This discussion will address the Regional Regranting program that partners Warhol with Initiative organizations in distributing funds to individual artists and collectives. Regional Regranting is currently happening in San Francisco (through Southern Exposure), Kansas City (through Charlotte Street Foundation in partnership with The Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS), Texas (through Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks and Project Row Houses) and Chicago (through threewalls in partnership with Gallery 400 at UIC). The panel will address today’s funding climate for individual artists, how the regranting program is seeding new artist-organized initiatives and making an impact on local visual arts ecologies, how Regional Regranting extends the reach of small organizations, and concerns and strategies for maintaining these programs once they are launched.
Courtney Fink, Director of Southern Exposure, explained that the Warhol Foundation’s regranting initiative program arose out of conversations with the foundation about how to get money to artists, something their charter does not allow for. Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure program, founded in 2007, was the first such attempt. The program funds projects organized by groups, not individual artists, that must have a public component. There is no requirement that the projects be sustainable, and they must not be incorporated or be non-profit organizations. The program only funds projects in San Francisco and Alameda counties. Southern Exposure has decided to not expand the geographic reach because they would not be able to handle the number of applications they would receive. Project selection is completed by a three-person jury during an intensive two-day process.
Diane Barber, Co-Director of DiverseWorks Art Space, said that her organization’s Idea Fund is in its third year of offer $4,000 cash awards to ten artists projects. The program offers $3,500 in initial funds and $500 of seed money once the project is completed. In its first year, Idea Fund was only Houston-based, but by the second year the program had become statewide. Partnering with other organizations has created solid connections for Idea Fund and DiverseWorks throughout the state. Idea Fund assigns a mentor to each grantee and the partnering organizations take on about three artists that they advise. A panel of local, state, and national jurors select the projects. Barber stated that Idea Fund will sometimes offer fiscal sponsorship to grantees, if there is a specific reason to do so.
Kate Hackman, Associate Director of the Charlotte Street Foundation, heard about Warhol’s regranting program at the last convening. Wanting to offer project-based grants, she partnered with the Spencer Museum of Art. The partnership with the museum fifty minutes away cast a broader geographic net for the program. The program offers ten $4,000 grants each year. Participating projects must have some public engagement and a manifestation in non-established art spaces. Projects have included S’mores Cart, which was a cart that sold s’mores in order to raise money for further microgranting to artists. A funder told Hackman that Deep Ecology, one of their projects, which created a new prototype for bee-keeping, was the single most important project they’ve funded.
Shannon Stratton, Director of threewalls, also found out about regranting at the last convening. The resulting Propeller Fund distributed their first fifteen checks in October 2010. The fund is two-tiered with ten projects receiving $2,000 and five receiving $6,000. Fund designation is based on proposed budgets and the strength of the applications. Stratton stated that the program is almost identical to Sothern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure program, and the projects must also be collaborative with a public component. The Propeller Fund has no prohibition against the projects becoming for-profit entities or being short-term.