There are many examples of “one-hit wonders” in pop music, but the term can also apply to other fields of art. Too often an artist, filmmaker, or writer stuns their respective community with a flash of brilliance only to just as quickly disappear. And one of the biggest reasons for this is lack of financial support, or, more specifically, lack of personal financial acumen to keep themselves afloat. Now, thanks to a major gift from the estate of photographer Theo Westenberger, Creative Capital is expanding their Loan Fund for Alumni Artists to potentially benefit a much larger pool of alumni.
When the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced that it will be donating and selling off its remaining collection of works by the iconic pop-artist, Warhol collectors were all but outraged. The foundation is in the business of grant making — a tough business to be in, especially during a down economy. This begs the question: How much will the sale of the pieces increase the foundation's grant making abilities?
Andy Warhol once said "An artist is somebody who produces things people don't need to have." The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has decided that it no longer needs to have Warhol's art and is getting rid of its entire collection. Some pieces are slated for donation while the remainder will be auctioned off through Christie's Auction House. The collection includes more than 20,000 works with an expected take of more than $100 million.
When Andy Warhol willed nearly his entire estate to create a foundation to advocate for artists' creative freedoms to fight the good fight for their right to free expression and the overall "advancement of the visual arts," he surely did not mean that his foundation should dole out millions of dollars authenticating his own works. For nearly two decades, though, that's exactly what happened.
What would you do with a $50,000 grant from the Creative Capital Foundation? For most, the first thought would be to buy more supplies, rent more studio space, make more art. Lather, rinse, repeat. But what happens when grantees already have the supplies and the space? How do they manage their remaining grant funds to get the most out of their money? Call their benefactor, that's what they do.
There are few things that are more frustrating than big companies patting themselves on the back for their philanthropy but not being clear as to exactly where the money is going. Not that Bank of America is doing that exactly, but trying to find out who is benefiting from Bank of America's reported $32 million in arts funding in 2010 is proving to be more than a little bit difficult.
As far as corporate reputations go, Bank of America's isn't exactly stellar. The loathing of this company reaches far and deep into the psyche of those who faced foreclosure or are currently facing foreclosure in the United States with loans owned by Bank of America. That being said, the company does do some good deeds through its Bank of America Charitable Foundation, including contributions to the arts sector. The questions are: How good is good and to what end?