Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I'm Doing at Work - Summer of the Arts and More...

Well, hello there 'Sunrainors' .... it's been a long long time!!! I have ummed and ahhd about what to do with this blog - should I start posting again? Should I stick to my 'studio' blog? Well, I don't know, I have a little love affair with this old blog - it brought me through some amazing times of growth and though my following was never huge (except for a little while in the Hurricane Tomas times) you all were such good company along the way. So I've decided I'll start up SunRainOr again. And I'm going to start by telling you about what I'm doing at my Day-Job at the moment - and yes, let me be up-front...I am asking my old friends for a little help along the way...

My New Job
So, some of you may know that I left my self-employment of 18 years and now work at the Cultural Development Foundation in Saint Lucia: I am the Director of Business Development & Marketing. The CDF is Saint Lucia's Arts & Culture organization and I joined last year October - along with a few others - after the organization had gone through a whole reorganization and reorientation.

Since then, things have been madly hectic! I joke (half) that if I'd had any idea how much work this job would entail I would never even have applied!!! But in fact, although it is incredibly challenging; I am happy to be involved. Like most things in my life, I see the growth opportunity I am be privileged to have - if I am willing to rise to the challenge!

The Work of the Cultural Development Foundation
Assumption Knights Steelpan Group
We at CDF are attempting to do great things and Saint Lucia's culture needs the work we want to do. Saint Lucia needs the opportunities that the CDF is working hard to bring to the table - training and development programmes for all levels of need, in communities around the island (none of this North - South divide stuff!). You see, this organization (a statutory body) used to really spend most of it's time and money running our various cultural festivals - that in and of itself was a good thing and done pretty well, but the development aspect of the work it was supposed to be seemed always to have to take a back seat: limited funds, limited resources. Now we have solved one part of the challenge - the Human Resource has been expanded and reorganized...but, the limited funds and other resources remain challenging to us.

Like all countries, we are not at all immune to the economic crisis - Saint Lucia has had to breathe in and tighten our cummerbunds. But CDF, even in this time of hardship, recognized the immense role that Culture and Arts could play - creative expression, self-employment, alternative occupations, support product for the crucial Tourism Industry, voice for the disenfranchised and the youth, etc, etc. But it is a challenge.

Indiegogo - Crowd Funding

Part of my job - though the title doesn't say - is to raise funds for the organization - discretionary (ie tied to specific uses) and non-discretionary (for us to apply as and where needed). This we traditionally do by reaching out to our relatively small local corporate sector and they respond as best they can. But my department wants to take it further afield - and not just for cash donations - yes, those are crucial and pressing in the immediate term - but also for in-kind. For the cash though, we've launched our first crowd funding campaign...we have $20 so far!!! Here it is https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/summer-of-the-arts donations start from $5 if you'd like to bump up our total a bit!!!

And oh! we do have some pretty nice perks to thank you too - our photographers and writers, 27 at last count - pitched in and donated gorgeous photos and a wide variety of short stories, poems and opinion pieces for us to create digital wall papers, calendars and an ebook, so the perks are nice too!

Creating a Movement
We want to develop a movement across the globe - a gathering of people who for whatever reasons - have an interest in supporting the CDF's work in developing the arts and culture of Saint Lucia - from pure creative expression for enjoyment and personal growth, through to the business end for employment and income generation.

What would this 'movement' do? Well if it turns out to be a real movement, it will actually define it's own work! But we see possibilities for partnerships across the globe - exchanges; input of skills - training, workshops; mentoring - artists residencies, business and industry insights; promotion - word of mouth, tell-a-friend support for our activities and fundraising, sharing info on what's going on in the arts & culture world in Saint Lucia and so on.

Kickstarting it
Well aside from launching our Summer of the Arts Indiegogo campaign, which is off to a slow start, and I'm hoping you'll help with getting moving a little faster by popping over and dropping a little $$ in our till - we're also getting going with one of my favourite things...

Supporting Free Speech
We're gearing up to launch our website's blog! Again, we reached out to the community, to people we know are passionate about the arts and culture, and asked them to consider blogging for us on our website www.cdfstlucia.org ; on any topic relating to arts and culture that inspires them.

We now have 6 persons on-board and I think you'll find that blog turns out to be quite interesting. We hope that a lot of very free discussion will happen there - we will not be doing much moderation (except profanity, overtly political or likely to put us in court stuff, and of course the annoying spam). So check that out - drop us a line if you'd like to contribute as a writer. Subscribe to the blog (we should have that in place by later today!)

So....I hope you'll pop over to our Indiegogo Campaign and see if it's something you'd like to support and spread the word about. And I hope you'll join us on our blog as we get going there too...and yes, I hope you'll be staying here with me too! It's good to 'see' you all again!