BY ADAM REI SIEGEL
Brisa Trinchero knows a thing or two about giving back. As a two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, a “40 Under 40” entertainment entrepreneur, and the CEO of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, she has consistently pushed the conversation forward on how the arts can be used to create change.
I talked to Brisa from her Hell’s Kitchen home about #GratitudeandTonic, an initiative that puts dollars directly in the pockets of artists who are continuing to create while theaters are dark..
W42ST: How did the idea for #GratitudeandTonic come about?
BT: Before the pandemic, I was out every night – from seeing my favorite musicians and artists to taking in a Broadway show. Then came the quarantine, and the arts and entertainment world went dark literally overnight. Almost immediately, however, many of my favorite artist friends began sharing their work and talents virtually with the community, and their efforts were a much-needed bright spot as we all adjusted to the uncertainty and reality of quarantine. I wanted to find a way to express my immense gratitude to these artists who were continuing to entertain us and uplift us when we needed it most. As a result #GratitudeandTonic was born. I committed to giving $100 a day to a different artist as well as saluting them on my Instagram so others could enjoy their work, as a small way to say thank you.
W42ST: How did your other participants get involved?
BT: Through my daily Instagram posts, the initiative quickly gained attention from several of my wonderful and generous friends. The momentum kept building and we soon created a “crew” that included Broadway investors like Randi Zuckerberg and Oren Michaels, then expanded to my Monaco friends with Clara Boustany, and grew further with Victoria Weinberg as well as Ginna Le Vine and her family. Each member committed to a daily gift to our artist picks, which meant we were giving away between $400 and $600 per day – all going directly into the hands of artists. It has been so wonderful to see so many people want to participate.
W42ST: How has it evolved since its creation?
BT: I recently transitioned oversight of #GratitudeandTonic into the hands of the Princess Grace Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to provide millions of dollars in grants to a diverse array of emerging artists in theater, dance, and film so it seemed like a natural next step. We’re adding a new twist, where we are giving the funds to artist curators, who get to choose the daily recipient from their own network. Each week, a Princess Grace Award winner will in turn get to be the #GratitudeandTonic grant maker and pick the daily artist recipients all week.
W42ST: What has been the response from the recipients?
BT: The response has been incredible. These artists are putting themselves out there as a service to the community without expecting anything in return, so they are always surprised and delighted when they are recognized for their work and for inspiring others.
W42ST: Is there one recipient response which stands out?
BT: It’s impossible to pick just one. So many people sent me artist suggestions and I’m proud of the wide range of artists we could support – everything from New York’s most famous chalk artist, Hani, who was writing messages of gratitude in front of NY Hospitals, to Nat Zegree, who was performing concerts out his window nightly for his neighborhood, to Daniel Watts for his activist virtual performances. I was inspired and moved by all of them.
There is an abundance of talent out there – many of whom are hit hard by these times of economic uncertainty – yet so many artists who are working hard get little or no recognition. A silver lining to going virtual is that we all have an equal opportunity to discover artists online, even if geographically we would never have had the opportunity to come across their work.
“Music, musicals, theatre, dance – all of it has always been at the center of my personal and professional life. So, when I had an opportunity to recognize the very community that has given me such a gift, I felt honored to be able to show my gratitude in such a meaningful way.”
W42ST: How has art gotten you through the past few months?
BT: Art has gotten me through my whole life! Music, musicals, theatre, dance – all of it has always been at the center of my personal and professional life. So, when I had an opportunity to recognize the very community that has given me such a gift, I felt honored to be able to show my gratitude in such a meaningful way.
W42ST: What if others want to get involved?
Adam Rei Siegel is a theatrical producer who has created immersive experiences at House of Yes, Club Cumming, Public Hotel, Norwood Club, Spring Studios, and more. He is a co-producer on the seasonal séance show The Other Side, and an associate producer on the NYT critic’s pick off-Broadway show Beyond Babel. He also works as an outreach specialist at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and produces the Fire Island Dance Festival. @AdamReiSiegel
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