Our first episode premiered on the music blog The Vinyl District! Check out their site for an interview with our founders.
The Broken Dreams Project is a dynamically evolving art project that takes the form of an ongoing collaborative video series combining visual art and live music performance.
Our mission is simple: we are dedicated to fostering a thriving artistic culture. Our first focus is on bringing awareness to issues that affect artists, namely the lack of youth arts education and the lack of support for practicing artists, and our second focus is to direct fundraising initiatives to raise money for nonprofits that are fighting these issues in their communities.
Each episode follows this format: First we choose a musician to work with. Then our founder and host Jenni O’Shea creates a custom painting for them on a musical instrument. We interview the musician and film a short live set with them playing the painted instrument. At the end, they destroy the instrument. We then take the broken pieces and turn them into a new piece of visual art that we auction off with all proceeds going to a non-profit that we choose with the musician that supports the arts in the musician’s local community.
Hold on one second. Destroy it? Why would we take a perfectly good instrument, take the time to create a beautiful painting on it, and then smash it to pieces? Let me be clear: we are not destroying these instruments for fun. We are creating a visual metaphor for the kind of existential loss and destruction that occurs when we do not support a thriving artistic culture.
How do we visualize and experience the loss of potential creation when there is no physical artifact created by its lack? How do we view the absence of a dream that never even had a chance to be dreamt? How do we artistically represent the terrible impact that an absence of creative exploration has on a child? These were the questions that visual artist Jenni O’Shea and her musician/filmmaker husband Michael O’Shea asked themselves and sought to answer by starting The Broken Dreams Project.
A dream is broken every time a struggling artist gives up pursuing their craft because they can’t afford it, a child grows up without an understanding of how to even appreciate art because they were hardly exposed to it, or a child doesn’t have their artistic talent nurtured and grows up with no creative outlet because arts education funding was cut from their school. This is the destruction that leaves no trace, other than a world that is emptier for not having their art in it. That is the invisible loss that we are visually representing by destroying these instruments.
We believe that creativity is what is sacred. Not wood glued together with strings on it. Not globs of pigment on a canvas. And there is nothing more sacrilegious than not supporting people who want to express themselves creatively. If destroying instruments can shock people into paying more attention to what is lost when we do not support the arts, then it is a worthy sacrifice.