The Incubator Arts Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, which took over Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater space several years ago, announced this afternoon that it will shut its doors for good on July 1. It marks the end of another chapter in this space as a prime location for avant-garde theatre — long before the OHT began its tenancy, the same space was the home of Theatre Genesis, which premiered Sam Shepard’s first plays, among others, back in 1964.
I enjoyed many evenings at the IAP over the past several years and offer my best wishes for the future to everyone who has been associated with it. The full press release is below:
As of July 1 2014, the Incubator Arts Project will close its doors at St Mark’s Church. It has been a long and wonderful ride in support of emerging work, dating back in some form or another to 1992. This room has had a long history of art warriors before then; we were not the first and we dearly hope we won’t be the last. We made the decision to end our lease and cease further productions, thereby releasing the future of the room. We wish nothing but wild success for our dear friends at St Mark’s, the Poetry Project & Danspace. We know that St Mark’s will be able to provide information about the future at the appropriate time.
In our humble opinion, the conversation is not that we’re closing or why–it ended like most things do, the timely result of a series of good intentions. The conversation we want to have is about what we now know. Let’s not forget all we earned along the way: the artists we fueled, the conversations we sparked, the history we honored, the accolades the work received, the grills we overflowed, the beers we drank, the companies founded, the companies shattered, the great VIP equalizer (our crappy folding chairs), the electric ghosts we wrangled, the honesty we encouraged, that charming AC unit, the riff raff we kicked out of the yard, the old as hell gear we kept running by some magic, the lure of inventive catwalk design, ever creative column use, the artistic freedom, and the comps with a wink. “No, Danspace is downstairs,” “Yes, Poetry Project is still here,” “No, Richard does not work here any more,” “Yes, this is still a functioning church,” “No, actually we’re the Incubator Arts Project–” and we had a hell of a time.
And we’ve learned this much: Go make your work. Stop being a dick. Be a seriously good person to everyone in that room spending any of their time to make your crazy fever dream a reality. Because none of us HAVE to be there and many of us won’t be soon due to circumstance or choice, so be the best you can while you’ve got the mic. No one is getting famous or paying off their MFA from this pursuit of happiness, and we’ll all fight so it can be otherwise, but in the meantime be one of the good guys. Maybe try to show up to a stranger’s show once in a while. Theater only works if you show up. Spaces only thrive if you empower them with your strongest work.
So let’s strike this show and make room for the next one. See ya at the Starr, the Brick, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, Abrons Arts Center, HERE, PS122, New Ohio, Roulette, Cloud City, Silent Barn, the Stone, the Chocolate Factory, Soho Rep, the Invisible Dog, La Mama, NYTW, Coil, UTR, Prelude, Irondale, Danspace, Poetry Project, and any number of places that we’ve neglected to mention and any number of places that will pop up to continue this work in the future.
It’s been good.
Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way, bringing their work or filling a seat or lending a hand. We will never ever be able to fully express our gratitude and respect to the fantastic and ferocious Mimi Johnson who is the only reason we could make that initial leap and stay as long as we did. Last but not least, a final, huge, unending thank you to Richard Foreman who had the bright idea to leave the kids alone in the room.
- The Incubator Arts Project