National Sawdust (NS), an unparalleled, artist-led, non-profit venue, is a place for exploration and discovery. A place where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike.
In a city teeming with venues, NS is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres a home in which they can flourish, a setting where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work.
As a composer, I believe the role of an artist in the 21st century should be that of creator, educator, performer, and entrepreneur. I believe that 21st-century composers/artists need to be thinking about what impact they can have on their existing community, both locally and globally.At National Sawdust (NS), we believe in remaining flexible and true to the needs of artists. Our core mission is centered on the support of emerging artists, and on commissioning and supporting the seeds of ideas. Each year, we explore one large theme and construct programming and questions around that theme. This year, that theme is opera. We are producing and commissioning ten of them. Additionally, we are exploring song cycles in our annual Winterreise festival, and celebrating the voice in our FERUS festival.We also believe the future of new art lives in education. We define education broadly. To us, education is about giving young people and community members opportunities and tools to explore their potential for artistic and creative expression. But it is also about ensuring that artists themselves never stop learning – about their craft, about the work of their peers, about the business of the arts, about their own capacities to be educators and advocates. NS facilitates this kind of learning by bringing together artists from around the world in exciting composition- based projects, teaching opportunities, cultural exchanges, and hands-on management experience. Through this cultural synthesis artists leave lasting impressions on one another, become more versatile and resilient professionals, and create works that reflect a plural understanding of American society.
–Paola Prestini, Creative & Executive Director