Thursday, November 09, 2006

Conversations... with Dick Zigun

J. Dee Hill, a journalist and author of Freaks & Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus recently spoke with CIUSA's Dick Zigun as part of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
Zigun, who is a 1985 NYFA Artists’ Fellowship winner in the category of Playwriting/Screenwriting, talks about his involvement with the sideshows and briefly mentions the current issues around Coney's changes.

Zigun: "Real estate in Coney Island has taken off over the last few years, tripled in price. Half the property has changed hands. And I’ve got a big smile on my face because the New York City leadership has put money in the city budget for us to buy real estate so we can go from being renters to being owners. We’re deliberately expanding our board, expanding our staff. We’re doubling the size of our budget. There is a plan to institutionalize the programs, so that the things I and other people have set in motion will outlive us. It’s satisfying to know that despite the neighborhood changes and the demographic changes we will really create something here to perpetuate certain art forms. New York is the cultural capital of the world, and if you are going to seriously make a national statement about American popular culture, Coney Island oddly enough turned out to be a smart place to base it. It works here, it belongs here, the history is here."

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