I started funding the arts in New York City around 2008: List of supported Kickstarter projects. I set aside $15 daily, every day without fail, to fund my photography and the work of other artists.
Interestingly, regarding dancer income as a guideline for the community in which I desire to participate, more than 40% of the dancers surveyed earned less than $5000 from the dance industry, according to a Dance/NYC report, “Dance Workforce Census: Earnings Among Individuals 21-35.” Two-thirds made less than $20000 from dancing. The study, which surveyed 1231 dancers during year 2012, is the first to focus on this age group, arguably the time when dancers are in their prime.
Between 2000-2004 I worked @ SUNY Purchase College, and during my time there attended every performance @ The Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. I continued to attend Conservatory of Dance performances till around 2007, and during that time felt 'called' to the art form by a quickening of grace or presence within while witnessing the dance.
Then, I was an Office Manager for: The Society for Universal Sacred Music. The Foundation / Society President Roger Davidson was a Schlumberger Oil Industry Equipment heir, so he was very wealthy. I learned from Roger how money can be used to help promote a unique vision of spiritual culture. My time with SUSM gave me the courage to begin my arts funding initiative, and especially so, because of the credibility of the work being accomplished there by conservatory trained artists.
I suppose I got the job with The Society for Universal Sacred Music because I had made Pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the Vatican as a kind of 'bargaining' with the spiritual powers that be regarding my health problems, which began in 1984. I was finally granted disability status in 2008 through the professional consensus of three qualified doctors. I was able to work, even given the health issues, for all that time in between: LinkedIn for Nicholas Croft.
I was raised in the 1970's when recreational drugs were ubiquitous. I stopped marijuana use around 1980, but still desire the 'buzz' one gets from it occasionally. Often one replaces drugs with sex, but I was never really much of a lover with the health problems that I had, so I focused on art and spirituality instead.
For spirituality, I was raised Catholic. However, I have enormous differences with many of the Catholic teachings. Still, my spiritual quest brought me to work in the choral music field between 2007-2008 because the employers saw that I was serious about spiritual practice and because I suppose once one speaks of spirituality, one attempts to be 'in harmony' with genuine advanced beings. However, the social aspect of orthodox spirituality is not always what I'm looking for compared with the world of the secular arts.
Given a long term spiritual quest, I love when Pagans say 'everyone is getting off' on the magic of their practice: Video documentation of the worldview and life experiences of pagans. So that probably is one of my primary motivations now, in addition to helping others who witness the Kickstarter Project work to 'get off' too. ( Or to feel deeply inspired by the work. )
Participating in sharing the communal energy or 'magic' at formal open dance rehearsals or performances can be a very good substitute for my youthful sense of finding community through Catholic ritual or intoxication through recreational drugs. This is perhaps best explained by New York City Ballet principal dancer Suzanne Farrell: "The art of dance can be even more beautiful than making love.", in the documentary: Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse.
I don't think I will ever find a more satisfying way to 'worship' or 'get off', so I have been putting my money where my mouth is since 2008 as a kind of voluntary public service inspired by my past public service of working for New York State at Purchase College or The Society for Universal Sacred Music with Roger Davidson: List of supported Kickstarter projects.
I have found a significant sense of understanding in the worldview of contemporary theologian Barbara Brown Taylor: 'With the seriousness that comes when life is more than half over, people at this stage are willing to spend, and be spent, emptying their pockets in one last ditch effort to make meaning.' I strongly feel that this Rothko Chapel talk by Barbara gets to the essence of my current worldview and life experience, and that she serves well as the 'voice of heart & reason' for a meaningful personal response to my ongoing health concerns: Barbara Brown Taylor lecture @ The Rothko Chapel.
So that's my story in a nut shell and I am always looking for fellow travelers on this particular path.
Yours in the music, Nicholas Croft