Syracuse Stage to receive $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
Syracuse Stage has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support “The Most Beautiful Home…Maybe,” a timely new immersive performance led by Mark-N-Sparks (Los Angeles based artists and activists ashley sparks and Mark Valdez). Working with national advocacy organizations and arts organizations in three cities as well as with support from major foundations, Mark-N-Sparks hopes to use theater making techniques as a vehicle for influencing policy decisions concerning housing insecurity, a problem impacting millions of Americans. “The Most Beautiful Home…Maybe” will be performed June 15 – 18 at Syracuse Stage.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Syracuse Stage and its partner organizations that help support each community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “‘The Most Beautiful Home…Maybe’ is among the arts projects nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”
Produced in coordination with Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis; Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, New York; and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and the Roy and Edna Disney/ CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles, “The Most Beautiful Home…Maybe” is among 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category.
“We have heard repeatedly that there is a lack of imagination in policy spaces,” Valdez said. “The thinking gets smaller and smaller, while the housing crisis only get bigger and bigger. Solutions to our crisis will require the arts.”
The process for creation of “The Most Beautiful Home . . . Maybe” is at once radically new and crucial to the project’s success. The first step involved conducting a series of workshops with local and national audiences.
Participants included relevant stakeholders in housing issues including policy makers, government workers, commercial and non-profit developers, activists, advocates and individuals experiencing housing insecurity.
The workshop experience was geared to invite imagining and play for advocates, while the material gathered became the basis for the performances throughout 2022.
“The engagement process and the performance are intimately woven together,” says co-creator ashley sparks. “By fusing story, imagination and policy discourse together, we’re creating space for transformational change in how housing policy can be generated.”