Sunday, September 2, 2007

more lotto plans

in the past week, i have imagined yet more ways to use the money in my imagined lottery win. the first idea came to me while i was in one of the locally-owned bookstores. i saw many books, trinkets, and puzzles that could only be sold here, not at chains or even amazon. we are lucky enough in austin to have many independent bookstores. these stores encourage local art and community building. yet they are always in danger. i think the stores in austin are doing okay, partly due to the "shop locally" campaign of austin. but it made me think, if i won the lotto, i should try to help these places out. how would that work, i thought. then it came to me: i could buy books from these stores and have then sent to... local prisons and schools! how great would that be!

my other idea was one i have had for over a decade. i want to start an organization for artists of color. something that would grant money to artists as well as provide gallery and performance space, host retreats, and so on. i still haven't quite figured out the specifics for this dream, but it has been bothering me for a while. the beauty of funding such an organization with lotto money is that by sheer virtue of the large endowment, it can afford artists of color more "plush" grants that would hopefully enable them to refuel from the too-often cobble-together living we tend to have. because even when we do get grants, from people of color organizations, too, the most it will do is pay for a couple months rent. and usually we are required to put in some administrative or educational labor, which can be anti-creative to some. i myself love to teach and work with others throughout my creative process, but i know many artists who find this part of funding to be particularly tedious. with my dream organization, i would fund artists for at least a full year, on an upper-middle class wage, and only require them to do what they wish with the organization. or something like that. it would have to vary. flat out grants to some, residencies for others, lectures, and so on.

of course, the question i ask myself when i have these fantasies is always: that's good and all, kt, but what can you do now to work toward these ideas? i often fear that my lack of funds hinders my ability to help myself and others with the resources i do have. it also makes me wonder, if i'm doing so little now, what makes me think that having a lot of money will make me do better?

when people talk about the ethics of art, they often only refer to the image, metaphor and message art often embodies. but what about the ethics of process? what about the entangled web of representation/ideology and commerce? we are not so virtuous as we like to see ourselves. i would love to run this blog and my personal site free of advertising, but i would also love to earn money from them. it makes me think of played-out metaphors between art and prostitution. and the best thing i can think to do in these moments is fight as hard as possible against paralysis. which is difficult, because it means i will inevitably make mistakes.

but then again, the best place to make mistakes is in one's art, right?

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