Exploring the Metropolis Announces Shutdown, Redtail Artist Residencies to Continue Legacy

Katie Cox

Redtail Artist Residencies is a new residency program formerly known as the EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies that provides choreographers and composers with three months of free rehearsal space at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning.

New York, NY – July 27, 2020 Exploring the Metropolis (EtM), the only New York City-based nonprofit arts organization exclusively focused on workspace needs for performing artists, announced it has ceased operations as of June 30, 2020. A new fiscally-sponsored project, Redtail Artist Residencies, will be continuing EtM’s artists workspace programs in Jamaica.
“It became apparent after the COVID-19 pandemic hit that we would not be able to continue to serve and make an impact in this field,” said David Johnston, Executive Director of EtM. “After discussions with our Board of Directors, funders, and Artist Advisory Council, we decided to end our operations in an orderly manner, making sure we meet all obligations to funders and to our resident artists prior to shutting down. We do this knowing we have enriched the ability of performing artists to make new work.”
Founded in 1982 by Eugenie C. Cowan, EtM has made a singular impact. Over these decades, EtM has focused on the needs of emerging and established artists’ need for affordable, suitable space to create, rehearse and perform in New York City.
EtM has accomplished this service through various vehicles: Conferences, such as A Generation of Theatre 1982, 1992, 2002, seminal studies, such as the 2004 Report on the Feasibility of an Orchestra-based Rehearsal Center in Manhattan (PDF), which formed the basis for the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and its groundbreaking free searchable online database, NYC Performing Arts Spaces.
“Each of the workspace needs we have identified is part of the demand: supply equation, making optimum use of appropriate underused space to enhance both the arts and the nonprofit facilities,” said Cowan, who served as Board Chairwoman.
Begun in 2009, EtM’s juried residency programs served two communities: cultural facilities, such as community music schools with underused space, and composers and choreographers who need space to create. More than one hundred composers and choreographers have been awarded free workspace and stipends; they have provided programs for hundreds of audience members at the host facilities.
“We are very grateful that over these decades, we have had the continuing financial support of corporate, philanthropic and government sectors, specifically, Con Edison, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA.) Importantly, DCLA has been integral to content development and continuation of these resources,” said Cowan.
“EtM can be incredibly proud of the value it has created with and for, artists, spaces, and communities across NYC’s boroughs and over more than three decades,” said Board President Marieke Spence. “Founding Chairwoman Eugenie Cowan has brought remarkable vision and energy to its mission and David Johnston has been an exemplary leader and deft collaborator. Demand for EtM’s artist residencies grew significantly under his tenure.”
Spence continued: “While current circumstances make it impossible for EtM to continue operating – a difficult but necessary decision – the board is excited that the residency program at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) will be able to continue as a fiscally-sponsored project, enabling EtM’s legacy to live on. We are deeply appreciative of the support from institutional and individual donors and other partners who have been part of EtM’s story.”

Going Forward & Redtail Artist Residencies

One of EtM’s programs, the EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies in Jamaica, will be continuing as a stand-alone project. EtM Program Manager Katie Cox will continue to administer the program as Redtail Artist Residencies, a fiscally-sponsored program of the Foundation for Independent Artists. Resident artists for 2020-21 at JCAL will be announced in August 2020.
“I’m sad to see EtM go and will miss working with all the wonderful people behind it,” said Cox.” As a musician myself, I deeply believe in the vision and mission of EtM. This was a large reason why I wanted to continue one of our most impactful programs. There will certainly be challenges ahead, but I’ve got the support of the EtM family behind me. I’m thrilled to continue this work and the legacy of EtM as the new Redtail Artist Residencies.”
“Our creative time at JCAL under the EtM program was a fantastic experience in every way,” said Doug Varone, Artistic Director of Doug Varone and Dancers. “Not only to have rehearsal space afforded to us for 3 months, but also to be engulfed by Jamaica’s diverse culture was a gift everyday. I am so pleased that Redtail Artist Residencies will continue this important work in collaboration with JCAL in supporting dance artists with much needed creative environments to explore our imaginations.”

Keep in Touch with Redtail Artist Residencies!

For more information on Redtail Artist Residencies visit www.redtailarts.org or contact Redtail’s Executive/Program Director Katie Cox at katie@redtailarts.org.
If you like to join our mailing list, click here for news and residency updates.

Would You Like to Donate to Redtail Artist Residencies?

Here’s How:
Click here to be directed to FIA’s donation form for Redtail Artist Residencies. Enter your contact information and type “Redtail Artist Residencies” under the text field that says“Which FIA Artist Are You Supporting”  in the appropriate field. If you choose to give by check, please contact Redtail’s Executive Director Katie Cox at katie@redtailarts.org. You can also visit our donation page by clicking here.
Redtail Artist Residencies is a fiscally sponsored project of Pentacle’s Foundation for Independent Artist (FIA). Through FIA, all contributions to Redtail Artist Residencies are tax-deductible within the fullest extent of the law.

About Exploring the Metropolis

Founded in 1982, EtM’s mission is to foster a vibrant and prolific performing arts community around shared resources of space and talent, to increase stability and growth within the artistic community and to help broaden public access to the performing arts. EtM’s research studies on the needs of NYC’s performing artists have resulted in major initiatives including the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the EtM Con Edison Composer Residencies and the CUNY Dance Initiative.
Since 2009, EtM has:
  • Provided more than $1,000,000 worth of no-cost rehearsal space and cash awards to New York City artists
  • Supported more than 100 composers, choreographers and performing artists with free space
  • Provided more than 50,000 hours of free rehearsal space to NYC artists
  • Supported 90 free public programs for thousands of New Yorkers
  • Supported the creation, development and completion of 89 new works for music and dance.
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Redtail Artist Residencies is grateful for the continued support of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation as we transition from the EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies.
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