Whether you are an actor, a dancer or a painter – being an artist can be a lonely business, characterized by short-term jobs, self-doubt and a constant need to hustle.
To remedy these difficulties, Kemi Adegoroye and Claire Ryberg founded Indicoe, an arts organization designed to provide resources, inspiration and collaboration to independent artists in multiple disciplines from all over the world
“In college, you often have groups of artists in close proximity. You can bounce ideas off each other and collaborate on projects. I really missed that networking when I graduated,” Adegoroye told DC Metro Theater Arts. “I found myself wanting to connect with other artists.”
So Adegoroye, an actress, singer, and entrepreneur, broached the subject to Ryberg. What if they created an organization that could provide the sense of connection among artists that she had in college?
Friends since high school, where they roomed together at the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, Ryberg and Adegoroye have since worked in a variety of cities across the globe. They spent four years polishing the idea before launching Indicoe in October of 2017.
Ryberg, a Latin dancer now based in Amsterdam, says she wanted to found Indicoe because she wished that something like it already existed. “There are a lot of ways for someone to discover a creative field that inspires them. Then there are the success stories of the people who have ‘made it’ in that field. But there didn’t seem to be much out there about how to get from Point A to Point B. Indicoe strives to fill that gap.”
In its first year, Indicoe has launched a blog and a Facebook group and hosted a gathering of artists at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater Company.
The Facebook group – Indicoe Creative Community – is a place where people can network with artists from various disciplines, share advice and get freelancing tips.
The Indicoe blog includes interviews with artists at varying stages of their careers: People like Sheycha Dem, a Bhutanese fashion designer who developed an international menswear label, or New York actress Courtney Reed, who started a jewelry business while simultaneously starring as Jasmine in Broadway’s “Aladdin.”
Adegoroye writes most of the content, which includes advice on topics like preparing for a photo shoot or holding an audition. One post, “How To Lose a Collaborator in 10 Ways,” lists out frequent mistakes people make when collaborating on partnerships. (Rule one: Don’t claim to know more than you do.)
Adegoroye hopes articles like these will be helpful to artists and create an artistic community not limited by geography or discipline. “Being an independent artist without a team to support you can be lonely,” she said. “You can pour your heart and soul into a creation and then release it and feel like you are yelling into a void. To interact with other artists and see that they are struggling too can be very reassuring.”
Last June, Indicoe hosted an “Artist Mix ‘n’ Mingle” at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Dozens of arts professionals gathered after a performance of “Botticelli in the Fire” to discuss their craft and connect over cocktails.
Taylor Rambo, a DC-based musician and performing arts manager, attended the event. “It was a great opportunity to interact with a wider group of arts professionals than I usually get to meet,” Rambo said. He came away with new contact numbers in his pocket and “a better sense of how we can interact to support each other’s work.”
Nicholas Goodman, a stage manager and aspiring director from Waterloo, NY, stumbled on the event while on a visit to DC. For him, it was literally life-changing.
“Talking to so many friendly and passionate artists got me excited,” Goodman said. “Somehow the excitement of the event helped me realize that I needed to work in professional theater again.”
Goodman has since moved to DC, where he is now stage managing NextStop Theatre’s production of Shrek: The Musical. He says the Indicoe event taught him to place more value on his work in theater. “Getting to talk to so many other artists who were interested in me and my work definitely helped me to feel like a legitimate artist myself.”
Since Adegoroye is based in Washington, DC, many of Indicoe’s early successes are DC and New York focused. “That’s just a result of where I am and what my interests are,” she said.
Moving forward, the partners hope to expand Indicoe to artistic hubs across the globe. They would love to establish Indicoe groups in LA, Nashville, Paris, anywhere that artists could benefit from the chance to connect and collaborate. “That is something we hope to get to. In the meantime, we will just grab whatever opportunity we can and hope that when we put it out there, someone, somewhere will find it interesting.”