Voices in Contemporary Art
Photo above courtesy of VoCA. Abstract painter and Yaqui Indian Mario Martinez in conversation with Steven O’Banion, Director of Conservation at Glenstone, at the National Museum of the American Indian NY on October 12, 2017. This event was part of VoCA's ongoing CALL/VoCA Talks series, hosted in partnership with the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) Program.
By Lauren Shadford, Executive Director, Voices in Contemporary Art
We learned how to calculate and, more importantly, ask for funding that covers the actual cost for us to deliver great results. Being truly confident in the full costs allowed us to articulate that to funders, and strategically decline program partnerships that would drain our resources instead of uplifting our programs.
We recently completed a project that achieved exceptional results. Our funders asked us to continue for a second year, but at a lower funding level. We knew what it took to achieve the results, and had the conviction and confidence to articulate that we couldn’t commit to partnerships that would undercut our ability to be a strong, stable organization. In the end, our funders stepped up and supported the partnership at the necessary level.
There are some opportunities we’ve had to let go of because the full cost of delivering the requested services could not be covered. In truth, that has been freeing because it has allowed us to think about strategic growth – moving into future years with partners and funders that understand the program needs while also seeing the value of the work we do. Those are the lasting partnerships that we need as a small non-profit. The work we’ve done over the past few years to nurture those relationships, diversify funding, and secure multi-year grants has put us in a much better financial position.
Now more than ever, artists and arts organizations are in a financially precarious place; it is important for our sector to build stability and resilience so we can all continue to bring the work of artists deeper into the fabric of our culture.
Read more of VoCA’s story here.