Go Deeper

Get into RAW: First Person Arts wants you!

Posted May 14th, 2010

Calling all musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, dancers, poets, authors, actors, designers, and anyone who tells stories about your life through art: here’s a chance to showcase your latest work!

This year, the First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art will premiere a program called First Person RAW. They give you the space (the Painted Bride’s roomy, loft-style studio) plus marketing and sales support, and all you have to do is show up with something in store for an audience craving new and exciting work. The showcase runs November 10–14.

We traded some Q and As with RAW’s executive director, Vicki Solot.

Q: Why are you looking for such a broad range of artists?
A: We are committed to presenting memoir and documentary work in all disciplines–so we intentionally keep a very large tent. Also, we are interested in artists who are pushing the boundaries of the form by working collaboratively, and in genres not typically associated with memoir and documentary. This is one way to generate fresh ideas and to challenge artists to try something they might not have otherwise done.

Q: What constitutes an “emerging artist?”
A: Hard question. I guess someone who is just beginning to establish him/herself in the field, but has not yet received the recognition of, say, a book publication or film distribution or a professional production. But, here again, we keep the guidelines loose. If an established artist is creating new work or trying something out, we’re eager to present it.

Q: What are First Person Arts’ audiences connecting to that make them keep coming?
A: They’re getting authenticity, which I believe is inherently appealing. When art is well-done, we delight in its content and its craft. When it’s also true, then it really packs an emotional wallop.

Q: And what makes this program so current?
A: I would say that new media, like blogs, Facebook and Twitter, have primed our audiences for the kind of programming we offer. In some ways I think of what we’re doing as the live version of what’s happening online.

The application deadline is May 31, 2010. Download the application at Questions? E-mail Karina at

–Mara Miller & Josh McIlvain

Photo of JJ Tiziou at StorySlam by Erika Vonie.