Despite having been shot in the arm, being consistently drunk on red wine, and having his blood leeched for the Paradisiacal Rites performance weeks ago, Ryan Mitchell was cheery as ever at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on Monday. The ringleader of Seattle’s most hated and loved art group Saint Genet joined Youngstown director David Bestock in announcing a new pilot “Civic Partnership Program” aimed at “incubating” local artists who need adequate space and time to create new work. Saint Genet were allowed 20 to 30 hours a week over the course of a month to rehearse at Youngstown for Paradisiacal Rites.
“I came to talk with David about creating something at Youngstown that didn’t exist yet, which was a way of supporting a project that has limited resources, limited funding and a very specific, difficult time line,” Mitchell says. “David was very supportive of the idea of Youngstown becoming a production partner and supporter that let us have rehearsals in a way that allowed for open ideas and creativity over a long period of time, which is something that is really special and really needed in Seattle right now.”
Born out of Saint Genet’s successful partnership, David Bestock hopes other local artists and arts groups will take advantage of the new pilot program. Located in West Seattle, Youngstown was originally a schoolhouse, which leaves lots of room for unique rehearsal space in its converted classrooms and gymnasiums.
“We cater every arrangement here to the groups we are working with,” Bestock says. “These spaces are really dynamic. The movement studio, the theater, the workshop full of power tools and some of the classroom spaces... because of these we are able to be really flexible. We are open to any kind of arrangement.”
Any artists interested in taking advantage of the new program can apply by contacting David Bestock at firstname.lastname@example.org.