The results of this year's presidential election shook many Americans to the core.
Molly Quinn did what she always does when things get tough: go to her job as director of public programming at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, and talk to other creative types in the city.
“A lot of people feel hopeless and I did too, and this is what I do when I feel hopeless,” she says aboutArt After Trump, a free six-hour marathon performance taking place Dec. 15, from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby Street. The evening will feature 150 performers with just two minutes to respond to the prompt: “As an artist, how are you reacting to this uncertain future?”
“What I wanted to do was to be with the people whose minds and hearts stimulate me and challenge me and comfort me," explains the 28-year-old Brooklyn resident.
Quinn began planning the event “pretty much when I woke up” on Nov. 9 with fellow organizers and connected creatives in the city — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Well Read Black Girl book club, art blog Hyperallergic, Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter and more. Together, they assembled the roster of performers, whose works will include poetry, music, film clips, photography, documentary footage, readings of well-known and original works, even comedy.
Though not necessarily a protest, the night likely will have moments of activism, especially given that Housing Works began in 1990 as a part of the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) that brought the AIDS crisis into the mainstream through non-violent civic action. Most New Yorkers probably know its book and thrift stores, but to many low-income residents living with HIV/AIDS, Housing Works is a resource for medical care and other assistance — which is threatened by the likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act once Donald Trump takes office.
Just as she got way more responses than the 150 performers who will be taking the stage, nearly 10,000 people have RSVPed through the event’s Facebook page for 300 seats. There are no plans to repeat this particular format, but Quinn promises there’s more to come.
“This event is a meeting of people who may not all respond or protest or resist in the same way,” all serving as a reminder of the importance of continuing to create during adversity. “From the very beginning, the conversation was, ‘This should be a series of events.'"