Re: [MARN] Digest Number 2878
- My thoughts:
I tend to have a strong aversion to the artist's mentality that says we're
entitled to NEA funds, secretaries of the arts, and responsive business
donors. The steering committee is going to be made up of the people it's
made up of because those people have something called "the power of the
purse". Artists can ignore the economics of art all they want, but the fact
of the matter is, at the end of the day, most of the complainers need what
these people have, cash.
As long as we need their stinking money, we need to jump through their
hoops. The numbers Christine shared last night were instructive. Less than
half of the surveyed arts organizations' money comes from earned income.
Sorry, if you need rich people to give you 60% or more of what you need to
survive, then your problem isn't a lack of generosity on the donors' part,
it's a lack of independence and, dareisay, creativity on your part.
An essentially important component of my artistic ambition is to develop a
means of production that allows me to avoid dependency on any big donor
funding, public or private. I'm more interested in building new audiences,
new networks and new reasons for a lot of small people to each give small
amounts of support (usually in the form of ticket sales) to my projects. So,
as an artist, i don't really need or want anything the GMC or CA or anyone
else is offering.
I'm interested in this subject as an audeince and community member, not as
an artist. I've got to face the fact that, most art groups do need this kind
of support. There's something about America, or capitalism, or whatever that
doesn't sustain the things i value very well. This is why my ambitions as an
artist include developing post-capitalist revolutionary practices. I don't
want any of these people or these organizations to give me money or help me
do my thing, i want them to help others who are less ambitious (cuz my
ambitions are admittedly unrealistic) to exist and do their thing.
To that end, the most important thing the CA and the summit and everything
else can do is support more small arts groups and street level culture. That
means a small arts fund for non-501c3 organizations. That means a milwaukee
version of springboard for the arts. It means shared resources to help
artists develop business and marketing skills so more of us can figger out
how to do it ourselves. Most importantly, it means shaking all those people
who think the solution is to cut off the bottom third until they get a clue.
Cuz the bottom third of organizations getting funding are not even the
bottom third of organizations existing and working, and the real bottom
third are the ones who are doing the most important work, wether you're
talking about expanding our cultural horizons, creating valuable original
works, or attracting Richard Florida's creative class.
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