Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interviewing Marya Warshaw for the NYPL [UPDATE]

Eva with Marya Warshaw of BAX
at New York Public Libary for the Performing Arts
(photo: Susan L. Kraft)

It was a tremendous honor to conduct an oral history interview with Marya Warshaw, Executive Director/Artistic Director of BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) and Bessie Award-winner, over the past two weeks.

Warshaw and I were invited by Susan L. Kraft, Oral History Project Coordinator at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. All of that's a mouthful, I know, but what you really need to know about Kraft is that she's one of the most organized, considerate and gracious people around. So it was a joy to work with her and with assistant archivist Cassie Mey (better known as one of New York's fantastic dancers) in planning and achieving this important project. Kraft and Mey took excellent care of us, and we were given everything we needed to be comfortable and make a recording with fine sound quality.

Warshaw, herself, made it all very easy. I was amazed by her complete presence and openness as, for close to four hours over two recording sessions, she traced milestones of her personal and professional journey in the context of significant changes in our society, city neighborhoods and arts communities. I got a very clear sense of the life influences, values and strengths that make her an essential leader in Brooklyn and for our entire city.

It's critically important that the contributions of our artists and arts leaders be remembered and be accessible to future artists, scholars and the public. Now you will be able to listen to Marya Warshaw as I did and, I hope, be similarly inspired.

For more information about using the archives of the NYPL's Jerome Robbins Dance Division, click here.

UPDATE: To read Susan L. Kraft's NYPL blog post about this project, click here.

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