The program I direct, the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, was fortunate last spring to benefit from a new program of the AZ Commission on the Arts, Art Tank. Modeled loosely after the tv show “Shark Tank,” artists and organizations entered a pitch competition at four different locations throughout the state to receive grants of up to $10,000. The program is designed to incentivize “business unusual,” and to provide organizations both large and small a way to fund their innovative ideas. It proved to be a great way to seed innovation. The pitch-for-funding idea can go to far, however, especially if goals and processes are not in alignment, as appears to be the case in San Diego.
Rather than granting funds to artists and arts organizations through a peer-review process administrated by a local arts agency, arts organizations, chambers of commerce, veterans groups, any nonprofit make two minute pitches directly to members of the county board of supervisors. Individual supervisors then fund the organizations whose pitches they like from a discretionary fund called the Community Enhancement Program (CEP). You can read about this unusual approach here.
What could possibly go wrong?
[Image of ASU’s newest softball recruit Kelsey Kessler from the ASU Softball website.]