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New Ideas on Financing Arts Non-Profits

  • November 18, 2013


These two articles, which we thought were worth passing on, come from the You’ve Cott Mail newsletter (which every professional artist should subscribe to).

The first article, from Philanthropy News Digest, is an interview with Rise Wilson, whose SEED grants give to arts start-ups in a different way. Wilson says the SEED grants were given to artists who “were choosing different operating models, pushing the boundaries of their medium, working in an interdisciplinary way, or in some other fashion “nurturing the new”. As any choir administrator is familiar, this flies in the face of normal grant policy, which is only to give to organizations that have already proved themselves, whose methods are tired and true. Rise associates creativity with risk-taking, saying we need “to encourage innovation, which by its nature often involves untested ideas, uncertain models, and starting from scratch”. This interview is definitely worth a thorough read.

The second article, shorter and more speculative, suggests that arts organizations might start thinking about their money in a different way. The author Andrew Taylor first reminds us of the difference between funds that go to “building” and the funds that go to “buying”, adding that making this distinction “isn’t just about semantics. It’s about solvency”. After discussing these two concepts, he proposes a third: “bolstering”, funds that go to “making the delivery of existing goods or services a bit more sane, humane, and reliable”. That sounds like something any nonprofit organization could use.

Basically, our feeling is that it’s good to see artists being as creative in the arts business as they are in the arts. New, creative ideas about arts organization should be shared, so pass these ones on, or think up some of your own!

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