by Joanna Chin, Program Coordinator, Animating Democracy
According to the recently released National Arts Index, one third of arts groups are not making their budget.
The downturn in the economy, combined with the Index’s clear results, has shown that when giving dries up, an alarming number of arts groups are slowly pulled into financial starvation. This unsurprising revelation, now rooted in the Index’s data, leaves the field in an interesting predicament: Do we beg for more money to support a clearly failing subsidy model? Do we follow the suggestions of others who say to let financially weak nonprofits die?
A Darwinist at heart, I was happy to stumble upon an article in Next American City revealing that perhaps a more optimistic alternative exists: adapt and survive. We, as artists, pride ourselves on being creative but, as business people, still cling to old paradigms of audience engagement or follow a step behind widely popular trends (e.g., social networking).
However, organizations such as FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) in Brooklyn, NY, and Sunday Soup (a program of InCUBATE) in Chicago, illustrate the possibility of breaking away from government/funder aid with their innovative application of community-supported arts grantmaking. Read the rest of this entry »