What is your name? Where are you from?
My name is Jane Dubin. I am from Sleepy Hollow, NY. And I am here with Hudson River Rising.
What is the project you are working on at SPACE?
We are here on a strategic planning mode. Hudson River Rising is a group that is centered on producing events connected with V-Day, Eve Ensler’s organization that deals with violence against women and girls. The first year it was a presentation of The Vagina Monologues, Eve’s play. And last year, which is when I got involved as producer, it was a series of events centered around One Billion Rising Day, which was her 15-year initiative. So we did different fundraising events and then a big social activism movement, taking over the villages of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, and motivating people to participate, and culminating in a dance that one of our members had choreographed—in the middle of town, in the middle of February. It was kind of cool!
How have you been spending your time?
Four of us came up, me and three of our more artistic members, to figure out where we go from here, and shift the focus a little away from fundraising as the ends to presentation of art as motivating idea as the end. And to figure out how we exist on an ongoing basis, as opposed to just saying, “Oh, V-Day is coming up, who wants to do it this year? And what are they doing?” Rather, we are creating an ongoing agenda and focusing locally in our villages in Westchester. So what we did was, we gathered a few people (away from families, and phones, and dogs, and such) up here where we have the ability and time to think, focus, and dive deep—into all the different things that we have as our personal agendas, so that we can find the hub. We all have different spokes that we are off on, but we aim to find the hub and unifying mission. Which we have kind of done! The idea is empowering women and girls and supporting art. Presenting art by and for women. Each of us here this weekend has a different modality. We have dancers, writers, and actors. It’s performing arts. We are trying to take our massive idea and narrow it down to a focus, so we can build a community (within our community) of artists who have like-minded sensibilities to create art, present art, and engage the community in discussion about issues for and by women. So there it is, in a not so succinct way. But that is kind of how this weekend has been. It’s the first time that this particular group of people has gotten together to talk about this. And we had a lot to talk about, so we have done a lot of talking.
How have you been using SPACE?
First of all, to have a space that isn’t your home or office is useful. Actually, one of the things that we have been discussing is that there is a lack of space where we live to commune, in a sense. We have often been in the Corn Crib. Margaret is about to dance in the barn. Yesterday, we spent some time in the afternoon together when Kathleen was practicing a monologue and Margaret was dancing behind her. There have been some naps in the hammock. And there have been big conversations around the dining room table—lots of those. Because the food has just sucked! No, that was a joke! It’s like going to someplace where everybody takes care of everything else, so your mind goes. And then your brain is tired at the end of the day.
What is up next for Hudson River Rising?
Later today, our final session before we leave here is “calendars.” We have marked out four types of events and several types of venues. (And again, this will all happen locally.) We don’t have dates and we don’t have times, and we don’t have the creation yet. But the potential, covering the four modalities, are: a play reading contest that is either by or for women, a juried open mic night, an evening of movement-centered pieces, and a concept we call art everyday. And, with these four events, we have ideas in our heads about non-profits in our towns that have space and might be willing to partner. But we also have these grassroots sort of things. One of our members does this house tour for dance. She is just in her house, pulling together artists to be audience for people. We are not trying to be an umbrella thing. We hope to take our content and insert it into different things. So that people are dealing with something that is already of interest, and that also ties in with our mission. Get people to collaborate. And we have also been exploring different structures, and this Community Supported Artist (CSA) concept has come up. That’s new. We are still exploring it. We are trying to find the intersection of these different objectives, and do all this in a way that doesn’t overwhelm us before we even start. We have gone from, “We are the world,” to, “Okay, we can do this in two months.” So we are thinking of four types of things over the next season to fit in with our lives, as we’re producing Broadway and touring and such. Making sure we stay focused.
If you were to be reincarnated as a farm animal, what farm animal would you want to be? Why?
I would want to be the Border Collie. I want to roam the roost here. I don’t want to be the turkey who gets run over. I don’t want to be the sheep cowering in the thing. I want to be the Border Collie. That way I get to roam the house too.
Interviewed by Alison McLaughlin