I've spent the last few years dedicating myself exclusively to the Catamounts, the Boulder-based performance group I founded, and to raising my five-year-old girl, Eloise. I write the Catamounts' grants, lead our fundraising, teach our educational programs, direct our shows, produce (and sometimes perform) in our FEED events, balance our books, file our permits, design our postcards...it's amazing how quickly it has become my full-time job! I'm not paid anywhere near full-time yet, and I'm lucky that my kick-ass husband has a job that pays the bills. But I'm determined to get the Catamounts to a place where it can also pay me -- and the amazing artists with whom I have the privilege to work -- what we're worth. In fact, I'm staking my mid-career years on it.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
The thing I'm going to do anyway, and that I've been planning to do in one form or another my whole life, only sooner and without an endless fundraising campaign: open a black box theater with its own specialty tap room here in Colorado. We Catamounts love really good, adventurous food, booze and theater, especially all together, which is why we started our FEED program, in which we pair them in a four-course seated dinner. In doing so, we've developed all these awesome relationships with local breweries and distilleries and food trucks and food companies. Our own space would allow us to capitalize on these relationships, and our FEED concept, and also provide our extended artistic community a really cool, affordable space to produce work. I imagine this place being a kind of poor man's, bohemian country club -- families can eat lunch from the food truck pulled up in the courtyard and have a pint while their kids are taking a Saturday theater class. There won't be tennis, but there will be a taco truck.
An aside, and why I actually think serving good beer at shows is so important: Theater will continue to be a marginalized activity and see its audience age if the experience of going to see a play is so unsexy. I was actually only offered Bud products at a show I attended recently -- Bud products! In Colorado! The craft beer capital of the world! It's like -- come on, y'all. We can't only think about the quality of the show, but we also need to think about what that audience member experiences from the moment they walk in the door. (It was a good show, by the way, but would have been better with a good beer.)
I'd also immediately put all of the Catamounts on salary, so they could dedicate themselves full-time to the work that we're doing in the cracks and crevices of our very full lives. Then we'd show the world!
What's the one thing Colorado could do to help the arts?
Champion the local and homemade over the imported and corporately-made. We do that wherever possible with our beer, with our produce and food, and we should do that with our art. Champion it everywhere....Continue reading for more from Amanda Berg Wilson.