[-empyre-] thoughts on funding

Kathy wrote somwhere:

" we failed to raise significant exhibition funds to enable the show to
travel and to create a catalogue (comments from various funding agencies
were mainly along the lines that they could not see the reason to put
virtual work in a physical space, and that the  'art' was not significant

Folly has also hit the problem of raising funds for promoting work which the
arts funders may not necessarily identify with, or see the value in placing
in a gallery space. I will comment on online v gallery perspectives

This is kind of ironic, given that much language is often used in funding
guidelines about attracting new audiences and challenging conceptions about
the nature of art in the gallery space.

Most organisations like Folly and the Cornerhouse find that a large part of
our annual financial spend has little to do with any artistic programming
and I think this is behind funders? attitudes to seeing online works in the
gallery space. See also comments in technical issues posting.

The attraction of online work is that it carries with it little financial
overheads. Whereas a physical gallery space absorb a good percentage of the
annual Arts Council pot despite attempts by all and sundry to diversify and
bring in alternative income streams.

Thus the logic would be for expensive gallery spaces to be used to promote
work that would otherwise not be seen (online works clearly fall outside
such a definition in that they are ultimately available to a worldwide

I don?t subscribe to this logic, but we need to appreciate it?s impact.

I feel we also need to continue to be bold and creative in our approach to
this. Folly exists on miniscule budgets and yet huge chunks of financial
support are around to enable investment in large-scale projects.

Often this creative approach to funding may mean dropping the importance of
traditional attitudes to placing work in a gallery space, with the gallery
experience being something that is slipped in by the institution rather than
a key element of funding? There are lots of projects around the UK that
typify this.

Links with under privileged communities, commerce, academic institutions,
having educational value are often the ways through which funding can be
accessed ? and also keys to getting 3D content acknowledged. But this is all
hard work to deliver and often draws project managers away from curatorial

I fundamentally agree with Kathy?s comments about paying artists etc. and
thus bringing a professionalism to the genre. There is evidence of this
happening with 3D already, Michael Atavar has been successful in this area,
and often it is the artist making these demands that help move this forward.

But we do nevertheless end up trying to get everything done on the cheap, in
the hope that as time progresses more finance will come to be available. For
example we are currently running a film and new media festival with less
arts finance than would be required to set up a domestic level digital video
editing suite It is a difficult line to tread.

So no conclusions drawn here, just some perspectives to extend the
discussion ? I would be interested to hear comments on other funding regimes
e.g. academic funding ? or how artists feel about this funding / curatorial


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