The Secret City is requesting applications for new national Board Members from enterprising individuals who are driven to experience joy and cultivate community, and who are lovers of art. Candidates will be interested in supporting the transition of a nonprofit live arts organization into a digital creative community and supporting its growth over the next three years.
What Is The Secret City
The Secret City’s work is inclusive, celebratory, joyful and profound. It has a veneer of silliness with great depth of meaning. We connect and reconnect: human to human, artist to creative purpose, individual to community, and everyone to the principles of art making: attention, curiosity, collaboration, tenacity, craft, rigor and generosity. Our work is founded in the practice of Creative Mindfulness.
A Brief History of The Secret City
The Secret City is an Obie Award winning art and performance collective. Their motto is "We Worship Art.” Their mission is to use the arts, performance and ritual to connect, entertain and inspire. Their events illuminate social issues, contemporary politics, and human experience, bringing people together in greater acceptance of themselves and one another. Their work builds community and expands human consciousness.
The Secret City started in 2007 and has since produced over one hundred performances featuring hundreds of artists and performers. Each event has a unique theme (i.e. FREEDOM, LIGHT, GARBAGE, WORK) and is curated with a lineup of performers to create dynamic theatrical events. The Secret City’s work promotes the idea that live arts, culture, and community are crucial to survival. The Secret City has become a haven and a creative home for artists and a community of thousands who turn to the arts for entertainment, insight and meaning.
Live events are led by artistic director and founder, Chris Wells, who writes and shares an original story related to the event’s theme. Chris is joined by The Secret City band, a community choir, and an invited lineup of guest artists. The Secret City events are diversely curated (age, race, sexuality, gender, class, experience) and have presented an endless variety of performance (marching bands, Butoh, clowns, cirque performers, short plays), visual artists (photography, painting, sculpture, collage), musical guests (Amanda Palmer, Taylor Mac, Justin Vivian Bond, Jomama Jones), literary artists (poets, playwrights, essayists) and culinary artists.
What We’re Working On
The Secret City had planned for 2020 to be a year of transition, to re-organize based on new geographic and community model realities. An organization retreat in January 2020 was meant to propel a six month programming hiatus replaced with deep outreach work and community development in the organization’s new home in Ulster County, NY. However, with the onset of COVID-19, those plans were totally scrapped with an expectation that our ability to produce would be on hold indefinitely. However, our artistic director Chris Wells discovered that his voice was very much one that was needed during this vulnerable time and set about crafting and refining a daily Facebook show called Daily Artistic Inspiration for Troubled Times. The show celebrated its 100th episode mid-July, Now called The Secret City Daily, it regularly earns thousands of views. Other virtual programs include a monthly Service - a reimagining of the live events the organization has been built on - and monthly artist salons.
Due to the unexpected programming success that The Secret City experienced in 2020, the organization is now pursuing a national profile and seeking out national Board Members to get us there.
The Secret City’s board is very much a “hands-on” board where members work actively with each other and with staff to help the organization fulfill its mission.
Each member serves on at least one committee (Strategic Planning, Development, and Marketing), with select other members serving on an Executive/Finance Committee which leads the Board under guidance of its Chair.
Members agree to attend four virtual meetings per year.
Members are responsible for fulfilling a self-identified and meaningful annual gift for the organization.