Thursday, April 1, 2010

Knowing When It's Time To Call It Quits

This Washington Post article tells the story of a true entrepreneur in the Arts, Joy Zinoman. Founder of The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, Zinoman built an extremely successful theater multiplex from a simple acting studio. When I interned at Studio Theatre three years ago, Zinoman held sessions with the interns that ran for hours as she told us about the roots of her organization. Beginning with a passion for acting she simply wanted to offer classes to foster the growth of actors in the DC area. When she teamed up with a local set designer he gave her the idea of "let's create a space for your acting students to perform in front of a real audience," and Studio Theatre was born. When their first space opened, 14th & P streets NW was a neighborhood to avoid in daylight, but since then the former auto repair district has been completely transformed. With million dollar condos, a Whole Foods grocery store, and even a Starbucks across the street, Studio Theatre has become a beacon for the neighborhood and an example of what quality performing art and a driven leader can accomplish to truly change a community. Now Zinoman is retiring after 35 years at the helm. Why? Well at least partially for something Gary knows we must expect for our own endeavors:
"I really do feel that 90 hours of work a week, although I love every moment of it, is not a rational life after 35 years."


  1. This is not the first time I heard about stories how artists basically transform the environment of a neighborhood/community.
    Jodi Sedlock, our biology professor with an unusual love for bats, was once an artist in Chicago. She graduated from college with a B.A in Arts and now she's a Biology professor! We had a chat sometime back about young artists in Chicago. She is a great resource if anybody wants to learn about artist's life, life in Chicago, or both.

  2. I've been teaching art at a start up arts school in Nicaragua. The school was started by poor teens in the area that wanted to help younger children, peers, and young adults stay off the streets and learn skills for job opportunities in the arts. I have gone several times over the last few years to tech classes. If anyone in interested in hearing more, please let me know. Also, I will be going back this summer and am hoping to collect art supplies.I'm especially hoping to get ceramic and printmaking supplies, new medias for the kids to learn!