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Funding integrative socially-engaged practice

Thursday January 19, 7-9 pm
Cambridge Public Library - Main Branch
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

Free and open to the public!

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Artists involved in post-studio “integrative” practice for positive social outcomes face unique questions and challenges when it comes to funding their projects and supporting themselves through their work. By nature, hybrid projects are difficult to define due to their cross-disciplinary nature and emphasis on process rather than product. Many of these artists eschew institutional support and bypass the art market--the two traditional avenues of support for most artists. Working outside existing institutions and art systems raises many new challenges including questions of metrics and assessment, authorship and creative control, financial accountability, taxation, and long term planning. Other artists choose to self-fund or to operate with little or no funding. This option offers freedom and flexibility, but can limit the scale and/or duration of a project and offers little in terms of long-term financial sustainability.

What are some other options for funding this work and supporting its practitioners? What part can crowd-funding, earned income strategies, and foundations play? What are the limitations of these approaches? What new funding models and institutions are being created or need to be created? What skills do practitioners need in order to make their projects and practices sustainable?

Please join us in exploring these questions and issues at a panel discussion featuring Cuong Hoang, Director of Programs at Mott Philanthropic, Andrew Sempere of The Awesome Foundation, and Nerissa Cooney and Alex Hage of FeastMass. The conversation will be moderated by artist Lisa Gross, founder of the Boston Tree Party and Hybrid Vigor Projects.

Click through the links below for some background reading

How microfunding is feeding the creative economy
Article from the Boston Phoenix on microfunding - highlighting Feast

Book: "The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture"
Guide to asking for money

Good-bye Philanthrocapitalism, Hello Citizen Philanthropy?
Short article on the role of money in civil society and the shifting sources of funding for social work

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change
Free PDF outlining reasons for grantmaking organizations to keep "...current with changes in the cultural sector... Regardless of its history or primary philanthropic focus, every foundation investing in the arts can make fairness and equity core principles of its grantmaking."

How To Grow” by Abigail Satinsky

Latent Learning Curriculums"
From the text: "Latent Learning Curriculums is a collection of texts, excerpts and statements found while conducting research on a project called Artiscycle. The project is an ongoing research platform exploring the working models of art groups, spaces and projects."

The Sunday Soup Network

Lisa Gross is a Brooklyn/Boston based artist who works in the field of social practice. Her cross-disciplinary projects create opportunities for learning, connection, and multi-sensory engagement. Her practice deals with questions and issues of public space, urban ecology, civic engagement, social history, and cross-cultural relations. Her work has been featured in the Art21 blog, ArtNews (forthcoming), the Boston Globe, Grist, and Radio Boston, among others. She is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences, and she was a recent presenter at TEDx Boston. Lisa received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University and has a B.A. in English from Yale University. She is the founder and director of the Boston Tree Party and Hybrid Vigor Projects.

In his role at Mott Philanthropic, Cuong Hoang helps clients design, implement, and assess their grant making, which focuses on local and national issues, including arts and culture, education, carbon emissions and climate change, and fiscal policy. Cuong previously worked at Philanthropic Advisors, where he also was director of programs. Prior to this, Cuong worked at the Hunt Alternatives Fund, the City of Boston Mayor's Office, the Boston Center for the Arts, and the South End News. Currently, Cuong serves on the board of directors of the Asian Community Development Corporation and The Theater Offensive; as a founding member of the Saffron Circle, Boston's first Asian American giving circle; and as a steering committee member of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation. He received his AB in Russian Studies and East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a certificate in Russian Politics, Economics, and Language from the St. Petersburg State Pedagogical Institute.

Alexander Hage grew up in Minnesota, can always be found on his bike, listening to soul music, and searching for the world’s best pie. Nerissa Cooney is from Massachusetts, obsessively draws mountain expanses, and as a boat captain tries to be out on the ocean as much as possible... Working for people who do audacious and inspired work in their communities, they always consider the logic, function and aesthetic of each project, and take a deeply collaborative approach to all their work. In May of 2010 Golden Arrows (Alex and Nerissa), along with a group of friends, held the first Feast Mass, which is a recurring dinner party in Boston. During the night, people present proposals for creative, community-based projects that need funding. Everyone votes, and the winner receives a grant funded entirely from the night’s ticket sales. To date Feast Mass has given out $3200, held 5 dinners, and helped fund 9 projects, choosen by the attendees.

Andrew lives and works in Boston MA, as a full time Design Researcher for IBM's Collaborative User Experience Group / Center for Social Software, an instructor and artist. He holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Masters of Science from the MIT Media Lab. Andrew is also a trustee of the Boston Awesome Foundation.

Special thanks to the Cambridge Arts Council for their help making this a community event.