have partnered with The 519 Church Street Community Centre for the 1-2-1 performances. The 519 is an amazing partner, especially since we have earned each other’s trust and are able to expand on what worked last year and try new things! This means that you’ll have even a more exciting time at the 1-2-1s this year.