I have been thinking a lot lately of the ideas of legacy, and have talked about how I hope my own legacy will play out, but there’s another aspect of this that I want to talk about today.
As a writer and artist with very limited income it’s pretty hard to find to do the things you love and to pursue your art. Now, I will never say that the struggle to find that time, and to make the proverbial ends meet doesn’t add to your development as an artist and doesn’t add to your work but I cannot imagine what it would be like to have the means to be able to buy more books, do more art shows, and have more promotional material. Part of selling your art, book or otherwise, is the promotions and if you cannot do shows, have a website, or have material for people to look at to send them somewhere in search of your work then you cannot connect with them. But money is a bit tight for me, or a lot of artists and writers, to be able to focus on getting your work out there, and to be able to get the promotional work done.
Frustrated with trying to find new ways to promote my stuff and to get the funds to support it a friend recommended looking for grants. Alas, grants are things that everyone wants and few have. A grant is an allotment of funding for a specific period that will allow the grantee to focus more on whatever project they pitched. Grantors are very specific with what they want to fund, and who, and so what money that is out there gets much, much smaller when you start reading the fine print. And it’s their money so why would you give money to people and projects that don’t fit your criteria. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like hiring someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications for the job they want. But there are so many of us out here who are struggling and of us, how many will find the funds, or the time to continue?
It makes me wonder.
I have a hope, and it’s a dream, but it’s not one that is impossible. Flint is my home. I grew up in a small town not far from here and that’s where I am from but Flint is my home. There are a lot of super awesome artists, musicians, poets, writers, (and I usually just put us all under the Artist umbrella but sometimes it helps to point out who I mean when I say that) and we’re all struggling. And in a city like Flint, with a declining population, a struggling economy, and such a huge brain drain with the youth leaving we need to start providing a base for them to build their futures from. We need to give them the tools to remain here.
And so we come to the dream.
It’s my dream that some day I will be in a place where I can create a grant/endowment in Flint for the local artists here that are struggling. There are a lot of people here who work in the arts but my interest would be the people more like me, who are working to make something for themselves and who are not established. I have monetary ideas in mind – enough to help but not enough to support the person, if you are not willing to work AND work on your art then you’re in the wrong business, bub – and have an idea how to go about it but, ah, the when. That I cannot say. I have so much I need to accomplish on my own before I can pretend to start offering anyone some manner of financial help, but some day, some day I will do this. And I want to put it on record because that is how serious I am about it. I think there’s a foolish misconception with grants that they are free money and that once you get them you are set. Not true at all and it wouldn’t be that way for what I have in mind. I want someone to use that money toward the ‘art’, whatever it is. Be it promo material for a book, or paying for some other expenses, say a copy machine for a ‘zine. Something has to be produced when all is said and done. Work has to be done.
Naturally the hardest part here is two-fold – coming up with seeder money and then having money that feeds back into the seeder money so it’s perpetual. And that is why I am not able to do this today. Just not something financially feasible. But some day.
And imagine if more people did that – not just gave money to an organization but made it possible to support people who have the same passions that they have? Similar dreams. That’s what I want to do. Some day.
Because I owe so much to my family for their financial support, to my friends for their moral support, and to the people who take a chance on my work, be it art or word, and I need to pay those debts back some how. Hopefully the day will come sooner than later when I am able to do just that.