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Fertile Ground Announces Crowdfunding Campaign For New Festival Director

The festival is on a hiatus for the first year since its launch in 2009—an effort to plan a sustainable future for Fertile Ground.

Fertile Ground Announces Crowdfunding Campaign For New Festival Director

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA), is on a hiatus for the first year since its launch in 2009-an effort to plan a sustainable future for Fertile Ground. A key component of this strategic evaluation is funding the festival director position.

PATA is currently raising funds toward compensation for this role with an online GoFundMe campaign: Fertile Ground Festival ReGrowth Fundraiser.

These crowd-sourced funds not only seed the next leader of Fertile Ground-making it possible to offer the role with secured compensation-but will also reflect the value of the festival to local theatre-makers and audience members, making its importance evident to institutional funders, such as granting organizations and foundations, and large-gift individual donors.

PATA President Samson Syharath, alongside PATA's Fertile Ground committee, has been working with former Festival Director Nicole Lane since last December to plan a fundraising campaign that will hit home with festival fans and past producers, who are right now feeling the loss of a festival-held in late January into early February-that has invigorated the theatre and performing arts community since 2009.

Anyone who's enjoyed Fertile Ground is being asked to:

After 13 years of leadership that was offered on a largely volunteer basis, former Festival Director Nicole Lane is ready to pass the torch to the next generation of the festival's leadership. She will continue to be involved PATA's Fertile Ground committee.

"I am proud of my part in launching more than 1,300 'acts of creation' with Fertile Ground, and it has been an honor to support and teach thousands of artists, and producers over the years," said former Festival Director Nicole Lane. "And, now it is time for the next leader of the festival to emerge to guide Fertile Ground's future. In order for that to happen, PATA and Fertile Ground need in-hand compensation funds to offer for this role. When Sara Jean Accuardi came on board PATA's Fertile Ground committee to witness what we do, she noted that the mechanics of Fertile Ground are a bit like 'Oz behind the curtain,' meaning that it seems to be a much larger operation than it actually is. Run by a small and dedicated team, Fertile Ground has an enormous arts ecology footprint. Since 2014, Dré Slaman has been an outstanding managing partner who volunteered her work to making the festival happen. I have ever-flowing gratitude to the small band of Fertile Ground 'staff' over the years who volunteered their time and talents to Fertile Ground, and the artists we support. It is my hope that Portland's Fertile Ground-lovers will heed the call to action, value what Fertile Ground offers our community, and give in support of our festival's future."

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works is an annual, citywide theater festival which yearly often featured nearly 100 acts of creation from dance and theater to educational events and play readings. Festival events take place in venues across the city, often making theater spaces out of unexpected corners of Portland and carrying festival passholders to undiscovered venues.

In recent years, innovations to the festival came about in response to the pandemic-all 2021 productions were curated, and were delivered completely online as a series of livestreams, or as static video content via Fertile Ground platforms. Also beginning with the 2021 festival, Fertile Ground prioritized-through curation, selection and cash awards-innovative projects that were centered on values of equity, diversity and inclusion. These awards were determined by the GROW Panel, a diverse selection of panel participants, who evaluated projects and provided feedback to producers. The 2022 festival was somewhat of a hybrid (see details below), but uncurated.



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