Networking & Funding We make an art out of starvation.
Recently, I met with my new contact whom I met through Hector at the Dia de Muertos event. When I had turned in my artist statement in regards to my offrenda, I was afraid that it was too long and wordy and that I was just making more work for. She politely mentioned that she used to be an editor and it was no problem for her to tweak it but that she’d double check with me to make sure that she edited down to while getting the gist of what I had wanted to say. I decided to wait until after the Dia de Muertos Ohio event to ask for, gulp, advice for a starving new(ish) Cleveland artist to promote myself, my work and possibly get funding or sponsors for my work.
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Simply put I feel like we are somehow taught at a very young age that you must figure it out yourself. Help is for the weak...
I was introduced to her friend, she had lots to say! I sat somewhat nervously as my contact took her fur babe with her down the elevator to meet her friend at the door of her old factory-style building. When they arrived (and the pupper Miss Jelly Bean) we enjoyed some tea made for us, while they sat on the floor and I in a chair because of my back problems. Her friend did not mess around, she wanted to know at first how much I needed to raise and how much time I had to raise it in. Being that I needed about $2,000 and at this point had less than 10 days to do so, we decided that it was as I had previously thought too late to meet that deadline.
With this knowledge in mind, I was totally and completely ready to hear what she could tell me for any ventures I had in the future.
The first thing was to get the basics out of the way. Grant funds are not legally allowed to be disbursed directly to an individual. An artist must align themselves with an organization that has a public benefit. She explained to me that when a person gives money to an organization the organization basically invests that money. IRS based investments are required to give a certain amount back to the community.
Behind the Curtain (2017)
Artist: Martin Whatson
Screen Print On Paper
When grant writing one must think of the needs of the grant board. They will be interested in knowing about “What is the need?”, “What needs to be done”, and “What is the anticipated result?”. It must be measurable and achievable. Similar to the SMART technique used to hone in on specific goals and individual might want to reach over a certain time frame.
Sometimes it may feel like begging but realistically it's advocating for yourself. If you are doing work that you believe in you must be willing to advocate for it. Money is a necessity. From art supplies, food, bills and what about all those business cards you keep buying and handing out endlessly? Seriously I sometimes think they are in the same vortex as all our lost socks...
You know, at one point in time buying art was considered a way of investing ones funds. You by the art a starving artist to help support them by both putting food on their table but by also making them feel validated. Sure you can hand an artist a wad of money, and I bet they wouldn’t say no, but you buy their art you are telling them that you believe in them. That belief is what keeps them going. It gets them up to go over to their work table, easel, loom or what have you and keeps going despite sleeping on the floor, not living in the best part of town, drinking coffee for warmth, or having a family that doesn’t believe in art.
Yet there may be hope on the horizon. “Millennials are twice as likely as any other age group to view art as a financial asset, with 32% of respondents viewing art as a safe investment in volatile markets, and 35% saying they enjoy being part of the art world.” (source) Bank of America even has a department that deals in Art Collecting, lending, the state of the current art market and the like. (source) Despite this I have yet to reap the rewards of these philanthropic Millennials. I’m just at the early end of the Millennial boom having been born in ‘86 the same year the Challenger blew up. I bet you most Millennials do not know that ;-). I must admit it’s crazy to see the opposite ends of my generation. Some are in their early 20’s running successful businesses and others are in their 40’s and every time you see them they are struggling. I suppose that may be every generation but I can only see what I see from where I stand.
Gone are the days of real art patronage. In the times of the Ninja Turtles, that is Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello, it was a sign of your prestige and sophistication to have art on your walls. The family of bankers the Medici’s were Italy’s most art loving family and are responsible for helping some of the most famous artists grow. Of course that was a time when everything was adorned from ceilings to topiaries. It is argued that one single invention killed art; the camera. Once people no longer needed portraits painted by the hand of a talented visionary so that their was a record of their likeness for further generations to gaze upon, painting slowly began to fall in the shadows. This perhaps, maybe another blog for another day.
I was invited by both friends to stop by the following for the CAN Journals Winter edition launch party and Closing of “Folk Garden” at Zygote Press (November 22 / 6pm – 8pm). That brings me to the next step which I do try to do, but without my own transport or some arm candy I tend to shy away from public events even when there are good opportunities for networking. Networking is this thing people do when they want to meet other people in similar circles so that they can expand their social and/or business circle.
I was asked about Giving Tuesday but I had to look that up when I got home.
Giving Tuesday is a movement that attempts to raise money for many different organizations across the country such as the CAN Journal, CMA, and Art House. This year it falls on December 3rd.
Shameless (I think?) plug begins here:
I was awarded a residency a few months ago and I have been trying to raise funds to help me make it to France to spend a month on my art, hence trying to find funding in the local area. I am hoping that my Facebook and GoFundMe campaigns will help make it easier for my patrons to support my art this Giving Tuesday.
A residency at Chateau d’Orquevaux will shape my life as well as the lives of other artists and its impact is felt on both Facebook and Instagram.
This residency is going to give me a growing confidence in my work and self expression and hopefully aid a budding niche of art collectors who sees how residency programs and education/experience abroad impacts artistic growth that will be unleashed when the artist returns to their native habitat.
I’m hoping to raise $2,000- $3,000 to provide myself with a once-in-a-lifetime European art emerson that will will be instilled with me for the rest of my life. This will help me to impart my experiences with kids and adults in future education programs.
For more information, including how to donate to my campaign, click here.
To be continued I’m sure….
~ Starving from 716-216
If you are reading this then you should consider giving to Art House who has brought you this publication as well as many arts events and workshops every year!
“We can only offer so many programs to schools and families to come and work with our artist. If YOU donate today that money will go towards our CMSD schools having access to more diverse programming such as pottery, murals and other awesome projects! “