Arts and Accessibility by Peter Kalivas
The PGK Dance Project mission: To create and produce dance programs and performances of the highest quality made affordable and easily available to the public through creative community collaborations and partnerships using volunteerism to generate neighborhood pride and promote and represent diversity in entertaining, innovative ways that educate and develop audiences for dance.
Purpose: To create and maintain sustainable programming that supports dance artists and reduces barriers that otherwise limit public engagement with the arts.
There remain 3 distinct issues that need to be resolved around access to quality arts & culture programs and the creative economic, citizen engagement, health benefits and opportunities the arts provides: Cost, Location and Relevance. Public access to programs is too expensive, access to locations are not always near public transportation or free parking and programs do not always align with the viewpoints, needs or interests of the general public.
Surveys done by the National Endowment for the Arts in the mid 1990's through now and others including the Ford Foundation up through more recent surveys by Americans for the Arts in 2016 through now continue to demonstrate the same results. Since, the early 2000's one additional factor has come into play and that is access to free modes of entertainment and customized entertainment including but not limited to: youtube, Netflix, etc. These are now competition for the value and benefits of live arts & culture programming. Our organization's surveys of our audiences also conclude: cost, location, relevance as continuing factors for public determination.
Therefore, since 2002 we, The PGK DANCE Project have almost exclusively presented our professional dance in alternative, unexpected locations and spaces across San Diego County, nationally and internationally with the idea to deconstruct while demonstrating contemporary ways of presenting dance that installs affordability, physical access and relevance all at once.
Note: This is not "site specificity" at all but instead aligned with Creative Placemaking. We have done this consistently year round in a Hair Salon 45,000 Square foot multi-purpose warehouse, an overflow parking lot, a tri-level co-work space, etc.
Our Partners and collaborators donate or dramatically discount these spaces to us and we all cross-promote sharing and blurring, serving the multi-faceted interests of our collective audiences. Although, there is a constant push from funders and others for arts organizations to collaborate, we remain terribly competitive and fearful our funding and other sources will be diluted and dissolved through partnerships.
We have had the opposite experience. Our audiences grow and double again and again and we have high retention rates from collaborating. Our budget has grown and we have attracted more funding.
Our host sites must be ADA complaint and near public transportation and ABSOLUTELY Near FREE Parking. Paid parking is one of the biggest prevention to the down town theater culture in most cities. Expensive tickets to get into the show PLUS Paid parking on top. Audiences hate this, no matter how much theaters have worked to make the process easier.
Lastly, we literally learn as much as we can about our audiences through our surveys which ABSOLUTELY shapes our programming. Without them there is no us, plain and simple.
Peter G. Kalivas, Founding Director The PGK DANCE Project
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