This past summer brought a ton of progress thanks to all the help I had from paid studio assistants and volunteers. It was a big leap forward for my studio practice to have others assist in fabricating my sculpture-- a leap that required me to get my head around the idea of not doing everything myself, and to up my funding game so that I could afford to make it happen.
One ingredient that made a lot of this possible was an Audience Engagement Grant from SV Creates, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that seeks to raise the value and visibility of the creative sector and increase access to arts and creativity. My InTouch project worked out to be a good fit with their goal to support special projects that strategically broaden or deepen connections and relationships with audiences. With InTouch I’m trying to create connections between people through my unique form of touchable art-- both in the making phase and when it is ultimately on display. But, of course, that takes money-- there are definitely costs associated with creating big museum shows-- go figure!
No one ever wants to talk about funding, and there are so many complicated and unhealthy beliefs out there about artmaking and money. You know, the idea of the Starving Artist who lives off passion (and lovers/handouts), the "I'll benevolently trade your original art/writing/music for 'Exposure' because we don't actually pay for content" racket, and so many 'pay to play' gallery situations both online and brick-and-mortar. Plus, there's the sense that if you do sell your work you’re ‘selling out’. Well, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most people realize that materials, tools, and workspace cost money. So, how am I funding this whole thing?
To make InTouch happen, I’ve been raising funds in several ways. Grants are just a piece of the puzzle. There are very few grants available for individual artists, and they are extremely competitive. Most of my support so far has come from individual donors and sales of my artwork. Over the past two years I’ve put over 200 hours into raising half of the budget for this project; I’m looking for some help to raise the remaining $25K so I can be working in the studio as much as I need. Would you or someone in your network be great at connecting this project with individuals, companies, and foundations that would love to support it? I’m all ears…