In the first two years of our existence, Circus Now raised a total of $51,000, started three major annual programs, five online initiatives, and become the third most liked circus organization on Facebook after Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. As we move into our third year, let’s take a look at how we spend the money we raise!
Paying staff to keep Circus Now going and growing
It’s important that everyone get paid a fair wage for work they do. Our combined staff pay for 2014/15 was 9% of our total income; Circus Now currently has one paid part-time staff (our Online Director was hired in April 2016) and 3 volunteer staff members, including our Managing Director and Operations Director.
We don’t have a lot of infrastructure, but we have to maintain our internet accounts, our insurance, set up of our legal infrastructure, etc. These costs add up: about 33% of our 2014 and 2015 budgets went towards operating costs.
Kickstarting crucial initiatives for circus
We’ve found that Circus Now’s main role in the sector has been using our name and mission to kickstart programs or initiatives that strengthen the presence of circus in the performing arts industry. Fundraising for these projects in their first year and proving their viability leads to longer term success. 55% of all the money we raised in 2014 and 2015 has gone directly to supporting these programs.
After producing and curating for SummerStage NYC in 2013, the presence of circus in NYC city parks has grown each year. Not only are there more circuses performing, but the budget for the events has gone up consistently. Circus has proven that it draws crowds to underserved parks and is a favorite of the communities in NYC. Having circus be more present at these important summer events has increased the profile of circus in NYC, which remains the live performance capital of the US. Currently Circus Now produces a brochure each summer of all the free circus in NYC parks, a project that funds itself through advertising.
Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure
CN:ICE is about to have its third successful year at the NYU Skirball Theater. In the first year, we raised $23k to help pay for production and visa costs, in the second year NYU’s grant writing and belief in the program kept it going, and in 2017 the program will exist on its own two feet. The benefit of having a showcase that is specifically geared towards US presenters cannot be overstated. American companies have booked world tours, international companies have booked domestic tours, and the diversity of circus has been exposed to thousands of people and hundreds of presenters over the past two years.
Celebration of American Circus
We are entering the third year of our partnership with Big Apple Circus and our presentation of one of the only national awards for merit in the American circus arts. We’re especially proud of the ongoing support from Big Apple, and of the way in which the awards link circus today to its history and roots in heritage circus without which the current explosion of interest would not exist. We have great plans for the expansion of this event, and its critical presence as a signal to the art world that circus takes artistic merit, social outreach, and honoring the traditions of our art form seriously. As this event grows, we will grow its prestige and recognition within the arts world itself.
Starting in 2016 all of our online resources will be free and available to everyone.
Circus Now has two additional major new projects that we’re directing our efforts towards over the next 18 months.
The Circus Now Residency Program
Using the connections that we have developed over the past three years with venues, Circus Now has set the goal of creating 3 ongoing 6-8 week creation residencies at theatrical/dance venues for emerging American companies. These residencies will give emerging companies the chance to work with an established director/choreographer and produce a new work for showing. We’re in the planning phase for the pilot residency now and are hoping to launch the application and selection process in fall of 2016!
Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2017
Managing Director Adam Woolley is assisting the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on research, development, and planning for the Circus Arts program at the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Circus Now will be helping to support some participants and narrative stage components of the program and working with the American Youth Circus Organization and American Circus Educators Association on the representation of youth, social, and other emerging circus artists in the US. For more information about what is being planned for the Circus Arts program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2017, visit Click Here Circus Now members also can contact Adam Woolley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org about ways to get involved and help support!