My.FresnoArts.net

Local Social Network for the Arts Community in Central Valley

To raise funds for the Arts Council operations, FresnoArts.net should have a membership fee.

The Fresno Arts Council (FAC) would like to get the opinion of the FresnoArts community in regards to membership fees. Historically, it has been a challenge to operate FAC because of a tight operating budget; case in point, the Executive Director does not have a budgeted salary. In order to have some breathing room and have some funds for operations, the FAC is exploring options on how to raise funds in addition to other fundraising activities.

This is the first of the many idea box that will come through; mainly for the purpose of getting opinions from you since you own this community. Results from this discussion will have "some" effect on FAC's decisions in the future.

Update 9/8/08: Here's some facts/points that might be important in the discussion.

1. Fresno Arts is a public/private collaborative enterprise between Socient and Fresno Arts Council. FAC does not have a budget to put resources into building an online community --- thus the model of partnership.

2. Fresno Arts is more than a community for artists where exchange of information between peers happen; it is above all, evidence that there is a growing and thriving arts and culture ecosystem in Fresno. In the big picture, a lot of things follow when that is evident: more creative people move here, more credibility to Fresno as a city for creatives, etc...

3. The initial idea of having a membership was to create a fund to support and make this model sustainable. The allocation of funds raised through this site would be:
a. 40% - discretionary/unrestricted funding for artists doing public art
b. 40% - FAC operations
c. 20% - marketing of this site to other channels

4. I thought of the 40% discretionary funding for artists bec. currently there is no way other than grants and sponsorship an artist could get funding. What if there is a fund where an artist could dip into to provide public art (ie. chalk drawing in the streets or a performing artists to play music at fulton mall).

5. Paying a membership fee in the overall big picture is not about transferring artist's money from their pockets to FACs. It is a testament of support to the goals we are trying to achieve as a collective: to help raise awareness of the arts. Therefore, I propose we do not approach FresnoArts as a service by FAC but as a cause: that we are here because together we raise awareness for the arts... that we are important to the development of the city and our country.... that we SHOULD be part of the discussion in planning for the future.

6. If we do the math, $35 by itself is not that significant and useful; however when multiplied by 1,000, it becomes $35,000 --- which could provide for a yearly budget to market the arts as a collective (via public art, print and broadcast advertising, etc...)

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If you began charging a fee, you would lose me. I do like Ann's idea of a store, support the site as you profit from it. The more profit one makes from the site, the more one supports (finacially) the Fresno Arts.
i am member of another arts community that is run and operated by international art students, in my opinion it is the best around mostly because it's structured around the critique. members are encouraged to make comments on the art of others even if it's not a educated or experienced observation and as a result i have learned much from that community of artist. they do charge a small fee for extra services and they do have what they call a print store where they make prints of artist work available for purchase. sometimes i do pay for a few months just to get a better idea of who is looking at my art within that community but that's about the only reason. what gives me pause and i'm sure this holds true for many here is that there doesn't seem to be a firm grasped on what we would be paying for. i for one wold love to see virtual galleries with online directors from this community. i would like to see more critique and advice. i'm sure everyone here would welcome some kind of listing of not only local venues but that of markets that exists in other areas where artist could try and sell their work. whenever i see this discussion i just can't help but think "where's the beef?"

Kathy, I don't disagree with your comments, but I am unclear on how it relates to this discussion about paying or not paying a fee.
Brent, I third Ann's motion. It's a solid idea and would likely make more money than a membership fee.
Victor, I noticed this is the FAQ section. Has it always been there?

"How much does it cost to join?

FresnoArts Community is FREE to join until October 2008. A membership to the Fresno Arts Council will then be required for new members. Existing members are encouraged, but not required, to join the Fresno Arts Council to support and help on the cost of providing this service. ArtHop venues/participants who have already paid the ArtHop membership fee are free as long as they maintain an active status in offering ArtHop."
Well, it seems like we all know what our art marketing situation is or what's going on. I have nothing to say about that. I just really want to speak out , this social network is the best thing I ever had for my art and I really love it. I'm glad that others can see my art on this web, not only me look at them every day at home cause I have no money to pay to show my art all the time. And I have opportunity to see other people's art to appreciate them and educate myself. Wonderful social that make me feel like I'm exist in this social. If FAC is in the trouble, please know, me too. And I believe other artists too. I keep doing art with my heart even know that I don't make any money. If you love the same I love. So why just leave this social network to be a good thing in our trouble. Soon that you start charge the fee, you are taking them away from me. I know myself I can't afford it. I have very a little budget to continue my art. I will do until I cann't anymore.
Sorry, Lyndon. I was just a 'little soap boxy' about some remarks made about being juried or not. Really not on topic, just from a comment a few entries ago.
I don't understand why FAC needs money to continue offering this service. The social network software comes from Ning.com, where you can be hosted for free.

I signed up here mainly to help foster the growing Fresno film community, but I also enjoy being a part of the art community as a whole. However if you move toward paid memberships, I'd just as soon create a new Ning.com network for local filmmakers. Paid memberships would turn off a lot people who might normally sign up and participate.
I don't get the impression, from the question, that FAC needs the money to continue offering this service, but that they have inadequate revenue and are looking at memberships to this site as a possible source.
What Fresno needs is an Art Council or other organization that supports artists. If they can't raise funds for their activities via Grants, patrons, etc. instead of by individual struggling artists then they are not serving the Art Community.

What's exciting about this new site is that it has the potential to bring artists together, give visibility to those who don't have it and really encourage the individual artist that is struggling to emerge and survive. The Arts Council is listening to all our comments and will rise to the occasion or they will loose us and exclusively serve the special interests of cultural arts organizations only instead of the artist in the trenches!
Yes... It has always been there, but it is open for debate; which is why I opened this discussion to active members here --- to hear ideas and comments.

I did make a mistake though of not communicating clearly the additional facts/points on this "idea box".

1. Fresno Arts is a public/private collaborative enterprise between Socient and Fresno Arts Council. FAC does not have a budget to put resources into building an online community --- thus the model of partnership.

2. Fresno Arts is more than a community for artists where exchange of information between peers happen; it is above all, evidence that there is a growing and thriving arts and culture ecosystem in Fresno. In the big picture, a lot of things follow when that is evident: more creative people move here, more credibility to Fresno as a city for creatives, etc...

3. The initial idea of having a membership was to create a fund to support and make this model sustainable. The allocation of funds raised through this site would be:
a. 40% - discretionary/unrestricted funding for artists doing public art
b. 40% - FAC operations
c. 20% - marketing of this site to other channels

4. I thought of the 40% discretionary funding for artists bec. currently there is no way other than grants and sponsorship an artist could get funding. What if there is a fund where an artist could dip into to provide public art (ie. chalk drawing in the streets or a performing artists to play music at fulton mall).

5. Paying a membership fee in the overall big picture is not about transferring artist's money from their pockets to FACs. It is a testament of support to the goals we are trying to achieve as a collective: to help raise awareness of the arts. Therefore, I propose we do not approach FresnoArts as a service by FAC but as a cause: that we are here because together we raise awareness for the arts... that we are important to the development of the city and our country.... that we SHOULD be part of the discussion in planning for the future.

6. If we do the math, $35 by itself is not that significant and useful; however when multiplied by 1,000, it becomes $35,000 --- which could provide for a yearly budget to market the arts as a collective (via public art, print and broadcast advertising, etc...)

Well... that has been a long discourse, but I hope I got some of the points communicated.

Respectfully,

Victor
Hello Bryan,

Thank you for participating in the discussion. FYI, we do use Ning as a platform, however we use their premium services... and in building a sustainable and successful online community, I hope you agree with me that hosting is not the only cost involved (there's management, moderation, marketing, design, information architecture, etc...).

But as I discussed above, there's more to it than what I've communicated initially.

Peace and respect,

Victor

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