Thursday, May 08, 2008

Still Closed, But Appalshop Info

Back when I was writing about Appalshop as a model of community dialogue, there were some questions about the funding model, and suggestions that Appalshop was largely government funded. Here is a clarification from a member of Appalshop:

As an artist at Appalshop I just want to be clear that most of our funding does not come from the NEA. There might have been a time when federal sources had that sort of impact, but it has not been true for many, many years.

Appalshop's endowment comes from thousand of small donations from folks across the country, with some anchor support from foundations for various campaigns. The earnings from the endowment equal around six percent of the annual 2.0 mil. operating budget and mostly act as seed money for artistic projects from all divisions (theater, film, radio, and education) to get kick started. Our funding comes from an innovative web of private, government, earned income, contract, donor, and other forms of sales. Many times it comes from developing partnerships with other non-profits or agencies addressing pressing socials issues—who don’t have a mission of supporting arts, but see how our work can be strategic to their social, economic, cultural, or political goals. We also do yard sales!

I would say our best resource is the social capital of the folks who work here and are invested in making art happen here and beyond.

-nick szuberla

3 comments:

nick@ said...

Nick and Scott, thanks for the details on Appalshop. But if Scott is titling this as “Appalshop as a Model of Community Partnership,” it’s obvious that the term “community” is not really being used in its geographical meaning. The partnerships and funding seems to come from a broad national base in support of Appelshop’s mission, rather than regional or local community support.

Scott Walters said...

Nick -- Are you being deliberately obtuse? Go back and read the original post: Appalshop was used as an example of how an arts organization could be in dialogue with its community, a direct response to a request for examples by, I believe, Don Hall. You are the one who brought up the funding issue, as if the two issues were tied up together -- that somehow having a dialogue with the community REQUIRED that the funding also come from that community. Furthermore, as Nick says, the money they have in their endowment mostly came from small donations made by individuals.

nick@ said...

If I am obtuse, it’s not deliberate. I can’t really see how the model of community partnership presented by Roadside Theatre is significantly different from say Los Angeles Poverty Department and Cornerstone Theater Company in LA, or Irondale Ensemble Project and INTAR Theatre in New York except in some distinction stemming from your prejudice against Nylachi and ensemble members of larger cities. If you or nick szuberla could articulate the uniqueness of the Roadside model in comparison to the models of community partnership presented by these other companies, other than its geographical location, I’d be very interested. Our theatre is revising our structure and mission, so looking at models of ensembles similar to our own. Ostensibly at least, the missions and work of all these ensembles seem more alike than dissimilar to me.