United States Artists
Just back from the midwest with a bellyful of matzoh and brisket. good times! Soooooo…okay it is going to take a while to catch up on all the emails in ye olde Culturebot inbox. But this one caught my eye. It is from United States Artists. I’d heard of them before but never really knew what they did. Basically it was founded to address the following need:
Historically, donors have allocated a healthy portion of philanthropic funding to the arts. In recent years, the private sector has generously contributed billions to build, renovate and endow art museums, theaters, opera houses and art centers all across the country. In 2005 alone, nearly $14 billion was donated to arts, cultural and humanities programs in the United States (Giving USA 2006). Meanwhile, support for individual artists remains underdeveloped, fragmented and underfinanced, as evidenced by the following statistics:
• More than three-fourths of standard cash grants to individual artists are less than $10,000 and more than half are under $2,000.
• Research on artists’ employment confirms that, on average, the majority of artists earn less than other people with comparable education and skill sets.
• One 1996 study lists respondents’ median annual earnings for work as artists at a mere $5,000.
Across the country, as governments address budget deficits, funding to the arts is one of the first line items to be cut. Although history tells us that funding to arts institutions is frequently restored and even enlarged when times improve, the needs of individual artists have never been fully addressed—in good times or in bad.
Which is awesome. Anyway I just got an email announcing a new initiative:
In an effort to share artists’ work around the globe, United States Artists (USA) and film company City Projects introduce Encounter: USA Fellows featuring video shorts profiling artists and their work. Unique in tone and content, each video provides a glimpse of the creative process.
United States Artists (USA) is a new non-profit organization celebrating the fearless impulse that compels every great artist to create and inspire us to think.
In collaboration with filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez , USA Broad Fellow, USA will release a total of 14 video shorts as part of Encounter: USA Fellows. The first eight videos are now live on YouTube and the USA website. Six additional videos will be released this Spring.
Here’s one on Victor LaVallee.