Fundraisable me?

February 11, 2008

So this is the state of MFA programs and arts funding in America in 2008: I got a more or less unprecedented chance to get extra-embedded with the unit I was embedded with in Fake Afghanistan, except this time I would meet them in Texas, fly over with them to (real) Afghanistan or Iraq, and be there along with them during their deployment.  This isn’t set in stone but this is the direction things are heading in.

Chance of a lifetime, right?  The problem is that I can’t afford it.  I recently read a small piece in The New Yorker about a farmer-turned-photojournalist and they have him down as shelling out $20,000 for this kind of thing.  If I buy used body armor (it’s required) and hitch a ride with the Army, etc. I think I can whittle that down to $3,000.   (And that’s my conservative, “I might run out of money if things go wrong and end up stranded in Kuwait” budget.)  So I’m faced with a choice: try to raise the money, or pay for everything myself and stop paying all other bills, lose my car, etc. etc.

Various art world people I have talked to who are familiar with artists’ grants and the like have all agreed that the thing for me to do is have a fundraiser.   A fundraiser.  As in a kind of Send Nicholas Grider to a Warzone Bakesale.   For which I would probably would not even break even, because the money I would have to spend on liquor to get people to attend would be greater than the amount I’d take in.

There are a few problems with this idea, my basic human dignity being one of them, but the main one is: I can only think of one person who would actually donate.  (Hi, Will!)  If my fellow classmates don’t even want me in the graduation show, they’re not going to want to give me $10 toward buying a kevlar vest.

So do I just empty my bank account and go for it?  Right now I don’t even have $3,000, so that means selling a lot of stuff, including plasma, and getting a few extra jobs, if I can get hired.  But the stubborn part of me would rather starve to death doing this than be beholden to a (theoretical) bunch of people for the rest of my life. 


3 Responses to “Fundraisable me?”

  1. Jeanne Says:

    Do what you want to:)

  2. AdamFeldmeth Says:

    I will contribute and I don’t drink so there will be no need of anything in return. Imagine, a bake sale in which people don’t need to buy the cupcake for a dollar in order to give a dollar.

  3. Will Says:

    Definitely the weirdest bake sale I’ve ever heard of.
    You can definitely count on my contribution to the
    “protect our treasured friend, the brilliant artist, from shrapnel” effort.

    My other suggestion is, inasmuch as things look green-lit,
    posting messages about this as widely as possible. People
    have turned up sizeable donations quickly by getting the
    word out. I’d check Znet and other indy media sites (,
    for people to write to (journalists could spread the word among
    contacts/blog readers really quickly). I’m not sure if you’re into it,
    but James T. Harris (young, charismatic history teacher from our
    high school, started the social awareness group that did the classroom performances about slavery, etc.) has a radio show/website in Milwaukee now. He
    could be someone to write to, if you can stomach his weird
    brand of community-based right wing-ishness.

    Also, more generally, wow, congratulations, and holy f&*%.

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