So you want to make radical work about radiation waste, for example, and whilst you write grant applications, you also want to build interest around the work, and avoid reliance on ‘committees’ effectively giving you permission to make the work by waiting for a grant to be approved. You are an artist first and fund-raising is a task, not an occupation.
Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andrée Laramée – United States Artists – Great art forms here.
This is the second really interesting project which a US-based artist has brought to my attention through the crowd-source fund-raising mechanism of UnitedStatesArtists (the other one was Suzanne Lacy’s The Performing Archive). These are projects where the support is in the form of publicity, and sometimes match-funding. (UnitedStatesArtists also offer Fellowships to selected artists.) I suspect that to benefit from this site you still have to apply and in this case the money comes from your own list of contacts.
The UnitedStatesArtists web site says a few of interesting things,
All donations simultaneously support artists’ projects and the nonprofit mission of USA. The site is built on a joint fundraising model: 81% of every dollar pledged goes directly to the artist’s project, and 19% supports USA’s programs for artists and the site’s administration.
But it also says,
United States Artists has created a structure to identify America’s finest artists and to grant money to them in an efficient manner. Thanks to the generosity of its founders, USA’s operating expenses are fully funded for the next five years. This means 100% of donor contributions are directed to the artists we support.
It also says,
Our horizon line is not three, five, or 25 years, but rather 100 years and beyond. We are building a program that is privately funded, prestigious, and permanently endowed.
And it says,
Historically, public support for the arts and artists is unstable and unreliable; therefore USA will accept only private contributions.
And it doesn’t say,
by ‘private’ they mean individuals and corporations (so it is clear that Ford is a major contributor, but the other corporations are not clear. Corporations should be explicit and some ethical limitations should be set).
Eve’s project is excellent and you really ought to support it: even $25 makes a difference.
No fund-raising is without hard work. This is another approach to the problem. It does make it more personal rather than remote and bureaucratic. I do want this project to happen, and I did want Suzanne Lacy’s to happen, so I did contribute. Art may belong to a ‘gift’ culture, but where does the gift come from?