A Letter From Our Founder: Todd Brown


Dear friends of the Poppy,


In 2013, the Red Poppy will celebrate it’s 10 year anniversary! However, before we get there, I want to share a thought:

The Red Poppy Art House does not really exist.

What does exist is a room within a building on the corner of Folsom Street and 23rd Street in San Francisco. The room has a closet, a bathroom, and a not-so-entirely-random assortment of things, such as speakers, chairs, sound equipment, etc. This room is owned by a landlord, Curt Cournale, who nearly no one we know has ever met.

Within this room, however, an infinite array of unique exchanges, relationships, and experiences between people transpire. These interactions are in constant flux as the room itself shifts day by day, transitioning from a living room to a listening room for concert performances, a space for dance, poetry, and visual art, and then to become a dining room for a convening of artists, volunteers, and others from our community. It is a diligent room, and a vessel of dreams. But the room was there long before the words “Red Poppy Art House” were put together, and the room will likely be there long after the Poppy is gone. So what is the Red Poppy Art House, and does it exist, or are we just making it up?

I am asking these questions because this is the time of year when ‘organizations” ask for money. However, I’m trying to avoid the word “organization,” because an organization sounds like a thing, like a solid entity that exists and has its own reality apart from us. I don’t want you to think of the Red Poppy as a thing that independently exists, because then you’ll likely assume that it will keep on existing. Instead, I want you to see the fleeting and fickle nature of what it is, and what it means, to facilitate experiences between people, to organize the pieces together into a whole. I want you to see how people gather and disperse, how moments are had and then are lost, and how an experience such as the Red Poppy Art House exists because people create it with their dreaming power, and when this quality of dream succeeds we discover the magic of the moment and the work – the artistry of it all.

At the Red Poppy Art House we endeavor to steward multiple processes involved in creating a living experience made of artists, administrators, volunteers and supporters that see beyond the traditional scope of an arts organization. This is why I don’t ‘ask’ you to ‘donate’ to an ‘organization’ called the Red Poppy Art House. Rather, I am asking that you give to this living experience that we are striving to bring to fruition. Your direct financial support will make a dramatic difference in empowering us to stay focused on this objective, and not be overly consumed with fundraising and economic need.

For 2013, in addition to our international performance program, our family art activities, and involvement with the Mission Arts & Performance Project (MAPP), we are initiating a new Artist Fellowship Program that will serve to make our little room on Folsom Street a workspace and launch pad for projects that are aligned with a vision of art as a catalyst of social transformation and vital discourse for society.

To make a contribution, please follow this link to our fiscal sponsor, Intersection for the Arts. Where it says “Direct your donation,” make sure to scroll down and select Red Poppy Art House as the project to receive your contribution.

On the behalf of all of us that make the Red Poppy experience happen, I want to thank you.

Wishing you happy holidays and many adventures and discoveries in the New Year to come!

Todd Thomas Brown
Founding Artist of the Red Poppy Art House of San Francisco