Our culture likes to depict artists as figures with resolute visions. The message is that a good idea is one that cannot be compromised or questioned. But such confidence – and its usefulness – is a myth. Real artists doubt themselves all the time, and it is from this push and pull between fear and curiosity that meaningful art is born.

This month, we take a look at artists who have developed a relationship with risk – and grown from it.

For years, composer/performer Molly Joyce avoided talking about an injury she suffered as a child that left one of her hands impaired. But when she encountered a toy organ that seemed to fit her body perfectly, she wondered if she could not only perform again, but weave her ideas of ability and disability into her work.

Elizabeth Nonemaker pays a visit to National Sawdust’s “Spring Revolution” festival, which takes inspiration from Stravinsky’s revolutionary “Rite of Spring” in hosting “profound performances that challenge the way we see the world.” Composer and curator Du Yun shares the vision for her embedded “Pan-Asia Sounding Festival,” which challenges audiences to reject the “tourist culture” of experiencing Asian music.

Blake Pfeil interviews Rose Rutledge, who manages audience development at Sofar Sounds. At a time when many classical institutions are trying to turn their programs into social events, Sofar Sounds has thrived by courting music purists.

Lastly, Jeffrey Nytch joins us as this month’s POP Picks Curator to celebrate the people, organizations and projects that inspire us to take artistic risks again and again.

Thanks for joining the conversation.

Mark Rabideau,
Director, 21CM