Sliding through Before and After

Most of us love a good before and after. Whether it's the guilty pleasure of a home makeover show, or laughing along to those embarrassing collages of "Can you believe what their hair used to look like?!" celebrity high school photos, there's some simple satisfaction in seeing progress.

Joe Patti (arts blogger, Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University, and self-described Creating Connection champion) recently asked fellow performing arts presenters whether they've used that same before/after appeal to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of their productions.

He asks in the context of those easy-to-use image sliders -- the ones that are often used by major news outlets to show changes to physical landscapes, but were also employed by the Globe and Mail to show the on and off-stage personalities of the cast of a high school production of Les Misérables.  

The idea could be expanded within and beyond the performing arts, of course:

  • What do our stages look like before, during, and after set construction?
  • What does the cast of the opera look like before their elaborate costumes and make up?
  • What do our galleries look like when they're empty, or during installation?

How can we show our spaces, our artists, and our curators in their everyday light and in so doing, perhaps soften the perception that they're always formal or distant or somehow not like us?