Challenges for The Muse Brooklyn: Supporting Those Who Help Circus Arts Soar - CircusTalk

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Challenges for The Muse Brooklyn: Supporting Those Who Help Circus Arts Soar

Artists and performers in the New York City area have long relied on The Muse Brooklyn, an aerial studio space, to meet their training needs at every circus skill level. Now they’re relying on all of us as well. We recently heard from Director and Founder Angela Buccinni Butch about The Muse’s current predicament. It goes as follows:

After 11 years of being a pillar of the New York circus arts community, we at The Muse Brooklyn come to you with a heavy-hearted update and an urgent request for support.

Years of battling our landlord’s illegal practices coupled with pandemic hardships have led The Muse to file for bankruptcy protection and come to a forced settlement with the landlords. While we have significant counterclaims and damages against them, they were able to strong-arm the situation because we no longer can afford to pursue our damages. The Muse is now required to surrender its space, as well as pay $200,000 to resolve the settlement, before December 11, 2022. This payment is in addition to our mounting legal fees, continued operations costs, and pending moving expenses.

Even during the pandemic, The Muse has never stopped providing art, joy, and space for a community of adults and youth alike. We have every intention to continue to serve our community with our work even while we have no roof over our heads.

The loss of this space is huge, and not just for The Muse itself, but for the New York arts community at large. Since the pandemic struck, The Muse was the city’s last professional circus-dedicated space with the specs necessary for training high-level, high-flying professional circus skill sets. Our column-free, high-ceilinged space allowed for proper air clearance which, combined with a knowledgeable rigging team for specialty circus apparatuses and our ability to do manual lift operations, made this space integral for Broadway shows to rehearse their stunts. It also allowed us to be the sole provider of creative stunt consultations for flight and specialty circus skills with a professional hub for rehearsals and production.

Because we brought in so many high-level artists through these offerings, we were also one of the only spaces that could be shared between the incoming generation of circus artists and NYC’s highest-level professionals. It was not uncommon at The Muse to see a Cirque du Soleil artist training next to a toddler just discovering the joys of circus. It was a beautiful fusion of energies that will be sorely missed. This is a devastating loss for so many of New York’s arts communities, and we hope to be able to provide these specialty offerings again in the future.

While there are many obstacles ahead of us, we have faith in the relationships we have built over the years and our reputation within the community. We know that, even with the loss of our four walls and dollars, what we do have—what can’t be taken away—is stronger, and will rebuild better! Meanwhile, we still have a few options to house some of our programming in the interim and will announce soon where our next trimester will be held.

Our hearts may be heavy from the loss of our hub, but we feel very proud that we got our team through the brunt of the pandemic. We are insanely grateful to our team for sticking with us even during our hardest times. This is a true testament to the UNITY of our community!

 As for the long-term future of The Muse, we already have some exciting partnerships brewing and are hopeful that, once freed of our ties to our current landlord, these partnerships will all come to full fruition in the years to come. Ultimately, the silver lining here is that the closing of this door gives us the chance to open the doors to bigger, better, and more stable opportunities.

We still remain committed to keep on providing the next generation of rising circus stars with quality programming, as well as continuing our social circus program and professional services as NYC’s leading cirque experts. However, we urgently need your help to get through this transition.

If you are in the New York community, please reach out to us through email and check out The Muse’s website for details about local events, upcoming shows, and more ways to connect with us and lend support over these next two months. Those abroad can offer some love by supporting our gofundme campaign, making a tax-deductible recurring or one-time donation here, and spreading the word to their own networks.

And don’t forget to stay connected with us! We may be losing our space soon, but we will still keep a strong presence in the NYC scene and would love to stay connected until we establish our next roof! The hardest part of all of this will be not seeing our community on a day-to-day basis. Please keep in touch.  We are always happy to be your circus friends, familia, performers, coordinators, and coaches  <3

All images courtesy of Angela Buccinni Butch
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