Last week, Rachel Berger (the CEO and founder of The Artist Co-op) sent out an email that informed members our co-working space was closing. We no longer had a home to work from.
Rachel does positive, even in the darkest moments and biggest challenges. The email included:
THANK YOU for believing in The Artist Co-op.
THANK YOU for having an open heart.
THANK YOU for helping us create the TAC community.
I'm sad, but I've learned during my time in New York City that there is ALWAYS change — and life here is enriched by the people you meet (and The Artist Co-op has been the best place for that.) Here are my thank yous.
Rachel - please take a bow for your vision. Seeing an opportunity (or maybe thankless vocation) in asking the question: "Why isn't there a WeWork for the arts?"... and letting strays like Ruth and me in to diversify the mix.
To Sergio for keeping the Spotify mix just right — but I now want you to honestly tell me: was The Beatles mix just to keep this Liverpudlian from moaning in the early morning.
To Mark for setting the pace. The Artist Co-op came alive in the afternoons as performing artists woke up. Mark was a writer. He was there early. He became a friend who showed commitment to his art, his health, and the wellbeing of others. I remember the time he asked me if I knew a photographer who could help him take pics of some work he did with the homeless. I volunteered and learnt so much about the man I had sat next to day after day. It made a moving feature in the magazine – and I will admire him always for his love and kindness to others.
To Sarah for giving the brightest smile and humor to any afternoon she came to the Co-op. For this cis male, my queer friend was patient at helping me to find ways to be an ally and a friend. And to Janelle, who just exuded love and fun and creativity. The day was lightened every time they were around together, plotting the execution of their ideas.
To Mirirai for being an open and sharing member of the community. Her energy lit up the space when she was around (even when you could tell she was having a tough time). She wanted to create.
Yaakov would stretch my mind with his ideas around theater data and Google algorithms and changing the world. A revolutionary on a bike, he was committed and deep.
I'm going to miss bumping in to Shawn. He's a performer, so a late afternoon guy. But if I ever popped in late evening to pick something up, he'd be around. I'd seen him in roles at Ensemble Studio Theatre and was a bit in awe. But every time we chatted, he was gentle, engrossed in his art.
Bethany commanded a table full of actors to help them market themselves. I could hear every week the devotion to her team, and her unflinching way of pushing them to action, knowing that forward motion demands detail and attention. She helped W42ST set up our WIX site when we needed low cost and easy maintenance. Big thanks.
Nick gave me shelter in my gypsy year. Six weeks of renting his room in Queens while he was off in Seattle producing was the start of my discovery of that boro.
Chelsey illustrated our most popular magazine cover (as voted for at our 50th issue celebration). She continues to support W42ST with other art, most notably in the last few months with illustrations of a gay guy who lied so he could donate his antibody-rich blood, and one of Josephine Baker. She's also one of the judges in our #maskies competition.
Daryl oozed enthusiasm, taking control of the front desk, working the social media, being up for helping out if we needed to dispatch magazines.
Kevin always made me smile. He was living life to the full, being creative. I'll always remember him taking part in the first storytelling night for W42ST early this year, standing against the TAC background and relaying his New York first: "When I think about it now, all I can do is laugh. How cliché that moment was - straight out of a New York sitcom; the first time someone flashed me. What started out as a personal morning coffee date in Hell's Kitchen, ended with me staring at more sausage than was on my breakfast sandwich."
Jenna told us about becoming a dancer later in life. And was there whenever W42ST needed a helping hand, for anything from check-in to bartending at events. She was a light in our world.
And Shanti and Kristin added to our diversity through the power of plants. Their Design Wild business was welcomed into the Co-op and brightened the day (especially when Kristin got her roller skates on).
I've named so many, forgotten more (special thanks to those – and apologies for my memory). I'm sure Ruth could double the list. My biggest thank you is for the diversity that Rachel and the TAC team gave us. I hope we can find a new tribe, or reconnect in a new place. Working from home sucks – this was our home!
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