It has been said that Governor LePage characterized Maine's non-profits as
"takers" not "givers"
It was also said that he stated that non-profits "don't pay their fair share".
I ALMOST want to agree with him (cough-cough GASP! really?!)
I seem to have an ever-growing jaded view that many non-profits are becoming havens of millenials creating their own employment, (I bow to creative use of resources and laws) rather than passionate development of non-profits as a function that develops up and coming arts and culture activities, or that they truly benefit the needy.
(disclaimer: THIS IS my own personal jaded view, and this does not include ALL non-profits, please don't send me hate-emails over a momentary expression of a view, sheesh.)
Many of the non-profit cultural causes have started to look a lot more like business enterprises (that don't pay taxes) and it seems that less and less of the money filtering through them are benefiting the artists, musicians, curators, producers and creatives they are set up to benefit. The new millennial church?
Yes. Jaded. Maybe.
OKAY, so i'm listening... i'm learning…
here is one response to LePages comments from MANP
Here’s How Nonprofits GiveAccording to data from The National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine nonprofit sector:
Fine artists are way too often asked to donate to these entities, fund raising is often needed to maintain cultural organizations, VALUABLE cultural organizations that our communities benefit from (yup, I DO GET IT)
(yes, i have a big BUT)
is this to the detriment of the work?
(sorry, but i find many of the non-profit supported arts painfully BORING
and not entirely meaningful artistically.)
Is it causing too much bureaucracy to be effective?
The Maine Arts Commission spent a lot (a LOT) of time surveying artists and groups this year, and they are also holding a cultural summit…and a LOT of board room discussions.
The questions are out there now…(and the money spent to get the answers)
"How do we grow and foster the arts and culture in Maine?"
To me this is so stupid simple it should require no more than 5 seconds to answer.
First I must tell you that 10-15 years ago I LOVED the Maine Arts Commission.
Because they had a statewide database that ANY Maine artist could enter their name into and the portfolios could be accessed by ANYONE that wanted to hire a Maine artist for a project.
They had a 1% for arts program that required the state to spend 1% of a budget of a new state funded building on arts programming (hiring right from that database!)
They had MORE individual artists grants, and emergency (holy crap i can't pay rent) funding programs and LESS non-profit funneling. (LESS NON-PROFIT FUNNELING)
MORE art was being made, MORE artists were being paid, and Maine was flourishing as THE PLACE to be an artist!
Back to that all important 5 second answer:
GIVE THE ARTISTS WHAT THEY NEED TO CREATE.
GIVE THE ARTISTS…. ART SUPPLIES, TIME, RENT, FOOD….SUPPORT.
You want art and culture in your state or home town?
Pay or give to your artists and they will do what they do best.
Artists ARE the charity right now, in this time in history.
Musicians ARE in need, right now, in this economy.
more board members, more meetings, more discussions….
are NOT needed.
Brushes, guitars, canvas, cameras, and recording equipment need to be given out freely and openly to anyone who wants to give it a go, and all of the decisions made for artists have to STOP being funneled through board rooms and business people.
YOU GIVE AN ARTIST A BRUSH, SOME TIME, A CANVAS….and you will magically see the arts and culture flourish on it's own ...both in your hometown, and your state.
And guess what, my non-profit, business and board-room loving friends?!
that advice was FREE to you, to use as you wish!!
BUT… I would still HAPPILY accept a donation for that expert advice.
written by: Erin Duquette
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul