Throughout the summer, Little Island will invite guests to enjoy arts and entertainment in their two dedicated performance venues. Julia Kraus, the producer of Little Island, tapped Director Tina Landau, Tap Dancer and Choreographer Ayodele Casle, Pig Pen Theater Company, and Actor, Singer and Music Director Michael McEloy as the four inaugural artists-in-residents to curate programming.
On Stage Host Frank DiLella spoke with McElroy to hear more about what he has planned. Here is an edited portion of their interview:
Frank DiLella: What does it mean to be an artist-in-residence at Little Island?
Michael McElroy: Often as artists, we are struggling not only to get out there, but to get our work seen, to get our work supported, to get people to believe in our work, and help us whether that is financially or give us space, whatever. To be an artist-in-residence means you have an organization saying, "We want to support you as an artist, and if that means you want to curate other artists and support them, we want to support them. But also if you want to create a new project, you got a space to do it in."
So to have that kind of support as artist, especially as we’re coming back into community, it just means it allows you to dream without having to worry about all the logistics that usually come with trying to get your work out there.
FD: What do you plan to accomplish here?
MM: Curating up-and-coming artists, emerging artists. Plus, giving a home to artists from our community who do other things. Like, Joshua Henry is a Broadway performer, but he is also a singer/songwriter, and now you have a space — a beautiful magical space — where you can also do that as well. You can apply to do your art here, and also fill out an application, and from that group of people who did that I chose four artists that will also have a platform to do their art coming up in July and August.
McElroy is the founder of Broadway Inspirational Voices. The choir christened the stage of Little Island's Amphitheater as one of the first groups to perform there. It also marked McElroy’s last performance with the company after 27 years, as Allen René Louis succeeds him as the next artistic director.
MM: To be able to come into community here as New York City is coming back and be with the choir for the first time, us singing together, it’s had a — it’s been a healing experience.
For more information on programming this summer, head to littleisland.org.