Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My New Year's Commitment: Doing the Most Good

This has been a truly fulfilling year for Treehouse Shakers. We accomplished 20 years as a performing arts company in New York City. We were selected as the recipients artists of New York State Presenters Network, helping us reach audiences in rural parts of the state who normally wouldn't have the opportunity to see live performances. We grew our arts in education residencies, hired more teaching artists, and developed new partnerships in the schools. We premiered a new piece for the very young, Olive & Pearl, a story that has been living with me for nearly ten years, which finally came to fruition. We also announced our inclusion of *Relaxed Performances for the 2018 season, and had the opportunity to train with Include Arts, the leader in the Relaxed Performance model from England.

Olive & Pearl Premiere (For ages 2-5)
It will never be easy to run a non-profit company, let alone an arts non-profit company. There have been days when I am stuck in New York City traffic, with a van full of puppets, and a family I desperately want to see after being on the road, when I think, "Is this still worth it?" Or while families are spending their July on the beach, and I am stuck at a computer writing grants, I ask again, "Is this worth it?" Or when I have to ask, yet again, for donations, I think, "Is this crazy life fulfilling?" Or the many times I have gone without my own income, to make sure a program is paid for, "Is this worth it?" 

Audience at Treehouse Shakers' Hatched (For ages 0-6)
Student following a Storytelling Performance at F.I.T writing a story of their own

And my continual response to my own doubts, is a resounding "Yes! This is worth it." There is unmeasurable joy in watching young people experience a performance for the first time. A performance that was created specifically for them over years of trial and exploration. When parents write to us to tell us that their children haven't stopped playing Treehouse Shakers at home, or a grandparent leaves us a voicemail to tell us this was one of the most memorable experiences they have shared with their grandchild, I know our work is meaningful. This work is worth it when I am working in a school of primarily ESL students, and their teachers tell me that their English has improved since I began visiting. Or seeing a theater filled with children who have never left their NYC neighborhood take a school bus for the first time to see Treehouse Shakers. Seeing delight, wonder, creativity, joy experienced by young people, IS the good in the world. And I am so grateful that I experience this daily.

So with the New Year fast approaching, I am still committed both as an artist, and as the founding Artistic Director of Treehouse Shakers, to do the most good I can through the invaluable gifts the arts bring to young people. I promise to myself to make this a year of less doubt and much more of, "Yes! Let's make this happen."

*Relaxed Performances will be part of Treehouse Shakers' commitment to making our work accessible to all. Relaxed Performances are designed to welcome audience members who will benefit from a less restrictive audience environment, including (but not limited to) those with sensory processing conditions, Autism, and learning or intellectual disabilities. Everyone is invited to these performances.

To make a year-end tax-deductible contribution to Treehouse Shakers and support our programs you can make a secure online donation HERE or by mailing us a contribution to:

Treehouse Shakers
Radio City Station
P.O. Box 186

New York, NY 10101-0186

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