April 08, 2010

$1000 Travel Grant For A Bay Area Artist

I’ve been thinking about Renny Pritikin’s post from February about artists leaving (or not), in relation to the inadequate travel funding available to artists in the US. Unlike most first-world countries we don’t have a cultural agency at the state or federal level that funds artists’ travel. I have an untested theory that if Bay Area artists had support for mobility that they would be more likely to stay. While the last sentence may sound counter-intuitive, I think one reason artists leave is the relative isolation of the Bay Area in relation to the art centers. More to the point, It appears that most of the artists who have stayed are those who have been able to develop projects and find exhibition opportunities outside of the Bay Area.

In 2007, as part of the Collective Foundation exhibition at YBCA, I produced three alternative approaches to grant-making that didn’t involve non-profit fundraising nor selling artworks. This third option involved identifying surplus and transforming it into funding. In one of the three grants, CF utilized the surplus of a standard web-hosting account by sub-hosting the websites of 5 artists on the CF server. Then, instead of paying a yearly fee of $100 to an internet service company, they paid $100 into a fund that became a $500 grant. The first grant of this kind was awarded to artist Amy Balkin in the Spring of 2007.

As the final Collective Foundation offering, we’re co-organizing a travel grant in partnership with the Present Group who have developed a substantial web-hosting package* for artists. The five artists who continue to be hosted on the Collective Foundation server have each contributed $100 to the fund for a total of $500. These funds will be matched by the Present Group, who will contribute a portion of the funds received by the first 20 individuals who sign-up for a new hosting account (they will also be invited to nominate). All of the artists nominated will be invited to submit a few sentences about where they’d like to go and why. Results and details of the jury process will be posted here.

* The Present Group will continue to award an artists’ grant each year using the surplus from the hosting fees. Each hostee will have an opportunity to vote during the granting process.

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