An epiphany on how org boards and grant funding fundamentally encourage artistic predictability

More reading of Reginald Nelson’s theatre manifesto gave me a distressing revelation about how much the board/directors leadership arts-org format and the process to propose for grant/sponsor funding lends itself to creative stasis in arts orgs.

To successfully apply for significant grant funding, you have to firmly define what you’re going to do. Any changes at all in artistic direction during the year not only requires requires collective deliberation and approval, but if your funding application notated a season schedule then changing it in midstream could jeopardize your funding (you might have to give it back).

The season format is a big part of the problem, but if you don’t state a firm plan for a firm season, no one’s going to fund you. Never mind that your work and your style (and in dance your look) has to fit an archetype for most major granting orgs to even consider funding you. You have to be predictable to get funded. And then we wonder why mainstream performance art is so predictable.

You can go small time and bypass all this… and thus not get much (if any) funding for your work, unless you do yet another damn Kickstarter and have a ton of benevolent, well-funded friends.

Once again, money is a form of censorship in the 21st century. It has created bigger and strong barriers to entry than have ever existed before.

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