Why No-Strings Funding is the best way to support Local Art
When beginning Art Collection, myself and a few other people asked this question of me.
How are you going to keep track of how the money is spent? If people are giving £1 each week, surely they need to know where their money is going, and that it isn't being wasted?
It was something that I went back and forth about in my head a good few times.
Do we need to have some sort of vetting process? An application form?
Should we stipulate what the fund should be spent on? Should we only fund particular types of projects?
Should we have a report that people fill in to show us what they have done? Should artists provide receipts, pictures, write us a detailed description of how and when and where and what they bought?
I thought and thought and thought. I came to a big old No, and here's why:
No Strings Funding allows our grant to be a gift, not a chore. As our members nominate our artists, for some the grant may come out of the blue. We don't want to heap lots of extra work on top of these artists in order to satisfy ourselves. We want our grant to remove barriers to creativity, not to create them. We fund because we benefit from the fund- we get to see, hear, feel more art that we love!
No Strings Funding can relieve some of the impacts of Covid on artists. It is incredibly hard to make money from art at a distance. Covid has meant that plenty of artists are out of pocket, and just need to alleviate some worry. It's not glamourous, but it might be the necessary thing for someone to begin creating again at a time when stress and pressure are at an all time high. If you want our fund to take care of some bills, we know that with peace of mind comes creativity.
No Strings Funding allows artists to comfortably test, try and learn. It can be scary to try something new, and especially if your income depends on your work. No strings funding gives some breathing space for testing new ways of working and techniques.
No Strings Funding allows the artist to spend the money on what it is they need, and not what we think they need. We recently asked artists on Instagram what they would do with a grant of £500, no stipulations. (This can be seen in our Instagram stories here). The results were varied, and contained fantastic things we could have never predicted! How could we have told people what to do with the fund?
No Strings Funding allows the artists we fund to be truly creative. Imagine receiving a grant that you weren't expecting. You might be able to do that thing that has always been in the back of your mind. No strings funding opens up new possibilities that may previously have been pipe dreams.
No Strings Funding allows for the expression of new ideas and identities. As our artists will be able to use the grant however they want, we hope that we will see some truly experimental work come out of it! Artists who may have had a hard time getting funding for new ideas will be able to begin developing new projects.
No Strings Funding opens new opportunities for people who have not traditionally been represented in artist funding. Art Collection Liverpool are interested in supporting art by and for black people, disabled people, queer people, and minority communities. We want our funding to be open and accessible to all, and so no-strings attached funding is a no brainer. We'll flush those application forms down the loo if it means seeing more art from people who have different experiences to us. Goodbye technical app forms that assume English is your first language; that make no room for dyslexia or constant fatigue; that take up all your time; that require you to write answers in the "correct" way, shoe-horning projects until they are something they're not. Here's a grant, do with it what you will.
Art Collection Liverpool is a community fund for creatives living and working in Liverpool. We support artists with no-strings attached grants of £500, with a fund created by the people who love our creative community. Each of us give £1 a week to the fund, nominate artists we would like to see funded, and vote on who will receive our fund. We put arts funding back into the hands of people who enjoy Liverpool's music, art, poetry, writing and more.
We are always looking for people like you, who care about sustaining Liverpool's creative community, to join us in building this fund. Find out how here.