Is there art in fundraising? Not is there an art to fundraising, because there does seem to be that but is there art in fundraising? I ask this as I enter my sixth month of trying to get funding for my latest sculpture. It is the sculpture that is Room13Delmar, a mobile art studio that is visually and functionally a cross between a very large Mary Poppins bag and a pop-up camper. I have spent my studio time in the last five months writing grant proposals and making meetings to discuss the idea with potential partners. As a relational artist, I am sometimes thrilled by the sense that with each conversation and with each clearer written expression of my idea, I am creating Room13Delmar; these interactions are visioning the piece into existence.
Then there are times when I am so tired of talking about money and want to lock myself in a room and put my hands on a tangible material. It seems obvious that I should then be doing both at the same time but it is difficult. Each meeting is an opportunity and most meetings leave me feeling closer to the creation of Room13Delmar and these meetings take time, they take my studio time. I also am not a tinkerer in the studio. I wish I was, I wish I could just go in there and make stuff but I don’t approach the studio that way. My head has to be into the physical work and my head is right now into the creation of dialogue around Room13Delmar.
I am just wondering if there is an art to this. Can I figure out a way to satisfy my desire to create through a shift in my thinking about the fundraising? Is this shift merely a shift in my relationship to the fundraising or is it more physical, a way to document the process that would feel authentic and artful? These are not rhetorical questions. These are questions I need help answering. Let’s imagine being in a critique together, what would you say?