06 January, 2011

6 Jan - SITE Santa Fe SPREAD

LAUNCHPROJECTS - I had lunch today with Irene Hofmann, the recently appointed Director of SITE Santa Fe, to hear about SPREAD, SITE's new community-based granting initiative.
Based on the models of FEAST in Brooklyn and inCUBATE in Chicago (with other iterations in Portland and Minneapolis) SPREAD is a recurring public dinner designed to generate community-driven financial support to fund artistic innovation. At each SPREAD dinner, participants pay a sliding-scale entrance fee for which they receive dinner and a ballot. During dinner, the SPREAD audience will hear short proposals from up to eight artists for innovative and yet-to-be-realized new projects. The eight finalists will be selected by a small group of community artists, dancers, performers, filmmakers and curators. Diners will then cast their votes for their favorite project. At the end of dinner, the artist whose proposal receives the most votes will be awarded all of the funds collected at the door to realize their project. In cash (see image above).
We immediately responded to a grass-roots initiative entirely dependent upon community engagement and the concept that anyone willing to spend $15 - $50 to participate equally mattered in how the money would be awarded. The direct relationship between those providing funding and those receiving the grant creates a immediacy and transparency uncommon in the art world. Further, the more supportive the community - attendance of diners, donations of food and other goods from local businesses, financial support - the more successful each local granting cycle becomes.
Although these small grants will never replace larger granting organizations and major-donors who are indispensable to the success of the arts in our community, small amounts can add up to a lot. These micro-grants empower the community and provide an opportunity for many promising New Mexico artists to realize goals they would not otherwise have the means to achieve.

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