Opinion

A Grassroots Arts Organizer in Philly Responds to “Inequality in Arts Funding” Post

We often get messages and responses to our posts but occasionally some really stand out. The following was in response to the inequality in US arts funding post from Tuesday and it comes from someone in Philadelphia who seems to know the inequality all too well.

The message gives a sense of the frustration some grassroots arts organizations feel at getting passed over by funding agencies that prefer to donate to larger organizations.

The commenter focuses on The Knight Foundation but there are many foundations like them and many other stories across the US like this one:

In lieu of your absolutely jaw grindingly familiar article pertaining to unequal arts funding I would like to say: Amen. I have watched the hilarious farce that is “The Knight Foundation” publicize themselves as the knight in shining armor for the underdogs of Philly Art for the last two years in Philadelphia. Which is total baloney (or bullshit really). They give the majority of their $$$ to people with PROFESSIONAL GRANT WRITERS and major budgets. Like the museums … you know the ones that have been around for like a century and don’t serve contemporary artists needs AT ALL. And the Opera, you know, the guys who just built a megamillion new complex and already have friends that practically bleed money as patrons. Even though they hype up their advertisements with song and dance about how it’s the grant for the un-grant writing types. THEY NEVER EVER TAKE A CHANCE ON AN UNKNOWN. THEY ONLY GIVE $$$$ TO ESTABLISHED ORGS. Then they give like 40k to individual artist and toot their “we serve the underdog” horn all over the city and I am outraged and sick and tired of it. If they were someone like “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” they would get the pants sued off of them for FALSE ADVERTISEMENT. Cause what they’re selling isn’t what they say it is, it’s not even close. It’s like selling bumblebees in butter containers.

I run an arts organization that is grassroots and we bust our asses to serve the community in an honest and much needed way. We create healthy connections and competition in the art market and we give 80% of sales back to the artist selling the work. It’s awesome. It doubles in size every year because their are thousands of starving artists in Philadelphia. Where’s the aknowledgement of the underdog? Fucking absent, that’s where. Maybe I’ll have to hire a professional grant writer to apply to my non-official grant-writer grant this year, which is due October 31st.

Don’t hold your breath for the Knights Foundation “butter” list this year either.

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