Local Social Network for the Arts Community in Central Valley

To raise funds for the Arts Council operations, 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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Singers, dancers and actors do not pay for auditions but visual artists must pay to have their works reviewed for each exhibition. I think the local newspapers need to donate more space to educate the readers about the visual art talent in Fresno. The newspaper certainly has room for stories of gardens, crafts of found art and candle making but little concerning fine art. Businesses should lend a supportive hand to the culture scene. The choice of an artist to devote their lives to fine art is fraught with poverty and sacrifice. Every organization wants membership fees and a serious artist must belong to several national/international groups ergo that $35 becomes part of a much larger expense annually; ($235.00 for membership in 3 groups without the FAC proposal).
Add/sell everything else

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