The Public Humanist

The Public Humanist contributor: Andrea Assaf

Andrea AssafAndrea Assaf is a performer, writer, director, & cultural organizer. The Founder and Artistic Director of Art2Action, she has a Masters degree in Performance Studies and a BFA in Acting, both from NYU. She is the former Artistic Director of New WORLD Theater (2004-09), and Program Associate for Animating Democracy (2001-04). She has taught Acting technique, Voice and Creative Movement in New York, Boston, and Washington DC.

An Arts Activist’s Summer Vacation

There is the romantic notion, the American nostalgia for (and fantasy of) isolated and collective genius, the creator’s dream: a group of artists go off into the woods, or maybe a farm, for a summer or longer. They train and explore together, challenge each other, create aesthetically revolutionary art, and stun the world when they re-emerge and engage again with society. Of course there are dramas, rises to power, internal struggles, even splits and divisions.

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Artistic Tastes & Political States: A Meditation on Art & Ideology

What is the relationship between aesthetic tastes and political ideology?

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The Zero Budget Festival

UNESCO declared 2009 “The Year of Grotowski” in honor of the 10th anniversary of the death of Jerzy Grotowski, whom many consider to have been the most important theater director of the 20th century. The legacy of Grotowski´s work lives on in many ways – in the contemporary reverberations of his most well-known productions, such as The Constant Prince and Apocalypses which changed theater history forever…

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Political Change from the 1960s to Now: Connections Between Arts & Activist Movements

As a child of the 1970s, like many in my generation, I have grown up somewhat in the political shadow of the decade before me. For the more conservative members of my family, the 1950s were a great source of nostalgia (especially in the ‘80s); but for my progressive and politically-engaged mentors and elders, the memories, victories and sometimes mythologies of the 1960s loom large over every movement my generation participates in or initiates.

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On the Urge to Perform & Performative Visions of a New New World

For me, personally, the urge to perform is multi-dimensional: it’s an urge to express; to live in a heightened state; and to enact something meaningful in public space, that shifts perception, has impact, or itself enacts change. The imperative of the stage is to live fully and truthfully, moment by moment, in the presence of other people. It is to focus all of one’s being and energy on the realization and embodiment of the imagination.

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Breaking News on New WORLD Theater & Reflections on the Possibility of Hope

When I was first asked to write a blog post for The Public Humanist, I was unsure whether or not it would be wise in these uncertain times. Uncertain for the arts, definitely, for our communities and the nation. New WORLD Theater’s multiracial, multidisciplinary youth arts program, Project 2050, which had just celebrated its 10th year with the Best of 2050! show, was cancelled for the summer.

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