Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No more Grants and Grandma?

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No more Grants and Grandma?
ERPA Invention Session #2
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 11:30am-1pm
Joe’s Pub

Moderated by Jonah Bokaer

Catherine Barnett, Vice President, Project Enterprise
Chris Elam, Artistic Director, Misnomer Dance Theater
Heather Rees, NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund
Esther Robinson, Filmmaker and Founder, ArtHome; former Director of Film/Video & Performing Arts for the Creative Capital Foundation

If the majority of New York's ambitious performing artists will never attain financial stability from grants and individual donations, what are some other ways we can build financial stability? What are microfinance, venture capitalism, entrepreneurship, patient capital and investment funds? What do these things mean and how can we successfully modify them to meet our singular needs? Hear from experts in these fields and learn how you can appropriate their solutions for your art-making.

Artists are entrepreneurs by our very nature. We are nimble and rigorous risk-takers. We are running businesses, asking for "investors", delivering amazing ROIs (returns on investments!), raising capital, and leveraging resources. Traditional philanthropy is often demoralizing and puts us 8 rungs down on the ladder looking up and begging. And the demand for grants and "grandma" (i.e. individual patrons) way way way outpaces the supply. So what then? Alternative models can perhaps let us be in the driver's seat or on an even playing field. Partner, engage, collaborate, demand, up the ante, know your "product", know your constituents, clarify your goals and your vision, ask for help and then offer to help another. Get to know your neighbors (to paraphrase Esther Robinson!) Make your work and make it noisy.


cookie! said...

Audio file for today's Joe's Pub Invention Session will be up soon. Stay tuned! Plus a Resource Guide with a glossary of useful terms (ROI, venture this and venture that), list of helpful orgs, and smart books to read. More soon!

alberto said...

Wanted to add a resource to the discussion. After attending this year's National Performing Arts Conference in Denver, delegates were introduced to an incredible resource called "Good to Great and
the Social Sectors" - Why Business Thinking Is Not The Answer by Jim Collins. It's an incredible resource that touches upon so many of the things raised in today's session, and I believe it would prove extraordinarily useful to our efforts to create a movement.

Liquid Lux said...

This event was extremely useful timely and relevant in tandem with so many of the corporate fiasco scenarios we are seeing out there.

Mainly, though, it remains to be seen how to bridge the gap between artists and those who we abstractly call "philanthropists"...

karma said...

great event largely due to joe's ambiance. suggestion for future event facilitators: follow a constructivist/collaboration-based structure for the event rather than the panel structure which can stifle exchange in its adherence to linear modes of engagement. also to add a resource/case study: Brian Tate's work with Marty Markowitz, diy afro-punk, spiritual forums and more--google the programming initiative with Brooklyn's Restoration Hall and collaborations with Corridor Gallery and Danny Simmons for example of innovative coalition across politics and culture.

Jennifer said...

Karma: Thanks for the feedback on facilitation models. All input is appreciated. Can you say more re. Marty Markowitz and Brian Tate? Thanks...Jennifer

cookie! said...


Raps72 said...

This is a love note to The Field and all ERPA participants:

I attended the invention session at Galapagos, the info session at the Foundation Center and just listened to the audio blog of the second invention session.

My prevailing response -- I am experiencing many -- is one of profound gratitude to The Field, the panelists, moderators, fellow attendees and especially Jennifer Wright Cook. How compassionate, inclusive and forward thinking is this ERPA initiative.

I am at a time in my life -- 10 years of creating art independently and recognizing that the models I've tried have not been successful in the ways I would like.

Synchronously with ERPA, I have begun to explore new options of let's call it "thrival" as opposed to survival. Whereas I sometimes have a tendency towards self-doubt, the ERPA initiative is inspiring me to widen my scope of vision to look at other fields for inspiration. It is also strengthening my resolve to bring my artistic sensibility to the table in order to create a full and sustainable life for myself and others. It's helping me take steps into new territiory rather than just thinking about how nice that journey might be.

I am so happy that an organization such as the Field exists to inspire, support, encourage and connect oftentimes isolated independent artists to one another and the world at large in ever new ways.

In addition to the money/grant being offered and perhaps more importantly, you have begun a forum for discussion and generation of new ideas with regard to "thrival" not only for each of us as individuals but for our community, NYC and perhaps even the world at large. It reminds us that we do have value to offer and that the world would be a dreary place without us. We do however, have to find more concrete ways of meeting the world rather than making work in our corners and hoping the world will eventually find and value us.

Again, my deepest gratitude and hats off to The Field and Jennifer!

The Field said...

Thank you so much raps! I am going to pass your comments on to the ERPA funder (and to the DCA?) so they see how much impact one project can have!!

Michael Helland said...

i finally had a chance to really listen to this audio in a home based context, and it is truly strong and powerful! bravo to JWC and Jonah and to everyone - for everyone's words and actions - and thank you to The Field