“The IAF is emerging as an important nexus of imaginative, inter- and trans-disciplinary thinking. Plus, the members are warm-spirited, the discussions jargon-free, and a current of humor and whimsy runs through the proceedings. Serious play. Reminds me of the cat in Gaiman’s Coraline, slipping effortlessly from one world to another, native to both, archly observing the goings-on around it.”– Daniel Rabuzzi, author & blogger
at the IAF Salon, NYC 2009
What is an Interstitial Arts Foundation salon?
IAF salons bring together creative souls of all sorts in order to develop a sense of community and celebrate interstitial art in its myriad forms. The origins of literary and artistic salons go back to 17th century France, when inspiring hosts and hostesses gathered interesting people together to exchange ideas and enjoy stimulating discussions. Today there may be fewer wealthy patrons willing to host an event in their townhouses, but there is always a need for artists to meet other artists, to explore other circles of creative influence, and to cross artistic borders.
What is not an IAF salon?
While it is not the nature of the IAF to categorize artistic events, some gatherings do fall outside the range of what we consider a salon. Specifically, events that celebrate the art of a single person or entity rather than celebrating a community of artists are not consistent with the concept of a salon. Events that primarily involve a performance (such as a reading or concert) rather than furthering the opportunity for creative people to converse are also not considered salons.
Where should I hold a salon?
Salons may be private affairs, hosted in a private home and attended by invitation only, or they may be public, held in a venue in which all are welcome. Previous public salons have been held in bars, coffee houses, and bookstores with cafes.
Who do I contact at IAF to get support for my salon?
Write to the National Salon Events Coordinator, Larissa Niec (larissaniec [at] gmail [dot] com).
How do I find people in my area who might be interested in IAF?
The IAF exists to help you find and connect with other interstitial artists and enthusiasts. When you contact us and send us details of your plans, if your event is public we’ll get the word out to other IAF folks through our Blog, Twitter & Facebook pages. If it’s private, we’ll put out a general call for people to contact you for an invitation, if you want us to.
We’ll also provide you with posters and flyers for your community, if you wish, and brainstorm with you about more ways to find border crossing artists who may be interested in participating in a salon.
Must a salon involve a specific event or performance?
No. The primary purpose of a salon is not to celebrate the performance of a specific person. However, it can be fun and helpful to have a general focus to help stimulate conversation. Inviting a few interstitial writers to give very short readings is nice, or asking everyone in the visual arts to open their portfolios at once, or inviting musicians to play a few tunes… A recent salon in New York City chose a narrower focus, exploring the concept of book trailers as an interstitial art form.
How do I encourage people to interact at a salon?
It can sometimes be a challenge to entice a group of strangers to interact. Plan ways to facilitate the conversation. Take a moment near the opening of the salon to welcome the attendees, describe the mission of the IAF, and allow people to introduce themselves & identify their disciplines. Create a time when everyone opens their portfolios or reads a paragraph of their work. Pose questions around a specific topic and ask groups of attendees to discuss them. Offered different colored stickers for writers, artists, musicians, comix folks, etc. to identify each other.
How can I help to promote IAF with a salon (i.e., What sort of IAF materials should I have on hand)?
Salons are an excellent way to spread the word about the IAF. Be certain to take a little time to talk about the mission of IAF and some of the exciting work being done by interstitial artists through the Foundation (e.g., the Interfictions anthology series, IAF blog & website…). Pass out IAF flyers or have them accessible at the door. Collect the names and contact information of people who attend (the Salon Coordinator has a template she will send to you for this purpose).
Should there be refreshments?
It’s not absolutely necessary, but food does help bring people together! Holding your salon at a bar or cafe provides people with something to do while conversing, while reducing the work for the salon host. On the other hand, if you host a salon in a private home, you have lots of room for creativity. What would interstitial food look like? Check out the cake featured at one salon:http://www.inbytheeye.com/LisaCakes.html. (The “Interstitial” cake is 5th one down the page.)
Should I charge admission?
No! Never! We are always looking for creative ways to raise money for IAF, but we feel strongly that, like their Parisian originals, salons should be open and free, and should not even contain any hard pitches for fundraising. That said, if you as host incur expenses such as refreshments, you are welcome to submit receipts to IAF as a donation to us as a non-profit, for which you will receive a tax credit (but not reimbursement).
Can I take photos?
Yes! Please take photos to include with your brief report of the event. One or two will be posted on the IAF site so that we can let others know about your fabulous salon experience.
Where should I start if I want to hold a salon?
Write the National Salon Events Coordinator, Larissa Niec, at larissaniec [at] gmail [dot] com. We look forward to hearing from you!