“…strong artist communities make cities and regions more livable – increasing neighborhood attractiveness and property values, strengthening the local tax base, occupying underutilized properties, promoting neighborhood security through round-the-clock activity, and engaging more residents in the arts. But smart communities don’t just wait for artists to arrive: they need to proactively create local support structures to help artists succeed.”
That’s the core sentiment of a consortium application we just submitted to the National Endowment for the Arts, seeking funds to help scale up the Assets for Artists matched savings program into a diverse range of communities across the country. We feel we’ve put together a model and an infrastructure that other communities (and their artists) can benefit from. Fingers crossed that the NEA’s review panel agrees.
So that means we’re officially looking for local and regional partners that would like to invest in the expansion of Assets for Artists to their community. We have a nice roster of communities that have already expressed interest, and availability will be limited, but for now the door is open to others.
Local partners need to bring resources to the table — both cash (to help match our funding), and some capacity to deliver/coordinate small business training for artists — but partners don’t have to invest in the expertise that would be necessary to build a matched savings program from scratch. In that way, we offer an excellent value proposition. And we have some strategies for securing the local match that might allow communities to tap resources they haven’t previously used in support of artist-entrepreneurs.
If you’re part of a U.S. organization that works to develop the capacity of artists, and if your community is home to a significant number of artists in all disciplines, feel free to get in touch to learn more. Email Blair Benjamin: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have from now until April 2012 to identify community partners and work with them to secure the necessary local/regional funds.