APOLLO ARTISTIC & PROGRAM VISION
The Apollo’s Institutional artistic vision and performance programs center are grounded in the following:
• Celebrates and re-envisions the Apollo’s and Harlem’s legacy in a more forward-looking, contemporary way
• Creates forum for emerging artists and curators
• Supports new directions for mid-career and established artists
• Develops and presents new and cutting edge multi-disciplinary work
• Values culturally diverse artists and audiences
• Promotes an intimate and engaged experience for audiences
Building on, but extending our legacy, our new programming vision allows the Apollo to invest in the creativity and artistic vision of artists and curators to enhance our programming and extend our reach to a broader audience.
Music is at the core of all our work and drives dance, theater and performance art events that are large and small-scale. We present forward-looking, contemporary work, while building on our legacy and history. We develop unique Apollo projects that give us a competitive niche and provide leadership in the broader arts arena.
The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and music work and, in the near future, present and co-produce theater. Our vision is a global one that considers touring and our digital media presence. Our work is organized around a set of core initiatives: Apollo Music (African American and culturally diverse artists); Signature programs (Amateur Night, Salon Series and the Apollo Music Café); Legacy Series (work that celebrates and extends our legacy in a more contemporary way); Global Festival (international and U.S. based artists presentations focused under a specific theme); Special Projects (multidisciplinary work with partner organizations); Holidays at the Apollo.
Supporting culturally diverse artists based in the United States and internationally is a priority in the Apollo’s overall programming. We, in particular, involve artists who represent the rich diversity of New York City, especially the Harlem and upper Manhattan community. This includes contemporary voices from Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and other countries. This focus informs a larger commitment to building an institution that has a deeper and long-term connection with culturally diverse communities.
Our education and community programs work in tandem with our performance events, deepening the experience and relationship with an important segment of your constituency. The Apollo serves as a resource by building knowledge, providing career development opportunities and addressing issues that are of concern to community residents. Partnerships with other arts, cultural and educational institutions, as well as for profit entities, are a key strategy in the development and presentation of performing arts projects.
The Apollo’s presentations, in most cases, are intentionally designed to encourage and engage and, at times, provide participatory experiences for our audience. This Apollo “experience” is designed for a local, city and worldwide audience. The Apollo’s audience is one of the most diverse (racial, education, economic, age) in the United States – a direct result of our diverse programming.
Apollo New Works
As the latest initiative in the Apollo Theater’s ongoing expansion, Apollo New Works extends the Theater’s commitment to the articulation and projection of the African American and African diasporic narrative. This multi-disciplinary commissioning program is dedicated to the creation of a diverse, 21st century American performing arts cannon. Many of the works will premiere at the Apollo’s new theaters at the Victoria, scheduled to open in fall 2020. Apollo New Works is made possible with the support of a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation for the creation of new work by artists of color, the initiative is also funded by a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Apollo’s Master Artist in Residency, a central component of the program. Apollo New Work artists include: Camille A. Brown, Stefon Harris, Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, Ebony Noelle Golden, Ballet Hispánico, BANDALOOP & Daniel Bernard Roumain, Black Gotham Experience, Soul Science Lab, The New Black Fest, and Talvin Wilks.
Apollo Music is a program initiative designed to celebrate and expand the Theater’s significance in the popular music arena. The series focuses on a broad spectrum of popular music by presenting contemporary acts from across America and abroad. Programs under this series are often co-produced. Past partners include: Live Nation, Bowery Presents, World Music Institute and Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.
The Apollo’s new artistic vision builds on its rich history by celebrating its legacy in a more forward-looking, contemporary way. The Apollo Dance is evolving and focuses on:
• Creation, presentation and touring of unique, large scale projects, some of which celebrate the Apollo’s legacy. The James Brown project, Get On The Good Foot, a Celebration in Dance, engaged emerging and established choreographers representing diverse dance aesthetics and cultural backgrounds.
• Our Salon Series provides support for emerging and mid-career artists in the creation of new work, exploring new artistic direction and collaborations with artists from other disciplines.
• Support for dance work that is experiential and immersive for the audience, using the Apollo spaces in unique and innovative ways.
• Support for the creation and presentation of Hip Hop dance theater work by U.S. based artists.
• Co-presentation and commission support for select dance companies that reflect the cultural backgrounds of Harlem’s residents and provide Mains stage, educational and family programs during their residency.
The Apollo Theater launched its first global festival in June 2013. This new biennial festival brings artists from across the world and the United States to participate in a theme-based program of Mainstage and Soundstage performances, workshops and other activities unique to a particular culture or art form. Festivals will include contemporary, multi-disciplinary work that might involve dance, theater, music, visual arts, and new media. A goal of the festival is to position the Apollo as a “gateway” for international artists to be presented and promoted in the United States.
Apollo Theater Archive Project
The Apollo Theater has begun to establish an archive that will document the history and ongoing activities of Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater. Through this project, a unique collection of photographs, oral histories, videotapes, institutional documents, printed materials, and memorabilia will be identified, surveyed, collected, inventoried, preserved, and maintained for future generations. A system for the long-term care and continuous collection of archival materials will be established together with a means for sharing the collection with the public.
Master Artist-In-Residence Program
The Master Artist-in-Residence program reinforces the Apollo Theater's commitment to celebrating African-American arts and culture, supporting emerging and established artists of color, and serving as an artistic, educational and community resource. This three-year initiative, which will include events on the Apollo’s iconic stage, the digital stage stage, and in the new Apollo spaces in the Victoria Theater in fall 2021, will further deepen the relationship between Ta-Nehisi Coates and the nonprofit theater.