Everett’s Barnstormers: Re-imagining the Business of Art
In the 1920’s, the Barnstormers were “Out of work pilots flying out of work planes”. These stunt pilots and aerialists were the most exciting daredevils of their day. They made the best of a tough situation after the war and paved the way for the first commercial flights.
A pilot or a team of aviators would land at a local farm (hence the name “barnstorming”) and negotiate with the farmer for the use of one of his fields as a temporary runway from which to stage an air show and offer airplane rides to customers. After obtaining a base of operation, the pilot or group of aviators would fly back over the town, or “buzz” the village, and drop handbills offering airplane rides for a small fee. Barnstorming provided an exciting and invigorating way to make a living, not to mention a challenging outlet for creativity and showmanship.
Everett’s new business model has company artists taking on the same kind of challenge at this former barn on Duncan Avenue. The young artists bring energy and excitement to their new work in the office and exhibit the necessary risk-taking and innovation of the early Barnstormers.
The artists in the office will carry out real and meaningful work to sustain the organization: grant writing, website development, program design, and marketing. This structure provides them with a level of control over their economic and artistic lives. These artists grew up at our school, honing their talents and developing their professional skills. They eat, sleep and breath our mission because they have lived it.