Meet the Member: Silent Soapbox

Silent Soapbox

Ashley Arnold & Tara Smith, Silent Soapbox

Silent Soapbox offers Living Statuary & Performance Art privately, for special events, and publicly at various street performance locations and festivals.


Tell us a bit about you and what you do? 

Silent Soapbox creates living statuary & performance art. You may be asking what that is! We use our physical bodies as the primary canvas to create live art for special events and festivals. You can find us performing at public events such as WaterFire in Providence (RI), in Salem (MA) during Halloween season, stART on the Street in Worcester (MA), and many others. We are also available for private hire and commissions/collaborations.

What part of your job would you consider creative, and why do you enjoy that part of what you do?

Nearly everything we do falls under the umbrella of "creative," from making new costumes, makeup development, accessory painting, promotional graphic design, wig styling, to the actual performance aspect. Believe us, people don't often choose "statuing" as a profession unless they deeply enjoy it, as it involves standing in one place for upwards of 2-5 hours and moving very slowly. We enjoy the precision, craftsmanship, detail, and interaction with our fans.

How does your creative work contribute to the growth and stability of the Creative Economy?

Our presence at events encourages participation by patrons at a low cost investment (we solicit dollar contributions for photos/interactions when we are not paid private rates). Festival organizers typically enjoy having -- silent! -- performers like us who take up a small footprint but can draw a large crowd, who then disperse and look at other vendors as well.

What’s your favorite part of running/managing a local business? (References to how this ties in to your specific community are even better).

We are a unique service/art form which typically takes people by surprise. Though they are sometimes familiar with what we do ("I've seen that in Europe before!") they are nonetheless impressed and want to know more. That never gets old for us, as we love to hear more about why our art may be of value to someone on a personal level. It's even better if they have seen *us* perform before, and can tell us what they love about seeing the performance.

What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?

There are many aspects of what we do that surprise people, but many of the business pieces catch people off guard. For example, although we are now an LLC (only after 8+ years of one of the owners performing independently), we are often performing on the street and at various festivals totally uncompensated (and sometimes we must pay first for licensing). Our urns are out for the public to compensate us in exchange for the photos and entertainment they are receiving. It is the only way we can sustain what we do.

However, if we are being hired for our private rates, our urns will *not* be out unless we are soliciting charity donations on behalf of an outside entity.


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