What is the Artist Bailout?

June 18, 2011 Artist Bailout @ Atwater Crossing (photo: Michael Rippens)

The Artist Bailout is a public meal designed to solicit community-driven financial support and democratically fund new work by emerging artists in Los Angeles. This experimental philanthropic model literally brings together artists and patrons around the table. During the course of a meal, artists present proposals for projects in need of funding to members of the community who have each made a small donation to attend the dinner. The dinner-goers then vote for their favorite ideas and at the end of the night, two (or more) participating artists win cash grants for their projects comprised of the donations raised at the door.

The Artist Bailout took inspiration and form from InCUBATE’s Sunday Soup in Chicago and Brooklyn’s FEAST and is part of an international Sunday Soup network of like-minded, meal-based micro-funding events. Motivated by the decline in arts funding, these projects repurpose the tanda,* an old idea originating from Mexico that works to rotate scarce resources amongst community members. The Artist Bailout continues this tradition and also draws inspiration from similar efforts in different communities and across different disciplines.

The Artist Bailout is volunteer-organized by a decentralized, informal collective with a rotating membership. The Artist Bailout was founded by Elana Mann and Autumn Rooney, who organized the first Artist Bailout as part of the Angels Gate Cultural Center Open Studios in San Pedro in May of 2010. Current members include Autumn Rooney, Michael Rippens, Laura Noguera and Jenn Su. The Artist Bailout takes an easy-to-organize and replicable form. We openly invite and encourage anyone interested in organizing an Artist Bailout to join our group, or to start a “Bailout” or “Soup” of their own and be a part of the international Sunday Soup network.

*“The word ‘tanda’ literally means turn or alternative order. In Mexico, the origins of the tanda and similar practices involve the need for the people of the working class, and in some cases the middle class, to rotate scarce resources among themselves, in this case money. In the United States, specifically southern California, the tanda was introduced through migration from the working class of Mexico to the United States. This practice has survived in the United States because the immigrants that migrated from Mexico to the United States continued to be of the working class and being immigrants, relied on the tanda as a form of money saving." (source: "Notes On an Artist Run Credit League" by InCUBATE)

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