Q&A with Tracy Co-Founder of Main Street Pops
Q: How long have you lived in Hoboken and what makes it feel like home to you?
A: I’ve lived in Hoboken almost 30 years. I’ve always felt like Hoboken provided the best of both worlds; it’s a walkable, small city where I see someone I know every time I step outside my home, yet it’s urban in feel and so close to New York City.
Q: How or when did you get involved in the arts?
A: I’ve always been a huge lover of the arts, and as a former magazine publisher, I was involved in arts sponsorships and programs. I’m also a strong believer in the benefits of the arts in general. Aside from the entertainment value, the arts provide access to different voices and perspectives and can start meaningful conversations.
Q: Main Street Pops had planned a three-day Wild & Scenic Film Festival that was originally supposed to kick off at the Mile Square Theatre in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Then COVID hit. Can you tell us how you and your Main Street Pops partners went into action to shape-shift and support the community?
A: When the pandemic began, we realized we had to pivot and adjust to the new situation and what our community needed. So we created a virtual film festival fundraising series, with three online screening events. It provided a “virtual escape” for a few hours, with a live screening party featuring film shorts that celebrated the very things that we all had been missing—the outdoors, nature, animals, etc. Each event raised funds that addressed what we identified as the three most present needs for Hoboken. We were so thrilled that our sponsors, Natural Awakenings Hudson County, Hair Cult, Muller Insurance and GCM Homes, all supported us.
The first event, in May, focused on Feeding Hoboken and raised over $7,000 for F.L.A.G, the Hoboken Shelter and the Hoboken Community Center. During the live screening party, we also auctioned off custom Hoboken Hs that were hand-painted by local artists.
The second event, in June, combined with net proceeds of sales of “H-Relief” T-shirts from our partnership with Solid Threads, has already raised about the same amount for the Hoboken Relief Fund—and there are still shirts available, so that total should increase. The shirts feature the artists’ H designs from the first auction.
The third and final screening is on July 10 and will benefit the Mile Square Theatre. Besides the film shorts, which will be available on demand for five days, there will be a live auction of unique, socially distanced theater experiences.
Q: You are also on the board of trustees of the Mile Square Theatre. Is there anything interesting you could share with us about the theater?
A: Mile Square Theatre was founded in Hoboken in 2003, and its first event was its signature annual short play festival, 7th Inning Stretch, which continues to this day. Since its inception, MST has produced classical works of theater in open-air productions at Frank Sinatra Park, established a physical space at the Monroe Center in 2008, and in 2016 opened its state-of-the-art theater facility in North Hoboken. It has now grown to be the largest nonprofit arts organization in Hudson County and serves the region with a full season of plays along with arts education programs in theater and dance. MST produces all manner of plays: world premieres, contemporary plays, classics, and plays for young audiences.
Q: How do you think the Mile Square Theatre will proceed moving into the future post-pandemic, and is there a way the community can help keep the arts alive along the Hudson Waterfront?
A: MST plans to commission and present virtual work while the theater is shuttered during the pandemic. When things open up, the company plans more premieres and more challenging work, and to pursue diversity and inclusion goals for its administration, its community of artists and its audience. In the meantime, we really do need the community’s support buying tickets and bidding on the auction items for the July 10 event. In addition, donations of any size can help keep the doors open for the future. People can visit MileSquareTheatre.org to donate and receive more information.