Long time no write. The short excuse is that life caught up with me for a while.
Picking up where I left off, however, the “Assets for Artists” idea has evolved into a significant project with a number of partners. Yesterday we submitted an application to the Massachusetts Cultural Council proposing 20 individual development accounts for artists/creatives in Berkshire County, along with financial education, home ownership counseling, and small business training that could reach a somewhat larger audience of artists in the county. We also proposed a small pool of funds for microloans to Berkshire County artists (perhaps 15 loans over 2 years), along with a larger state-wide pool of funds for microloans to immigrant and refugee artists (perhaps 40 loans over 2 years), with the statewide loan pool being managed by the International Institute of Boston (an experienced microlender). The Berkshire County activities would be managed collaboratively by the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, MASS MoCA, and the Office of Cultural Development in Pittsfield, working with experts at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, local financial institutions, and a variety of arts organizations in different disciplines.
Overall, we feel like we wrote a nice proposal bringing together a lot of organizational strengths and an impressive planning process, but the Massachusetts Cultural Council has not funded a project quite like this in the past, so it’s hard to know how the panel will respond.
Fingers crossed. We’ll probably hear in January.