Fresh Ground Pepper makes it easier to make art. We develop new work by developing new ways of working. We believe in returning the artist to the basest rubric of creation: a deadline, a guideline, a space, and a loving audience. Some people call this a hybrid multidisciplinary incubation system. The rest of us call it a collection of awesome art parties that are shaping the future of New York City culture.
HOW DID FGP BEGIN?
Fresh Ground Pepper was founded in 2008. Two emerging theater artists, Jaclyn Backhaus and Andrew Neisler, began to worry that their work, so meticulously cultivated under the big banner of PROCESS, would soon go the way of PRODUCT. Ultimately, they would not have a safe place to show their unfinished work. FGP began in the form of a recurring reading series for theatrical artists in process, which would allow for the sharing of unprecious and unfinished work to a supportive audience. Joined on staff by fellow artists Karina Martins, Andrew J. Scoville, and Jenny Beth Snyder, Fresh Ground Pepper became a small group devoted to cultivating and curating art in process in spaces across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Its mission is to continually encourage creative energy in the community of artists that surround them.
HOW DOES FGP WORK?
We host and produce up to 10 free events every year, providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in which artists can experiment with progressive ideas.
A typical monthly event begins with the recognition of a need from an artist or an artistic community. Then, pulling from submitted proposals, FGP curates anywhere from 1-20 (or more) project developers for a single month’s event. These artists range from writers, directors, and actors, to musicians, dancers, painters, designers, choreographers, composers, comedians, and more. Each event tends toward a theme, usually associated with the medium in which the artists are working. After solidifying the art, we then locate and secure space specific to the needs of the artist(s) that month
Once a space is secured and a date is set, artists are then expected to rehearse or develop their project on their own. FGP provides the performance date, time, location, and (perhaps most importantly) the audience for each event.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
FGP functions under a submission process, taking submissions from any and all artists, on a rolling basis.
In some cases work shown at an FGP event is encountering an audience for the first time; in others, artists submit work that is currently in the midst of development, looking for a supportive environment to test their progress.
Now in its fifth year, Fresh Ground Pepper has expanded to feature work by musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, puppeteers, visual artists, comedians, drag artists, media designers, circus performers, chefs, and creators of sport.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
As Fresh Ground Pepper moves forward, we will continue to sow the seeds of developing works and present them in a fashion unique to their process. To submit an artistic piece or an idea for a Fresh Ground Pepper event, please do so here.