Funding for the Virtual Arts NonProfit

Running an online literary journal is a lot of work. I’ve been doing it for a few years now, and just started as the Managing Editor for Drunken Boat, an awesome and well-established journal for literature and arts entering its 15th year of continuous online publication (wow!).

One of the things I’m doing a lot of  is infrastructure building, which includes researching and applying for grants and other kinds of funding. And one of the things that keeps being a problem is our lack of geographical specificity. We’re incorporated and based out of New York City, like so many great publishing ventures. But our staff lives all over, and our audience is all over, and we don’t really do very much physical-community wise, but have an incredible virtual community. A lot of grants specifically seek to serve a physical community, and while I appreciate that as an important thing that the arts can do, I wonder why developing and supporting a virtual community is not being considered as an important function for an arts organization to have.

For example, we have folks in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York City, California, Hong Kong, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Isn’t that a strength? Doesn’t that mean that ultimately we’re reaching a broader audience, more diverse geographically, culturally, economically, etc.? Shouldn’t that be rewarded, cultivated even?

So, those of you who are involved in arts management, any ideas how to deal with this problem/feature of being a virtual organization? I’ve been looking around on CLMP, but their resources are almost all pre-digital, so not much help.

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