St. Louis Arts Project
In its first few months of existence, the St. Louis Arts Project has organized an impressive array of collaborators and events to come together for a four day art and music conference on June 16-19, 2011. Alternating between the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Regional Arts Commission, the conference will feature a broad selection of panels address the needs of artists and artist-run spaces, musicians and community organizers, a ‘secret show’ and an electronic music and print demo. Taken together, the St. Louis Arts Project aims to connect these often disparate groups, fostering collaborations and furthering the interest surrounding these kinds of projects in the area.
How is the project operated? For-profit, nonprofit, artist-run, etc.
St. Louis Arts Project is a diverse collection of existing creative groups, individuals and resources that are currently active in the local arts community. We operate similarly to an artist-run organization though we don’t necessarily prescribe to any one format for operation or structure.
How long has it been in existence?
The idea for an independent arts and music conference came first in January and by February those involved began to meet and discuss planning the event. St. Louis Arts Project started as a result of bringing together these diverse creative individuals and groups to plan the conference and become a sustainable community resource.
What was your motivation?
Our goal for the SLAP Conference is to create an opportunity for emerging creative talent, established artists and experienced community organizers to discuss the issues, culture and future of the St. Louis music and arts community. Above all, we’re excited to bring individuals across different artistic and creative areas together to meet one another and become more aware of all parts of this city’ arts community.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
We have about fifteen people actively working on the Conference with ten more involved as time permits. Those that have been significantly involved with SLAP thus far include: Civil Ape, Lane 4, Tangent Mind, Pig Slop, Secret Sound Society, Emily Hemeyer, Gina Martinez, Made Monarchs, Work/Play and The Luminary Center for the Arts.
How are programs funded? (i.e. membership fees, public funding, sponsors)
A little less than 75% of the funds needed to hold the Conference was raised at five benefit shows that we held through out the spring in conjunction with a few of the member groups of SLAP. We were lucky enough to work with musicians, venues and attendees that came together to majorly support SLAP and contribute to the Conference. Finally, a part of our operating budget will come from donations and ticket sales at the upcoming Conference.
Who is responsible for the programming? (Curators, Directors, etc)
The Conference has a very broad range of programming due to our collaborative approach to creating content for each of the four days. Everyone was invited and contributed to the structure and content – especially the panel discussions and workshops – which I believe ultimately made programming much more comprehensive. This approach also lead us to create some exciting, new programming like Current, a collaborative music performance from some of the city’s finest electronic musicians.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
The Conference will be our first event as a group. In the future, there will be regularly occurring programming and events after the conference to further develop discussions and connections that were sparked over the four days. The first of which will take place on Thursday, July 28.
What kind of events are usually organized?
The Conference being our first event as an organization its hard to describe exactly what we will do in the future. I can say with confidence though that our events will always aim to generate reliable resources for the art communities and provide opportunities for individuals and groups to interact on a larger scale.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Not officially though we’d really love to hear from anyone in the community who is interested in working together.
How is your programming determined?
Much of the content for the conference was created in collaboration with the many groups and individuals involved. We wanted it to reflect the artistic culture of the city, so having many voices contributing made sense, especially for the first year of the conference.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
What’s working? What’s not working?
The energy of everyone coming together to collaborate on both the conference and the events leading up to it has been really exciting. Everyone involved seems to have connected with new people and I think there is a more of a defined connection between all of the disparate artist-run groups, musicians and spaces in the city.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We hope to be a resource for the art and music communities that brings together a diverse group or individuals to engage in dynamic content.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
We hope to see and help facilitate more collaboration, discussion and sharing ideas and work in the arts community. It’s starting to happen more and more through out St. Louis, which is amazing.
Images courtesy of St. Louis Arts Project.