Our Director of Real Estate & Community Development, Blair Benjamin, invites you to discover one of his projects, Assets for Artists, now in the midst of its first-ever crowdfunding campaign.
Â In 2007, Meri Jenkins, Program Manager for the Massachusetts Cultural Councilâ€™s Adams Arts Program, called me up to say that the MCC was looking to award some cultural economic development planning grants for the first time and she wondered if I or my colleagues at MASS MoCA had any out-of-the-box ideas for a program that might benefit from some planning funds.
We always have plenty of out-of-the-box ideas, and we have a board and director who encourage experimentation. We applied for and received a small planning grant from the MCC to explore one of these ideas we had, which led to the establishment of a program called Assets for Artists.
Youâ€™ve probably never heard of this program, and you may scratch your head and wonder why MASS MoCA is involved in providing financial and business assistance to artists whose work is not even being presented in our galleries or on our stages. But our mission is to be not only a laboratory for artistic creation but also for arts-based economic development. To that end, weâ€™re involved in lots of programming that often flies under the radar and that a typical contemporary arts center would never dream of pursuing.
So now, five years after that phone call from Meri Jenkins, weâ€™re throwing back the curtain on one of those little-known economic development projects. Assets for Artists has become an important resource for artists across Massachusetts (made possible by grants from the Adams Arts Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council), and this fall the program is expanding to Maine, Rhode Island and New York with the support of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and a variety of local partners.
You, too, can be part of this expansion by checking out our crowdfunding campaign at www.indiegogo.com/assetsforartists. Thereâ€™s a 3-minute video that tells the story nicely.
Please pitch in, share the link, and if youâ€™re an artist in any discipline, you should follow Assets for Artists on Facebook and Twitter. We know how hard it is to make a living as an artist, and weâ€™re working to make it a little bit easier.