Ron Berry - Fusebox Festival

Episode 23 · April 7th, 2018 · 1 hr 1 min

About this Episode

"Within our festival there’s space for really different kinds of expression of art, and some of those are perhaps harder immediately to relate to. But we’re holding space for those artists to challenge things, to experiment, to tinker. To help us as people, as artists, think about things in new ways, and give us things to chew on. I love things that have mystery to them, that I don’t understand."

The annual Fusebox Festival aims to allow for a meaningful exploration and exchange between varied art forms and art communities by making space for what might only be possible in a live environment with other people. Each year Ron Berry and his team curate and paint onto the canvas that is the festival, a rich cross section of artists from different backgrounds and geographies into a diverse set of live event situations and performances. It is a platform for local, national, and international artists to have their work seen and it fosters an exchange between them and with the audience as they share combinations of theater, dance, film, visual art, music, and literature.

Beyond the event itself the intention of Fusebox is to take something typically ephemeral, and keep it alive in relation to the city of Austin year round. The arts are not separate from life and as the city grows and changes how can he and his team play a role in keeping the dialogue about housing, space for artists, and other issues, moving forward and allow for community engagement, inclusivity, and thinking about solutions while staying in tune with the rhythm of the neighborhoods they aim to serve.

Ron’s leadership style allows for and encourages contributions from others and is driven by curiosity, a desire to learn and grow, and the use of doubt as an impetus to crack things open and find new answers. Over the last 14 years, since the festival started, Ron had traveled all over the world, has experienced 100’s of performances, and has built a vast network of artists, curators, organizations, and collaborators to work with. Even though the line between his personal and professional life is blurry he finds much inspiration and is fed artistically as the festivals Executive & Artistic Director.

Ron is such a generous and wonderful guy and our conversation was really fun for me. It’s hard not to be excited and inspired by what he and his team are doing every year. If you have ever attended the festival you know how fantastic it can be. Not to say that it is easy to relate to all of the work and that some of it will not challenge you in new ways, but if you are open to it the rewards can be very memorable and thought provoking.

Some of the subjects we discuss:

Ron’s background
Festival origins
Separation of art forms
The live experience
Creating each year
Festival missions
Community engagement
Curatorial approach
Free model
Going full time
Ant Hampton
Relating to challenging work
Themes and threads
Evening of art
2018 festival details

FUSEBOX Festival 2018

April Tue 17th - Sun 22nd, 2018

Office: 512-800-3066
2023 E. Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78702

Image banner courtesy of the Fusebox Festival featuring Tania El Khoury تانيا الخوري, Justin Shoulder, Erin Markey, and Charles O. Anderson.

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