Two-night benefit for Creative Rights showcases artworks and performances still "In Progress"
What normally happens when you walk into an art exhibition is that you see finished artworks. And when you go to the theater, in general, you are there to see the completed piece.
An upcoming two-night benefit for Creative Rights, a new legal non-profit serving the arts community, breaks the mold with something unconventional. “In Progress” will feature all kinds of art, music, dance, theater, and performances that are unfinished or still in progress.
Art is not just its finished product. It happens on the journeys that artists take through their creative processes. The event’s coordinators see the interdisciplinary exhibition as a way for art buyers and art lovers to get a better look at how art, music, theater, and performances are made. The curtain will be pulled aside to reveal the wizard, so to speak.
“In Progress” will raise money for Creative Rights' free or affordable legal representation for artists and arts organizations, and educational and creative entrepreneur development programs, with a two-night event at 1250 North Main Street produced by Charlie LaCroix Art Brokerage.
On Friday September 14, a more formal “benefit reception” will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. at 1250 North Main Street. Around 40 fine artists, dancers, playwrights, musicians, actors, performance artists, and more will be featured. Artists from Ann Arbor and Detroit, many of whom are Creative Rights clients, will be there to talk about their works. Live performances will include music by Echo String Quartet and Syropoulos Rex, and performances by Brian Carbine, Megan Montgomery, Colby Halloran, Luna Alexander. Cocktail attire is advised for the more formal event. Tickets for the first night are $35 in advance or $50 at the door.
On September 15, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., a more casual night will feature extended versions of Friday’s performances and live music from Hush, Love, Deastro, Ivan Grass, Portsman, Douglaslaneallen, and others. Tickets are $5 at the door.
“People are used to seeing the end result more than peering into the creative process,” says Chaely Chartier, co-owner of Charlie LaCroix. “I think this event will invite people to learn more about the artists and their processes,” Chartier explains.
The idea for the “In Progress” theme was the brainchild of Ben Stange, creative director of the event for Creative Rights. “I’m personally interested in the processes artists go through. It’s something I always ask artists about, but it’s not always a conversation that happens between artists and patrons,” he says.
“Someone who is not involved with art everyday doesn’t necessarily know how to talk to artists about their work. I think the event will be a huge learning experience. It also brings more awareness to how much effort it takes to make a final product. People don’t see a piece of art or a play when it’s in progress, but a lot goes into it,” Stange says.
Chartier thinks the event will “open up a dialogue between the artists and their audience. Artists are influenced by every conversation they have. Having a conversation about an unfinished work might end up influencing the final version. I thinks that’s something special,” she says.
“So, don’t be afraid to open your mouth and tell them what you think, how their piece makes you feel, and what you want to see!” Chartier exclaims.
Public Relations Coordinator Amber Hughson thinks the artists and performers are brave for letting people critique their work while it is still in progress. “It’s a more vulnerable place to be. Artists are not used to their audience critiquing them at that point. I think the dialogue the benefit show allows for is something that rarely happens, aside from in art school,” Hughson says. “It’s a learning experience that goes both ways,” she adds.
Creative Rights and Charlie LaCroix pooled their resources to make this truly collaborative benefit event possible. Charlie LaCroix was the recently founded non-profit’s second client. Creative Rights’ legal team has helped them with contracts and other behind of the scenes stuff that goes into art brokering and gallery events. So it was a natural pairing.
Executive Director and co-founder of Creative Rights, Brandon Weiner, explains that the mission goes beyond providing affordable or free legal services to artists and arts organizations. “We also want to impact the creative community in other ways, such as this event,” he says.
“We bring a lot of creative capital together into our organization, all of the artists and galleries who are clients. And we want to put that to use to give back to them and the creative community at large,” Weiner says. One way is to do “community building” events such as the “In Progress” benefit.
Since their legal services are affordable or free, Creative Rights requires clients to support their mission as a non profit in non-monetary ways. “What we started doing with our contracts is that, when we bring clients in, we have a provision that we require them to give their creative services back to the community. That is something we can capture through our events. It’s beneficial to the organization because it’s a model that asks our clients to help us keep going. And at the same time, we provide them with opportunities for different platforms to show their work,” Weiner explains.
Another mission of Creative Rights, “to be a sanctuary for imagination,” Weiner says. “The event is an implementation of that idea. We are creating an atmosphere of people coming together in an unconventional way to think about what could be. It’s about getting comfortable with that process and opening up a dialogue between artists and their audience,” he concludes.
Visit “In Progress” September 14 or September 15 at 1250 North Main Street.