Audrey Kuo

Why donate to a free space? TNC Stage Manager Audrey Kuo helps you work through the cognitive dissonance by waxing philosophical about being philanthropical.

The idea of donating to a space so consistently advertised as free may seem counterintuitive — I know that I used to read the phrase “suggested donation” as “ticket price.” But over the last three seasons, as I have grown to know and love Tuesday Night Cafe over the last three seasons, I have also gained a much deeper understanding of why it is the responsibility of the community to offer and preserve free access to arts.

Tuesday Night Cafe is, in all possible ways, an open space. When you walk in, no one asks you for anything.* No entry fee. No barriers at the door. Just an open space to observe, engage, create, inspire and be inspired. Halfway through the show, we pass a box, so each person in the audience has the chance to donate what they can, if they can.

The open courtyard also means that the artists create a dialogue with the city — every performer throws down over the sounds of helicopter blades whirring, cars and sirens screeching by. Passersby stop to peer through the gates, because they are drawn to the sounds of art being created.

Your $5 to $10 means that the next kid searching for a venue to express herself, the next person in search of community, the next artist seeking a supportive audience — they have somewhere to go. Donating to campaigns like ours is about ensuring that space for art and community exists for all of us who need it; and that it is free for those who need it to be.

*Sometimes we ask people to sign up for our mailing list — but it’s optional!

Audrey Kuo is a queer second-generation Taiwanese-American poet. By day, she works in nonprofit development. By evening, she stage manages for Tuesday Night Cafe , writes things, fiddles in the kitchen, and blogs sporadically.