MAPS Board Nominations are Open!

As we continue to support an ever-widening circle of artists and emerging arts organizations in St. Louis, we are asking for nominations to grow our Board of Directors. Please submit your nomination (of yourself or someone else) HERE by Tuesday, April 30. Our form contains a link to our job description; the typical time commitment is 2-3 hours per month. A list of our current members can be seen here: http://midwestarts.org/about/ . MAPS encourages nominations from individuals located throughout the United States, and from individuals who are associated with or passionate about any area of artistic practice, including performing arts, creative writing, filmmaking and video, music, and visual arts.  Nominations of individuals who are representative of our region’s diversity are especially...

Social Practice and Engagement Through Art

Art tends to critique and beget criticism about societal concerns, be it questioning social injustices, depicting inhumanities, or empowering minority groups. However, art only does so much. Social practice art or socially engaged art takes an extra step to encourage participation and connection between the artist and the audience, instead focusing on engagement rather than criticism. Social practice is a psychologic theory that focuses on the intersections of practice and context when applied to “social situations.” When this concept is applied to art, it adds another dimension to art, taking it from just surface reactions to engagements of activity and/or inquiry. Liz Kramer of the Sam Fox School at Washington University in Saint Louis says what makes social practice through art so unique is that artists can de ine it for themselves. While artists have more control in de inition, social practice art usually involves other people and often deals with critical or social issues. It is versatile in which media and venues artists use, in how the audience reacts, what people take from the experience, etc. Liz Kramer and those at Sam Fox School support student, faculty, and staff that want to engage with the community socially, environmentally, and economically; they supply resources, knowledge, and tools. To access these resources and view past projects of Sam Fox School, visit here. If you do not have access to Sam Fox School through Washington University, you can engage as through the community or as a supporter here. Ilene Berman, a “durational artist” and art professor at Saint Louis University, engages with the community north of Delmar and Grand, an area...

Top 10 Working Artist Tips

1. Control Your Destiny With Your Number One Tool: Your Calendar The most productive people on earth are obsessive about their calendars. They not only use them for appointments and events, but also to create blocks of studio time, planning time, or time to work on projects (which gives you the power to say “no” when those all other obligations seem to pop up). Make a habit of reviewing your calendar once a week and once a month to prioritize your own time first, before anyone else tries to claim it. 2. Keep Accurate Records Of Your Work Use a Google Sheet, online database, or other tool to track your inventory, where your work was shown/performed, price, what sold (and what didn’t), etc. This is tedious work, but if you stay on top of it, it shouldn’t be overly burdensome. Imagine how much you would pay someone else to do this for you; that’s the value of what you’re doing for yourself. 3. Keep Separate Records of Your Art-Related Income and Expenses 4. Build Your Own Grants & Opportunities Calendar Since you’re making that terrific calendar above, you can make a commitment to apply for grants, residencies, awards, or other opportunities as well. Be sure to add both the application deadline itself AND a deadline reminder six weeks and two weeks out for yourself, so you have time to get materials together. MAPS has a calendar you can start with, and be sure to 5. Keep your Website and Materials Up To Date Set a date to refresh your Artist Statement, C.V., Work Sample portfolios, headshot, bio, project descriptions,...

Should I Start a 501c3? Some Philosophical and Practical Considerations.

One of the most frequent questions we get at MAPS is whether or not an individual should start the 501c3 incorporation process for their project. There are both philosophical and practical answers to that—and you may have different answers for both sides! On the philosophical side, first make sure your project or organization will truly be viewed as “charitable” activity by the IRS. Who are you serving and what are you providing that they cannot obtain otherwise? Ask yourself about the lifespan of this project. Do you realistically still see the project happening (perhaps as a full-time job for you) in five years? Ten years? Do you see it growing and becoming something that eventually other people will take over and manage without you? When you incorporate your organization with the federal government, you are creating an organization that will legally exist with or without you. Do you have a clear mission and specific, measurable goals and outcomes for your organization? Your organization needs direction and purpose to be functional, and clear outcomes to evaluate your impact. Finally, no one starts a new nonprofit on their own. Legally, you can’t! Do you have at least four other people who will serve as dedicated board members who will contribute their time and skills in management, programming, fundraising, marketing, and other areas of operation? Click here for more questions to consider before starting and nonprofit, and here for six reasons NOT to start one! On the practical side, there are a few more things to consider before downloading IRS Form 1023: Before you even begin the incorporation process, you must have...

What’s in a Name? Grants, Sponsorship, and Fiscal Sponsorship

What’s in a Name? Grants, Sponsorship, and Fiscal Sponsorship Fundraising for projects is more of an art than a science in more ways than one—including the way people refer to the funds they’ve received or hope to receive. Becoming familiar with some basic terms will help you make sure you’re making the right request to the right person: “Restricted” vs. “Unrestricted”: Any kind of cash donated to a project is going to be one of these two things, and fortunately, they mean just what they sound like! Restricted gifts MUST be used for their intended purpose from the donor. If someone gives you $100 for supplies, you need to spend it on supplies and nothing else, even if you have a much greater need elsewhere. Unrestricted funds (or “general operating support”) don’t have that restriction, so you can spend it where you need it (though it still needs to be spent on the project in some way). When accepting a gift, you should always be clear with the donor as to whether it is restricted or unrestricted. Having a donation form can help with this! In-Kind Donation: An in-kind donation is a gift of tangible goods or services that the donor otherwise would charge for. Donors may request a receipt showing the value of their donation; if your organization is a 501c3 nonprofit, or has a fiscal sponsor, you can offer them a tax-deduction. Direct donations are some of the best ways to get what you need—much easier than trying to raise cash to buy something outright. Grant: A grant is a cash gift from a private foundation or government agency (like the Missouri Arts Council or Regional Arts Commission) expressly given...