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A New United States of the Arts

— Here’s an idea whose time has come  —

In the Soul Shelter spirit of creative commitment and entrepreneurship, my new book project has carried me into the realm of “micro-philanthropy.” How did that happen?  Long story short, it started with …

A Predicament (or: Necessity is the Mother of Invention)

It’s widely known in the creative community that trends in art funding haven’t exactly arced upward over the last thirty years. And now we see near consensus among forecasts in the philanthropic sector, which show public funding like the National Endowment for the Arts all but disappearing before long.

Clearly we need …

A Vision (or: How I Got Hooked)

Last month I got an invitation to join a leading arts organization known as United States Artists, which bestows $50,000 fellowships on creative practitioners every year. Attending a reception here in Portland to learn more, I found the folks at US Artists coolly, unflappably acknowledging the fact that “historically, public support for the arts and artists is unstable and unreliable.” Cool and unflappable, perhaps, because with the launch of an innovative new Web site US Artists has pioneered an effective way to keep its mission alive in the long run, and to:

  • “Foster direct connections between artists and the public”
  • “Catalyze new funding for artists”
  • “Bring creative projects to life”
  • “Build community around the most accomplished artists in America”

The vision behind this Web site entranced me immediately. I and my fellow arts supporters will fight to keep civic backing of the arts however we can. But leveraging the power of social media and the hands-on format of micro-finance to support artists on a project-by-project, tax-deductible basis — well, that’s an idea whose time has come! Let’s call it Democratic Patronage. Which brings me to…

My Project (or: A Writer Makes a Video in Order to Make a Book)

Now in its funding stage at United States Artists, Date of Disappearance, a collection of ten short stories, will appear in illustrated limited edition, hand-numbered and signed, and will be sold exclusively through independent booksellers. (It will also launch a micro-press.)

As far as I can tell, mine is one of the first fiction projects to be featured, and I’m awfully excited to be a part of the USA community. If you’d like to help launch Date of Disappearance by reserving a copy or simply making a pledge, you can learn more in the following video.

Or click over to US Artists to get a first-hand experience of this brilliant new chapter in arts funding, where 200-odd projects (in all artistic disciplines) are currently in development.

You can also help with my project by spreading the word far and wide. Blog it, Facebook it, Share it, Like it, Tweet, link, or embed my video. You’ll have my deepest gratitude, eventually you’ll have a sumptuous, collectible book to enjoy, and you’ll have supported the arts. All longtime Soul Shelter readers know the significance of that!

You might also enjoy:

You Don’t Have to Be an Insider

Do We Need a Cultural Bill of Rights?

Why It’s Desirable to Be Eccentric

Jump-Start Your Career With a Personal Business Model

Two Books to Galvanize Creativity

Beautiful, Soul-Affirming Untruths

2 Comments to A New United States of the Arts

On Sep 23, 2011, Tim commented:

The time has come indeed! Just pledged my 25 :-)

Looking forward to the new book!

On Sep 23, 2011, Mark commented:

Wow, thanks Tim! And a matching grant has just kicked in, so thanks to your generous support my project is now fifty dollars closer to its funding goal! Can’t wait to supply you a finished copy. With gratitude, ~Mark

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