The Tucson Studio, a new program of UA Presents, provides resources and performance opportunities for local artists. The Tucson Studio will release its first performance in collaboration with the Tucson Botanical Gardens (TBG) and Broadway in Tucson (BiT) next week.
Development of The Tucson Studio began in late March. Around this time, UA Presents Events Coordinator, Tadj Hodges, received a phone call from his musical collaboration partner, inquiring about shooting a video. At almost the same time, UA Presents Technical Director Sam Eagon joked with Executive Director Chad Herzog, about the poorly lit and oddly framed teleconference attendees they’d both observed since the University’s closure. This was the spark that began development of this new program.
The Tucson Studio has quickly grown from a toolkit for artists into an effort to provide performance opportunities and funding for local musicians. “As we are presenters at heart,” says Herzog, “the idea very rapidly evolved into a means of providing the venue and support to our own community of artists. And while performance opportunities are part of that for sure, it is also essential to recognize the financial value of artists and finding a way for them to be compensated in this time of economic uncertainty.”
This compensation will come in through direct donations via PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp, and will ensure the contributions go directly to the artists. The premiere performance of The Tucson Studio Concerts series will be posted on The Tucson Studio’s YouTube channel next Thursday, May 21, and every Thursday evening following, at 6:00 pm MST/PDT. A direct link to the performances can be found on the websites of TBG, UA Presents, and BiT. The featured artist for each concert will be announced on the three organizations’ social media platforms the week of the concert.
With the struggles of “social distancing” and frustrations of live-streamed entertainment, we have seen a decline in artistic collaboration, locked doors on all performance venues, and many artists flocking to new, often unfamiliar, forms of digital exhibition. Through helping artists use the resources many of them have access to a little differently, and by guiding them through these adaptations, artists can look and sound as great from their living room as they do live. As Eagon notes, “while the environments in which we all perform change and these worlds suddenly get physically smaller, the impact and reach we can create shouldn’t have to shrink as well.”
The origins of The Tucson Studio, are rooted in the simple act of wanting to help. UA Presents hopes for this program to be a bridge to a new relationship between artists and our community. The arts have never been more important than during times of change. Through these performances, we are inviting the rest of the world into our Tucson, swapping “social distancing” for “physical distancing,” and offering the world an opportunity to enjoy what we have to offer.
This past week, the team shot its first performance video on location and in collaboration with the TBG, who will also have a link for donations to assist them during their closure. This partnership, fostered by Chad Herzog, TBG’s Marketing Director Robert Elias, and BiT’s Mario Di Vetta have been monumental in helping the project gain traction. In both beauty and functionality, the Gardens are a perfect location to ensure the best footage can be achieved while still maintaining proper physical distancing. And while there are plans to continue featuring local artists in a multitude of venues around the city, this partnership felt like the best place for this journey to begin.