Amy Virginia Buchanan is all over the place, and she likes it that way. She’s a performer, a writer, a musician, a creator, and a damn good younger sister. She’s thriving in New York as the artistic director of the Spring Street Social Society. Amy is a shining example to those who dream of moving to the big city and making it, or really, any creative person who wants to make a living off their passion. Amy is a testament to the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice your joy for your job. Amy Buchanan passionate artist who is making it, and so can you.
Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Amy’s childhood was filled with pets, wading in creeks, cattle, small town gossip -- that kind of thing. As a child, Amy never steered away from her passion of Theater. Many children will stop, or be stopped before they even start down the career path of a performer. The excuses include: it’s a tough business, it’s not sustainable, or there is not future in it. With no excuses, Amy took her passion to The University of Kansas where she studied Theater, with a bit of linguistic anthropology thrown into the mix. She continued on to study physical theatre and clowning at Dell'Arte International, in Northern California. For those considering perusing your dream here’s the first step -- Do not stop before you start. Don’t give up because of the multitude of excuses that exist, or because of an unclear path. Go for it.
Photo: Second Glance Photography
Next step – Give it all you’ve got.
Taking her passion to New York City in 2011, Amy gave all she had to her art. While easy in theory, in practice many artists find themselves sacrificing their time for money, or find themselves in jobs that don’t allow for the pursuit of artistic endeavors. Regarding her jobs Amy stresses the importance of landing the right ones, with ample support and room to be creative, “I am lucky. I have liked the jobs that I have worked while in New York. They have always provided opportunity for me to explore my art from within and I consistently have coworkers and regulars that believe in me and support me. I've found family wherever I've gone and that is so valuable.” Amy has found that family as a performer, producer, and director at numerous New York theaters and events. Her most recent project involves crating variety shows, cabarets, dinners, movie nights, and other creative events in unique New York City spaces. It’s called Spring Street Social Society, and Amy is the artistic director in partnership with Patrick Janelle. Amy met Patrick by chance. But it was a chance that Amy created, and a key step for anyone who wants to succeed in pursuit of their dream.
Photo: Matt Novak
Step three – Create and take chances
Through the network Amy created up at her various Jobs, Amy was able to meet Patrick. While at a backyard birthday party in Brooklyn, Amy took a chance on collaboration. Through a friend she was introduced to Patrick “…because we're both creative people and [my friend] figured a designer would get along with a clown. And three weeks after we met we put up a cabaret in Patrick's backyard on Spring Street.” Since that first event Spring Street Social Society is now an expanding business, growing in members, events, and performances. It is also a space for Amy to develop the plethora of ideas bouncing around in her head. Amy’s creativity is not one track, and another reason why she is successful.
Step 4 – Stay creative, across the board.
Amy is by no means, a one trick pony. She stays fresh by simultaneously following her multifaceted, multi-genre ideas. She writes songs on the ukulele to sing at Spring Street’s events, she’s writing a solo show with a group called Fresh Ground Pepper, and she’s at Restoration Sound recording her fist full album entitled “I'll Sing You Songs When You Aren't Around: A collection of cowgirl songs and all things nautical.” The key to succeeding is by staying creative across the board. Each project draws from and influences one another. Staying creative across the board helps you to grow, and not stagnate, in your career.
Photo: Matt Novak
Amy’s performance career is rolling and has no sign of slowing down. Amy chose performance as her vehicle to creativity, but it doesn't have to be. Any artist, weather it be writer, designer, photographer, chef or the like can use Amy as an example of how to dedicate your life to your work, successfully. For those considering casing your dream, I say go for it. Remember the steps:
- Don’t stop before you start
- Give it all you’ve got
- Create and take chances
- Stay creative, across the board
Take Amy Virginia Buchanan for example. She’s been chasing her dreams since her humble debut role in Community Theater as a dog, named Salsa, in a show all about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. She can make it, and so can you.
Read more about Amy and Spring Street Social Society here.
Title Photo: Matt Novak