Kevin Doyle: A Dedicated Advocate for the Arts and Cultural Exchange
Kevin Doyle is a writer and director whose works in film and theater bridge both artistic disciplines and cultural divides.
In 2016, Kevin received a two-month ACC Fellowship to Bangladesh to research the garment industry and the experience of women who survived the 2012 Tazreen Fashions Factory fire. Drawing comparisons between the Tazreen fire and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Kevin is in the process of creating an interdisciplinary theater-film in collaboration with the fire’s survivors.
Recognizing Kevin as a dedicated advocate for the arts and cultural exchange, ACC invited him to serve as a panelist at the 2017 ACC Forum: Making the Case for Cultural Exchange, and his theater company Sponsored By Nobody to perform scenes from THE AЯTS. The performance investigates the origins of the National Endowment for the Arts in relation to the current state of public arts funding in America. An incredibly timely subject, THE AЯTS will premiere its world debut at La MaMa E.T.C. (Multiple Grants, 1977-2011) from September 13 – 30, 2018.
Kevin Doyle continues to play an integral role in advancing dialogue around the necessity of art and arts funding. In the spirit of continuing this dialogue, we’d like to share an excerpt of Kevin’s remarks from the ACC Forum.
Kevin Doyle (left) serving as a panelist at the 2017 ACC Forum: Making the Case for Cultural Exchange
“In my work, I see evidence of a vast consolidation and compression of human experience into more and more narrow and predictable terms. As human expression, language and information becomes compressed into narrow terms, we are becoming incapable of formulating responses to complex problems or issues. It is a vicious cycle—one that most people tend to avoid—which only fuels the entire compression even more.
This is where the arts must come in. This is where cultural exchange programs must come in. The arts and cultural exchange have an urgent role to play here. They possess the unique capacity to address this gap. They desperately need to help bridge this gap.
The arts and cultural exchange possess inherent qualities that resist consolidation, that interrupt compression, that possess the ability to stop time, freeze us in place for a while—and if they are undertaken by people of talent, integrity, and ingenuity—can convince us to look for a little while longer, to resist the temptation of turning away, and to contemplate aspects of ourselves and others in a new light—before we inevitably return to be absorbed by the steady stream of noise we are bombarded with daily.
Sponsored By Nobody performing a scene from THE AЯTS
I believe that the robust public funding of the arts and aggressively proactive cultural exchange programs have a positive long-term role to play here. It is my belief that it is long since past due to mount a bold counterattack against the forces and trends in our country, in our society, who are trying to convince you otherwise. That the arts should not be publicly funded. That cultural exchange programs have no place in this inter-connected digital world. That the focus of foundations and private philanthropy should turn to other more urgent social, political, economic, or environmental issues. I strongly disagree. The arts and cultural exchange must be included. The arts and cultural exchange should not be going anywhere. Because without the unique language and vocabulary that innovative forms of the arts provide us with, without the unique breadth of experiences and dialogue that emerge out of cultural exchange programs—we will be unable to frame arguments or articulate ourselves about any of the myriad problems we face—let alone propose solutions.”