Community Arts Organizations Get Their Bailout Money

A pop-up dinner series is connecting art lovers with organizations who need funding.

Last summer, Nina Becker (above, right) converted her van into a "gigantic pinhole camera." Now she needs $1,000 to use the "VanCam" for five photography workshops with students in Los Angeles. "We wanted to teach kids about photography on a scale that related to their own bodies," she explained to a crowd of 100 potential micro-investors gathered at Human Resources, a gallery in L.A.'s Chinatown, to consider her pitch over slices of sweet potato-bacon and coconut cream pies.

Becker's organization, The Mobile Pinhole Project, was one of seven local arts groups seeking funding at the third installment of an event series called Artist Bailout, which looks to "democratically fund new work by emerging artists." Attendees donated $10, or more if they were willing, in exchange for dinner and a ballot (GOOD matched donations with a $1,000 check). At the end of the night, participants cast votes for their two favorite organizations.

When all the votes were tallied, The Mobile Pinhole Project came out on top, along with Knowledges, a curatorial collective that's planning a weekend-long exhibition in June at Mount Wilson Observatory, a neglected telescope in the San Gabriel Mountains. The winning groups received $1,000 each, with $100 going to each of five runners-up.

With funding for local arts and community programs drying up because of the economic downturn, the Artist Bailout provides an alternative for artists whose work lies outside traditional funding mechanisms, and gets art lovers invested in their communities. Think of it as bringing Kickstarter to life for a night, plus pie. Elana Mann, one of the event's organizers, said she thought Saturday "went amazingly well... We were hoping to at least make $1,000, so we're thrilled," she said, while handing rolls of 20-dollar bills to presenters claiming their prizes. Past Artist Bailouts have funded projects like Stair Street Ghosts, a walking tour of L.A.'s historic Mt. Angelus neighborhood, known for its staircase sidewalks that typically remain closed to the public.

With $1,000 in the bank after Saturday night's success, Knowledges cofounders Christina Ondrus and Elleni Sclavenitis only need about $500 more to realize their event. They plan to host installations and film screenings by 40 artists whose work or aesthetic is inspired by astronomy. Ondrus and Sclavenitis hope the event will be the first of many site-specific exhibitions around Los Angeles. "Art doesn't happen in a vacuum," said Ondrus. "It happens somewhere. Not just in a gallery or a closed space."

Photo by Zak Stone

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less