I Am Not Asking You For Money

Dear Culturebot Reader,

My name is Andy Horwitz and I’m the founder of Culturebot Arts & Media, Inc., an arts organization for the 21st Century (and beyond!). Culturebot Arts & Media started as Culturebot.org, an arts and culture website I launched almost ten years ago as a mere blog at Performance Space 122.

Since the beginning it has been more than just a website, it has been a hub for community and a platform for artists, audiences and organizations to share discourse. We have presented performances and convened conversations, we have supported artists, been a critical partner to festivals, hosted parties, offered workshops and more.

Not only have we grown programmatically, we’ve grown conceptually, evolving into an important and well-regarded thought-leader. Our ideas on performance, criticism, art and culture at large are widely discussed, taught at universities and debated amongst colleagues.

All the while, demand for our core program, critical writing, continues to increase. Every day I am besieged with requests for coverage, requests that by necessity must go unfulfilled because there is not enough time to write it all, nor any money to pay writers, much less myself. Writing is hard work, everyone can do it, few can do it well. Because writing is something everyone does every day, it seems like it should be easy to write about the world, but it is not. It takes time, it takes practice, it takes talent, skill, training and, most of all, hard work.

And this is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

We do what we do so well and have done it for so long that people don’t realize we don’t have any money and are completely unfunded but for the support of our community, and the hard work and dedication of the people who contribute their time and energy and talent to making it happen. When we’ve had advertising revenue it has been negligible. There is so much work to do, so few people to do it and only so many hours in the day.

Just the other day I heard from someone that my essays on innovation were being shared at a major midwestern arts institution. When asked how Culturebot was supported, they were gobsmacked to realize that it isn’t. That I do all of this – and everyone who is involved with Culturebot – does all of this for free.

But I’m not asking you for money.

Culturebot.org has grown so much that this past July I left LMCC and my full-time gig as curator of River To River Festival to devote myself full time to realizing my vision of Culturebot Arts & Media, Inc., an arts organization for the 21st Century and to work on The Brooklyn Commune Project as a parallel effort for building community.But I have hit a wall and need help.

I’m in a Catch-22 situation. I have a clear vision of what Culturebot will become, I have a business plan and a pitch deck and revenue streams – the whole kit & kaboodle. But I have reached the boundaries of my technical skills and knowledge of the business world as well as the boundaries of my social network, or so it seems.

There is so much that needs to be done just to get to the starting line and I can’t go it alone. I’m learning as fast as I can, I’m working as fast as I can, and every day I worry that I’m not going to make it. I need a CTO, I need someone who knows business, I need administrative support. Most of all, I need people who aren’t me, who can help translate the vision into reality – not just for me, but for the larger community Culturebot serves.

It’s funny, really, because what I’ve always tried to do as a curator and creative producer is to help artists translate their vision into reality by providing the support and skills they didn’t possess or didn’t have time to do. And now I’m in a similar situation.

The irony of course, is that I could hire a CTO or CFO if I had money, but I can’t get the money without those people. And frankly, I don’t run in circles where that kind of capital is easily accessible.

So I’m not asking you for money. I’m asking you for help. Because it looks like we’re going to have to keep bootstrapping this thing. So…

  • If you run or know of a start-up incubator that can support this project, now is the time to step forward.
  • If you are an Angel Investor, or know of any, now is the time to step forward.
  • If you are, or know any, funders  who believe that there is a need to reinvent the arts organization for the 21st Century, now is the time to step forward.
  • If you even have just a couple of extra bucks to help pay the hosting costs and all the other costs associated with running this site, or just help me pay my rent, now is the time to step forward.

Because the Culturebot community is changing things from the outside in, we’re making visible the unseen and bringing people together in new, exciting and meaningful ways. We’re advocating for, writing about and supporting the work of the artists who help us make sense of, interpret, and envision our world, we are those artists. We’re making a positive difference in a changing world, and it’s going to happen.

I just hope Culturebot itself survives to see it.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope we’ll see you real soon!

Sincerely yours,

Andy

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: