Interview With Cloud Cafe's Co-Founder Derek Schwartz

By Stephen Grigelevich for Brain Arts Org

July 11, 2020


Cloud Cafe is an immersive virtual performance series and fundraiser for artists who have lost work during the pandemic. Each event is curated by a different artist, and uses Zoom in creative ways to replicate that feeling of watching a performance in a room full of people. Right now artists need people who care about their work to rally behind them and support them. If you want to see more Cloud Cafe performances please donate below! 100% of the proceeds will go to Cloud Cafe performers and curators

Below is an interview with Cloud Cafe co-founder Derek Schwartz!

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BELOVEDS! We're back with another series of immersive live events at ⛅️cloud cafe🌥. Our third (and final!) event is curated by @veronicaroblesmariachi: LATINOS - AFRO DESCENDIENTES. This event is a series of performances and a forum to facilitate community conversations allowing artists and community members to express their feelings and concerns about current situations around systemic racism and injustice to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility to artists and communities of color. . Curated by Veronica Robles (@veronicaroblesmariachi) and featuring virtual performances by: ⚡️ Jorge Arce & Raíz de Plena ⚡️ Roberto y Gloria Cepeda ⚡️ Veronica Robles (@veronicaroblesmariachi) . 🔗Link in bio to register and learn more about the artists. . Cloud Cafe was created in the early days of COVID19 as a means of generating income for freelance artists who had lost income to the pandemic, and to build a space where people can safely experience live art in a (virtual) room full of people 💕 In times of uncertainty, we can choose spaces of radical healing, community, and joy. LINK TO DONATE TO THE ARTISTS IN BIO! All 💸💸 goes directly to the Cloud Cafe artists impacted by COVID-19 💕 . illustration by @lolydrows

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What is Cloud Cafe, and what do you want people to know and appreciate about Cloud Cafe?

Cloud Café is a virtual performance series, with an emphasis on interactive performances that replicates the feeling of being in a room full of people. Each performance is curated by a different artist, and the artists and curators have complete creative control to do what they will with the platform. All of our performances are streamed on Zoom and Youtube, and we ask the artists to think of these platforms as instruments to be used in creative ways. We invite artists to experiment and play with the boundaries of virtual performance.

The project was created in March to support artists who had lost work during the pandemic. 100% of the money we raise is given to the artists and curators. As the situation stretches on, we are hoping to grow to offer more sustained support to the artists we work with, and to help folks co-strategize ways of making a living from their work in this new landscape.

What is Cloud Cafe trying to give audiences with this July series?

We are hoping to offer something surprising and unpredictable! Part of the appeal of having different curators create each performance is that you could tune in three weeks in a row and have three completely different experiences.

A blessing and a curse of experiencing art in virtual space is that there are so many performances happening on any given night that it is easy to stay in your comfort zone and consume the work of the artists you already know and love. I think that’s great, but want to build a space where people can tune in without knowing exactly what to expect.

I feel beyond lucky to be working with Shey Rivera Ríos, Dzidzor, and Veronica Robles, who are curating the three July shows. All three of them are amazing artists, and are coming in with elaborate and unique visions for their events.

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Introducing the artists performing this upcoming Sunday⚡️⚡️POETRA ASANTEWA (@poetraasantewa) ⚡️⚡️Poetra Asantewa is a sensational balance of poetry, music, intellect and wit. Multifaceted in her practice, Asantewa fuses her poetry, music and design skill to subvert the mainstream role of artists as entertainers only – by being unapologetic and unwavering in using her voice to question things more, observe things closely, explore and appreciate, all the while being entertaining and being good at it. . Catch Poetra and other artists on Sunday July 12, 2020 @ 6PM ET. Link in bio to register and learn more about the artists . THE FULL SPECTRUM OF FREEDOM: AN ACT OF WORSHIP is curated by Dzidzor (@dzidzorazaglo) and featuring virtual performances by: ⛈ Eli Fola (@eli.fola) ⛈ Poetra Asantewa (@poetraasantewa) . Cloud Cafe was created in the early days of COVID19 as a means of generating income for freelance artists who had lost income to the pandemic, and to build a space where people can safely experience live art in a (virtual) room full of people 💕 In times of uncertainty, we can choose spaces of radical healing, community, and joy. LINK TO DONATE TO THE ARTISTS IN BIO! All 💸💸 goes directly to the Cloud Cafe artists impacted by COVID-19 💕 . graphic by @lolydrows

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How can people find out more and get more involved?

You can learn about the artists, curators, and lineups on our website, www.cloudcafearts.com. You can also follow us on Instagram: @cloudcafearts.


Check out Cloud Cafe's schedule of performances this July, as well as the rad artists and curators putting on the shows!

7/12 performance

(curator and performer) Dzidzor @dzidzorazaglo

Eli Fola @eli.fola

Poetra Asentewa @poetra_asantewa

7/19 performance

(curator) Veronica Robles @veronicaroblesmariachi

Jorge Arce

Roberto y Gloria Cepeda