Arts workers are essential, and more than ever, it's important that the world understand what it's like to work in the performing arts. Hear the bold, untold personal stories on workplace and work culture from arts workers themselves. Produced by APAP and made possible with support from the Wallace Foundation.


March 22, 2024 1 min

ARTS. WORK. LIFE. is looking for your bold, untold stories for Season 3! Whether you work on-stage or behind-the-scenes, we want to hear from you.

The final deadline of April 9th is approaching! Submit your story at

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Being prematurely judged or misunderstood can be frustrating, limiting and even harmful. In the final episode of Season 2, artists and arts administrators share stories of pushing boundaries, subverting categories and defying expectations.

Act One: “Up-Rising” with Emily Isaacson, a conductor and the founding director of Classical Uprising in Portland, Maine.

Act Two: “Such Creatures” with Luke Greeff, a dancer, choreographer, circus...

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August 1, 2023 34 mins

Content warning: description of sexual harassment between 9:10 and 10:05 and brief mention of sexual abuse of minors between 24:09 and 24:49.

The best workplaces provide safety and support for their teams: permission to innovate, protection from harassment, support during difficult times, and a safety net for workers.n Episode 5, artists and arts administrators share stories of how their workplaces either provided that safety and su...

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July 25, 2023 36 mins

Feeling like an “outsider” can be isolating, and sometimes you don’t even realize the weight you’re carrying until you find yourself in a place of belonging. In Episode 4, a circus performer, Shakespearean actor, classical musician, and Native storyteller share their journeys from “outsider” to “insider,” exploring representation, safe spaces, embracing identity and confronting privilege.

Introduction: “In The Spotlight” with Chris ...

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July 18, 2023 30 mins

Content warning: brief mentions of gun violence, suicide and child molestation between 18:16 and 19:32.

Whether you are an arts worker and parent, share your art with kids, or see arts education as vital, the intersection of kids and the arts can be joyful and challenging. In Episode 3, hear from a circus artist, drag performer and a clogger.

From the Intro: Watch the hilarious video of children reacting to the Opera on Max Grossman’...

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July 11, 2023 28 mins

Our personal experiences, family history and cultural roots define who we are. But translating our roots into our work can be just as trying as it is fulfilling. In Episode 2, we explore what it means to find your unique voice, to feel the burden of representation and to follow the call of legacy.

Act One: “The Roots Remix” with Malou Beauvoir, a singer, songwriter and actress who lives in Brussels and New York.

Act Two: Seasons of C...

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July 4, 2023 27 mins

“The show must go on!” is a phrase associated with live entertainment for a reason. Arts workers have always had to think on their feet, respond to last-minute disasters and improvise their way through unexpected circumstances. But the past few years have presented the industry with some unique disruptions. For the first episode of Season 2, we bring you stories about improvisation from around the world including stories about how ...

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June 20, 2023 1 min
ARTS. WORK. LIFE. is back. This summer, hear the bold, untold stories from behind the scenes of the performing arts industry. Artists, managers, advocates, and educators share pivotal moments in their personal and professional lives.
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April 20, 2023 2 mins

Season 2 of ARTS. WORK. LIFE. arrives this summer! Performing arts workers: Share your story with the world, go to by the final deadline of May 8th. In this post-pandemic world, we face new realities daily. What’s happening in your work life? Has it changed or evolved? Have you had an experience that transformed you? You don't need to submit a fully-written story. Bullet points will do. You can even send in an audi...

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In this special bonus episode, the panel from the “Stop Talking, Start Listening: Finding Common Ground with Young Arts Workers” session featured in the last episode reconvene to debrief and unpack audience feedback.

Javier Stell-Fresquez, Lexis Hamilton, and Tariq Darrell O'Meally respond to audience questions about authenticity, “paying your dues,” and connecting with colleagues from different generations and backgrounds.

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This special bonus episode is a live recording from the APAP|NYC+ 2023 conference in New York City. Arts workers from across the country came together for a panel titled “Stop Talking. Start Listening: Finding Common Ground with Young Arts Workers and the Future of Our Field.”

Young arts workers Javier Stell-Fresquez, Lexis Hamilton, Bobby Cento and Tariq Darrell O'Meally discuss pay equity, job-hopping, performative activism, socia...

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Even a simple setback can derail a career, so knowing when it’s time to change direction – or step away entirely – is invaluable. The storytellers in Episode 6 share their experiences navigating health crises, job transitions, and personal loss and the unexpected and welcomed relief, joy, confidence, and grace that can follow.

Content warning: This episode mentions eating disorders from 2:15 to 3:23 and from 5:05 to 8:24. You can fi...

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July 26, 2022 27 mins

An organization is the sum of its people, so decisions about who to recruit, who to hire, and who to fire radically shape an organization's work culture. This is especially true in the human-centered work of the arts, where culture matters. The storytellers in Episode 5 put the human back in human resources as they share personal experiences about barriers to hiring, tokenism, layoffs, and what we can learn from other industries be...

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July 19, 2022 28 mins

“Community” is a popular buzzword in the performing arts, but how do we truly deliver on its promise? It takes intentional effort to build a supportive work community, secure community gathering spaces, find a place to belong, and truly serve our audiences. The storytellers in Episode 4 share their unique experiences with space, place and community.

Intro: “Make Some Noise” with Rick Whitaker, the concerts and theater manager for Th...

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Arts workers often walk a tightrope between healthy boundaries and total burnout. But can we achieve balance? Episode 3 tells the stories of professionals assessing risks to physical and mental health, promoting work/life balance in the workplace, and finding harmony in arts, work and life.

Content warning: This episode mentions depression from 20:38 to 21:28 and suicide from 23:22 to 23:37.

You can find mental health resources on AP...

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July 5, 2022 24 mins

Let’s leave the “starving artist” trope firmly in the past -- The stories in Episode 2 are all about money: staying in the green while promoting pay equity, doing the hustle, healthcare scares, and making money by making change.

Introduction: “In The Green” with Lynn Neuman, who lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan and is the artistic director of Artichoke Dance Company, which is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Act One: “Running The Numbers...

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The word inclusion is heard a lot in the arts industry, but are we truly inclusive? Episode 1 explores who is and isn't in the room, disability and access, the toll of leading DEI efforts, and choosing which community to serve and why.

Introduction: “Language Barriers” with Claudia Norman, an independent producer, artistic director and cultural worker based in Queens, New York.

Act One: “The First Step” with Lynne Jordan, a Chicago-b...

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