In San Francisco, the question of artists versus techies has come up over and over again since the latest tech boom boomed. While San Francisco is a city that’s known for its iconoclasm and free spiritedness, those qualities also have traditionally come (at least, since the ‘60s) with a healthy dose of anti-capitalism. The tech/startup world focus on monetization – and the subsequent rise in rents across the Bay Area – puts the old school iconoclasts in conflict with the new more often than not.
San Franciscans may want to turn to their sister city in tech, New York, for some clues on how to balance their warring factions. In addition to the fact that New York has rarely shied away from mixing money and art, The New York Foundation for the Arts just announced the establishment of the Art Business Incubator, which will help business launched by artists or created to serve the artistic community.
With funding from a multi-year grant from The Scherman Foundation’s Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund, ABI will take place over three years and hook up new business owner with entrepreneurial training, consulting services, and “a variety of other resources,” according to their press release.
The process that companies will need to undergo in order to participate in ABI is extensive, starting with a 2-3 page letter of inquiry and ending with interviews in front of a team of professional consultants. From those finalists, six to 10 participants will be chosen for the full three year program.
The New York Foundation of the Arts has been around since 1971, providing much needed cash and support for NYC artists since my mom was hanging out in squats in SoHo. They give out cash to both individual artists and small to mid-sized arts organizations, set up training for artists at all levels of their careers, have a great online resource for NYC artists, and offer fiscal sponsorship to more than 800 artists and organizations, to the tune of almost $4 million per year.
New York City, like San Francisco, is a city where dreamers and artists have been flocking for generations. While some people will forever be content living the broke artist lifestyle – and I say more power to those warehouse converters and anti-capitalist badasses – others are searching for a way to afford to do the things they love without leaving the cities they love. Since artists are often rebels and don’t like to be told what to do, becoming an entrepreneur is a logical move toward self sustainability.
So if you live in New York and can’t see yourself doing anything other than your art, no matter how much it pays, check out NYFA’s new incubator here. See? Startups and art can get along!