Soul Stirrers #9: Artery.is
Artery is a digital platform that empowers people to host, attend, and participate in pop-up performances using whatever resources are most accessible to them. Founded by journalists Salimah Y. Ebrahim and Vladic Ravich, Artery events are unique in that they are intimate by design, taking place anywhere from living rooms to the woods and everything in between - embody the philosophy that “every space is a stage”.
Though their main hubs of activity are centred around New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Washington D.C., Boston, Austin, and Reykjavík (hey, Iceland!), Artery’s concept can easily be adapted to any locale so as long as there exists an impulse to foster a sense of belonging at the ground level. Performing arts thus serves as both a catalyst and a vehicle for bringing strangers together to share in an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience.
Artery’s decentralized approach to sparking unexpected connections between people is not just novel but necessary. For one, the platform offers a sense of agency to its members regardless of who they are. Artists can set up gigs for themselves, find an audience, and get external support in the form of a host, while attendees can support local artists, be part of something special, and make new friends along the way. Hosts get to bring these public showcases to life, help artists generate income, and get a portion of the proceeds for doing so:
[Artery] cuts across occupation, ethnicity, income levels - just like culture is supposed to. One reason people go to an Artery is to experience something outside their cultural bubble, to meet new people at a human scale. Watching a group of strangers connect in a shared space around an intimate experience is amazing. The most common feedback we get from attendees is “you had to be there” and we’re proud to build a platform for this kind of community.
From every angle, members of Artery are incentivized to take an active part in the platform’s growth because it benefits other stakeholders too (and not just monetarily). First time attendees of a showcase may be inspired to host one themselves, or even start learning how to play the guitar; artists can alternate between performing and hosting, and attend other showcases to support their friends; local businesses can open up their spaces to performers, give back to the community, and get an influx of foot traffic without having to spend a dime on advertising. Everyone wins — and there’s nothing better than helping people to help themselves.