Reflections + Next Steps for Art.coop Study-into-Action
Published on October 22, 2021 by Caroline Woolard
Admin

Happy Friday, Study-into-Action public participants!



We are writing to share our next steps at Art.coop and to invite you into the work ahead. Two weeks ago, we had our closing session with the internal cohort of 105 participants. Last week, we had an incredible debrief with the Facilitators who held a container for discussion with 7 break-out groups in the second hour (after the public hour). We are ready to refine our work and move forward, based upon what we heard from you. 

Please read below to sense Art.coop’s emergent ROLE and our team’s CAPACITY and PRIORITY areas, with invitations to join and give feedback.





Art.coop’s emergent ROLE in the ecosystem is to: 
 Connect --->  cultural innovators across silos in the solidarity economy movement.
 Amplify ---> inspiration, resources, and events at the intersection of culture and solidarity economy. 
 Move Money ---> to multi-year, self-determined, culturally-rooted, systems-change work. 
 Study --->  to practice ways of spreading power and wealth and rooting it in community.


^ We want to keep checking in about these emergent areas / our role / our priorities, with you all, to determine what is possible for us as a small team in a larger mycelial movement.



CAPACITY


This week, we (Nati, Caroline, Marina) have been able to consider our capacity as core organizers of Art.coop. Here is what we feel:

  • We want to bring people into Art.coop as we can, but we do not have the capacity right now to hold the energy of an open working group and we also don’t want to become a nonprofit. The solidarity economy movement is young in the US and we want to gestate with this energy, not rush.


  • This is a loose network held by the 3 of us. Right now, we all have other jobs, Marina is in grad school, Nati is on parental leave, and Caroline is working at Open Collective which can only support some of her time at Art.coop. We have $40k left in the budget and need to raise money in our priority areas to be able to bring in more people to the core organizing team.

  • We will clarify our structure, over time - for now we are a core of 2-3 people leading 4 priority* areas (see below) and we can slowly add 1 or 2 people, over time. 


*PRIORITIES / ROLE


We have identified these areas that are joyful for us and we believe are in alignment with Art.coop’s role in the Solidarity Economy movement and desires of cultural workers we talk to:

  • CONNECT - We hear that an artist-only space is so important! We invite you to join the Arts, Culture, and Care in the Solidarity Economy working group - an emergent, monthly, open container for artists to connect and see what emerges, organized by Art.coop with the New Economy Coalition and Highlander. Please email [email protected] if you would like to join this emergent group of artists and culture-bearers. - Marina leads


  • AMPLIFY - We will continue to share culture and solidarity economy events and inspiration on Art.coop social media and on our website, and to suggest everyone in the Art.coop directory to present at solidarity economy events and in the media. For example, we are happy to announce a series of Solidarity Economy x Culture shows coming up on the Laura Flanders Show / PBS, and upcoming events with the USFWC, OpenCollective, the Vera List Center, and the Boston Ujima Project. Follow our socials for more. - Caroline leads the web and events and Nati leads socials with Sonia 

  • MOVE MONEY - We will continue to do funder organizing and briefings every week. We have already done 2 funder briefings, and we have 4 scheduled in the next 4 months. We have moved $60k to some of you - you know who you are! We invite you to share your dreams with us and add yourself to the Art.coop directory so we can continue moving money to cultural innovators like you all. Open Collective Foundation is a transparent and collective money management platform for the solidarity economy, fully supporting this work. - Caroline leads 

  • STUDY - We will continue to give presentations each week about the report, and we will begin to develop a refined study process with the Facilitators of Study-into-Action this winter and spring to move into Phase 2 of Study-into-Action. We have interest from local arts agencies, family foundations, grantmakers, and artists to create forms of study, and we welcome your ideas and desires as we shape this and connect people to existing training. For example, let us know if you want to know about: (1) How to build (and fund) sustainable creative co-ops and worker self-directed non-profits. (2) Talking to money managers and legal advisors about charitable intent when granting to co-ops and small businesses. (3) Peer learning cohorts for grantmakers funding solidarity economy groups. (4) Peer learning for artists in the solidarity economy. Please email [email protected] to express interest in specific learning areas, to share a training you can offer the group, or to tell us that you would like to be considered as a curriculum designer, workshop / module creator, or facilitator for this work. - Marina and Caroline lead (facilitators lead as budget expands)

  • Art.coop internal work - to keep growing together, to be the change we want to see (a healthy care-oriented group) of 2-3, we take time each week to check in. We want to take time each month to learn about different organizational forms and perhaps pay a facilitator to support us in imagining ways to hold and share the energy around Art.coop. We are committed to doing repair work and growing and rebuilding trust with Ohketeau Cultural Center and Double Edge Theatre that they invited us to do. Please email [email protected] if you have suggestions or ideas about ways to support our internal growth and leadership development.

We know that we can only achieve systems-change in community, moving together to take daily action away from exploitation and toward spreading power and wealth and rooting it in community. Culture is at the heart of this work.


Continued  Reflection


How does that land for you? To schedule a 1:1 call with Marina and Caroline about your experience in Study-into-Action, please go here and find a time and note that Marina is on the West Coast and Caroline is in Berlin right now so times will be 6 hours ahead of NYC for Caroline https://calendly.com/carolinewoolard/30minute?month=2021-10 and 3 hours before NYC for Marina: calendly.com/connectivesomatics

We are taking the next two weeks to rest  and reflect on everything that we learned! We will then take November and December to re-read what you all wrote to us in emails and on social media, to consider what is possible given our capacity and budget, and to reach out when we can, with updates. In the interim, see the calls to action above, and watch for announcements on our socials.


With appreciation,
Caroline, Marina, and Nati of Art.coop


PS: If you want to join us at some events coming up, we highly recommend you attend:

Thank you again to our great presenters, facilitators, 105 participants in the internal cohort, everyone who joined the live events, Grantmakers in the Arts and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as sending partners: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Arizona State University, The Field, Drexel University, and the Guild of Future Architects. Howl Round Theater Commons distributed Phase 1 and supported us with ASL and closed captioning and Open Collective provides us with this home to hold the work. Thank you!!!

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