December 7, 2010
Watched an extraordinary and highly improbable five-minute animated film on YouTube yesterday which succinctly captures the disjunct between the non-profit arts funding model and the general public's understanding of the economics involved in creating non-commerical art in this country.
I say "improbable" because the tongue-in-cheek film, entitled "Explaining an Arts NonProfit," takes the form of a conversation between two saccharine-cute, tubby, panda-bear-like characters with tinny computer-processed voices. It sounds like an exchange out of a Level 1 foreign language textbook as delivered by HAL or two of Dr. Who's Daleks and looks like a Japanese children's TV show.
One character, the leader of a small, professional vocal ensemble, politely hits all of the vacuous "mission statement"-type ideas that art makers put into their funding proposals in order to get funding or use to talk to other constituents in order to solicit private donations. The other character, an audience member who loves the ensemble's music but doesn't understand why he can't get free concert tickets, responds to all of the choral directors assertions about "tax-deductible donations" and "CD sales don't make as much money as the cost of producing the CDs" with completely reasonable yet somehow outrageous statements like "that sounds like bad business practice."
In short, the two characters, though they try to see eye to eye and are stiffly polite to each other throughout the conversation, are at a complete impasse.
Click here to view the film.