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      Jennifer Schwartz and the Crusade Engagement Grant  by Aline Smithson March 20, 2014  With the April 1st deadline on the horizon, I thought it was time to check in with Jennifer Schwartz to find out more about  The Crusade Engagement Grant . It’s a unique approach to grant giving and inspires photographers to consider taking the reigns of their own trajectory and inspires out-of-the-box thinking.  As Jennifer states, “Prodigious effort is going into programs and initiatives that create supply – opportunities to educate artists and help them create and exhibit work – which is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of fine art photographers and huge volumes of their art. Little support focuses on creating a demand for this art. Demand is not keeping up with supply, and if not corrected, will create a huge imbalance where there is an abundance of art but no audience for it. Crusade for Art is dedicated to cultivating demand for art.”  The Crusade Engagement Grant looks really exciting. How did the idea come about?  Crusade for Art is about creating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Last year I drove around the country in a VW bus for the  Crusade for Collecting Tour  – a crazy idea I had to build new audiences for photography. I gave talks in almost all of the ten cities I visited, and after I would finish, several people would always come up to me and say that no one else was talking about how to connect people to their art. Now I don’t know if this is true, but it was true enough. And how could this be? We talk so much about making the art, but what about building collectors and connecting to audiences? Isn’t that a huge reason we make art in the first place?  As I was driving around the country (slowly, since driving above 50mph was not recommended for this particularly temperamental vehicle), I thought about how to get a lot of photographers thinking about cultivating demand for art. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I thought if we could get our creative force – our artists – behind this problem, we may have a decent chance at creating real systemic change that would benefit the entire arts ecology. More art lovers, more art collectors, more thriving artists, more stable galleries, more supported museums. . . a win for everyone.  So how to get a large volume of photographers to brainstorm? Offer them a lot of money. It seemed simple enough, and hopefully it will work. We are looking for projects that focus on creating demand for photography and provide a concrete plan to create one-to-one connections between the photographer, the viewer, and the audience. So start thinking people! Ten thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change for being creative and doing something to make the art world a more viable place for everyone.  Are you going to share the winning idea with the world?  We will absolutely share the winning idea. The Crusade Engagement Grant will be awarded to an individual photographer or group of photographers with the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base. The unrestricted grant is created both to generate and highlight these innovations, and to underwrite the execution of the best idea. The top ideas may inspire other artists to create their own. I have gotten a lot of feedback like this: “It’s just a very different type of “application” and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about.”  Which is the point. Many of the applications so far have been photographers submitting artist statements, not a project idea or plan to engage people with their work. It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.  You, yourself, have been hard at work finding new ways to connect with an audience over the years–your programs Crusade for Collecting and The Ten were innovations on connecting with a bigger audience. Can you share your experience with that?  I am passionate about finding audiences for photography, and that interest started when I opened Jennifer Schwartz Gallery five years ago (the gallery closed at the end of 2013, so I could run the non-profit full time). I hung photographs on the wall, opened the doors, and then said to myself, “Where is everyone?” And the people who did come, weren’t necessarily the people I wanted. I needed buyers, and I needed to figure out how to find them. I thought a lot about who exactly I was trying to attract to the gallery and how to get them there. I began developing programs like  Walk Away With Art ,  ArtFeast ,  Art Circle , and others to get new people in Atlanta excited about photography, and specifically the photographers I was showing. Eventually, I wanted to engage new audiences beyond Atlanta, which is what prompted the  Crusade for Collecting Tour  and The Ten project.     What propelled you to close your gallery doors and become a not-for-profit entity?  The ideas, successes, and experiences of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, The Ten, and the Crusade for Collecting Tour have informed the mission and direction of Crusade for Art. Ultimately, I felt I could make a larger impact by focusing full-time on the non-profit. I have been able to take the parts of the gallery I most enjoyed – promoting and developing the careers of photographers and creating programs to cultivate collectors – and establish an organization whose mission is dedicated to those very things.  I can only imagine what else you have up your sleeve…anything you’d care to share?  We just published a book,  Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers , an accessible guide to help photographers navigate and demystify the fine art photography world. It’s an exciting resource, with contributions from more than 25 industry leaders. All of the proceeds go to Crusade for Art, so you can get some knowledge and help fund our programming!

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Lenscratch

Jennifer Schwartz and the Crusade Engagement Grant by Aline Smithson March 20, 2014

With the April 1st deadline on the horizon, I thought it was time to check in with Jennifer Schwartz to find out more about The Crusade Engagement Grant. It’s a unique approach to grant giving and inspires photographers to consider taking the reigns of their own trajectory and inspires out-of-the-box thinking.

As Jennifer states, “Prodigious effort is going into programs and initiatives that create supply – opportunities to educate artists and help them create and exhibit work – which is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of fine art photographers and huge volumes of their art. Little support focuses on creating a demand for this art. Demand is not keeping up with supply, and if not corrected, will create a huge imbalance where there is an abundance of art but no audience for it. Crusade for Art is dedicated to cultivating demand for art.”

The Crusade Engagement Grant looks really exciting. How did the idea come about?

Crusade for Art is about creating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Last year I drove around the country in a VW bus for the Crusade for Collecting Tour – a crazy idea I had to build new audiences for photography. I gave talks in almost all of the ten cities I visited, and after I would finish, several people would always come up to me and say that no one else was talking about how to connect people to their art. Now I don’t know if this is true, but it was true enough. And how could this be? We talk so much about making the art, but what about building collectors and connecting to audiences? Isn’t that a huge reason we make art in the first place?

As I was driving around the country (slowly, since driving above 50mph was not recommended for this particularly temperamental vehicle), I thought about how to get a lot of photographers thinking about cultivating demand for art. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I thought if we could get our creative force – our artists – behind this problem, we may have a decent chance at creating real systemic change that would benefit the entire arts ecology. More art lovers, more art collectors, more thriving artists, more stable galleries, more supported museums. . . a win for everyone.

So how to get a large volume of photographers to brainstorm? Offer them a lot of money. It seemed simple enough, and hopefully it will work. We are looking for projects that focus on creating demand for photography and provide a concrete plan to create one-to-one connections between the photographer, the viewer, and the audience. So start thinking people! Ten thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change for being creative and doing something to make the art world a more viable place for everyone.

Are you going to share the winning idea with the world?

We will absolutely share the winning idea. The Crusade Engagement Grant will be awarded to an individual photographer or group of photographers with the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base. The unrestricted grant is created both to generate and highlight these innovations, and to underwrite the execution of the best idea. The top ideas may inspire other artists to create their own. I have gotten a lot of feedback like this: “It’s just a very different type of “application” and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about.”

Which is the point. Many of the applications so far have been photographers submitting artist statements, not a project idea or plan to engage people with their work. It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.

You, yourself, have been hard at work finding new ways to connect with an audience over the years–your programs Crusade for Collecting and The Ten were innovations on connecting with a bigger audience. Can you share your experience with that?

I am passionate about finding audiences for photography, and that interest started when I opened Jennifer Schwartz Gallery five years ago (the gallery closed at the end of 2013, so I could run the non-profit full time). I hung photographs on the wall, opened the doors, and then said to myself, “Where is everyone?” And the people who did come, weren’t necessarily the people I wanted. I needed buyers, and I needed to figure out how to find them. I thought a lot about who exactly I was trying to attract to the gallery and how to get them there. I began developing programs like Walk Away With ArtArtFeastArt Circle, and others to get new people in Atlanta excited about photography, and specifically the photographers I was showing. Eventually, I wanted to engage new audiences beyond Atlanta, which is what prompted the Crusade for Collecting Tour and The Ten project.

What propelled you to close your gallery doors and become a not-for-profit entity?

The ideas, successes, and experiences of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, The Ten, and the Crusade for Collecting Tour have informed the mission and direction of Crusade for Art. Ultimately, I felt I could make a larger impact by focusing full-time on the non-profit. I have been able to take the parts of the gallery I most enjoyed – promoting and developing the careers of photographers and creating programs to cultivate collectors – and establish an organization whose mission is dedicated to those very things.

I can only imagine what else you have up your sleeve…anything you’d care to share?

We just published a book, Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers, an accessible guide to help photographers navigate and demystify the fine art photography world. It’s an exciting resource, with contributions from more than 25 industry leaders. All of the proceeds go to Crusade for Art, so you can get some knowledge and help fund our programming!

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      $10,000 to Build An Audience for Your Photography  by Joseph Gamble March 4, 2014  Atlanta-based Jennifer Schwartz, creator of  Crusade for Art , wants to help fine art photographers build and grow their audience. To that end, Schwartz, whose bicoastal Crusade for Collecting bus tour was  profiled in September , has launched the  Crusade Engagement Grant . The award is a $10,000 prize aimed at assisting a photographer or photo collective in building and engaging an audience.  The money is being sourced through fundraising, largely through the contributions of individual donors. Guidelines include writing a 500-word pitch and can be viewed  here . There is a $20 submission fee that covers the cost of administering the grant for the workshop.  “We tried to make this fee as low as possible (it is below average for an application fee), so that the fee would not deter people from applying, while still covering our administrative costs,” said Schwartz.  Photographers tend to view the opportunity as a means of raising capital to execute projects or offset expenses involved with exhibitions or book printing but Schwartz is quick to caution against these proposals. The grant specifically states that the jurors are “looking for the most creative and original ideas to create and foster demand for fine art photography.”  The Crusade for Engagement grant seeks to break down the barriers that often keep art from a general audience and make it inaccessible and exclusive. As the call for entries makes clear, a key to success is the development of “an aesthetic experience – one that actively involves the viewer’s senses, emotion, and intellect.”  “I have gotten a lot of feedback like this ‑  ’It’s just a very different type of application and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about,’” said Schwartz. “It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.”  Schwartz, who directs the non-profit Crusade for Art, and the assistant director will do the initial screening of applicants. Five to ten finalists will then submit a larger application that will be reviewed by a selection committee of three. These photographic industry leaders will select the grant award recipient based on “the proposed project’s creativity, originality, and probability for success as well as the applicant’s credibility and references.”  Committee members are Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at  The New Yorker , Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director at Colorado Photographic Arts Center.  “It was very important to us that the selection committee be made up of industry people who were forward-thinking, open-minded, and had an interest in photographers at all levels,” said Schwartz. “These three are also geographically diverse, which I think is beneficial as well.”  You can learn more about Jennifer’s Crusade for Art as well as the grant online  here . Applications are due on April 1 with finalists announced on May 15, 2014.

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fstoppers

$10,000 to Build An Audience for Your Photography by Joseph Gamble March 4, 2014

Atlanta-based Jennifer Schwartz, creator of Crusade for Art, wants to help fine art photographers build and grow their audience. To that end, Schwartz, whose bicoastal Crusade for Collecting bus tour was profiled in September, has launched the Crusade Engagement Grant. The award is a $10,000 prize aimed at assisting a photographer or photo collective in building and engaging an audience.

The money is being sourced through fundraising, largely through the contributions of individual donors. Guidelines include writing a 500-word pitch and can be viewed here. There is a $20 submission fee that covers the cost of administering the grant for the workshop.

“We tried to make this fee as low as possible (it is below average for an application fee), so that the fee would not deter people from applying, while still covering our administrative costs,” said Schwartz.

Photographers tend to view the opportunity as a means of raising capital to execute projects or offset expenses involved with exhibitions or book printing but Schwartz is quick to caution against these proposals. The grant specifically states that the jurors are “looking for the most creative and original ideas to create and foster demand for fine art photography.”

The Crusade for Engagement grant seeks to break down the barriers that often keep art from a general audience and make it inaccessible and exclusive. As the call for entries makes clear, a key to success is the development of “an aesthetic experience – one that actively involves the viewer’s senses, emotion, and intellect.”

“I have gotten a lot of feedback like this ‑  ’It’s just a very different type of application and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about,’” said Schwartz. “It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.”

Schwartz, who directs the non-profit Crusade for Art, and the assistant director will do the initial screening of applicants. Five to ten finalists will then submit a larger application that will be reviewed by a selection committee of three. These photographic industry leaders will select the grant award recipient based on “the proposed project’s creativity, originality, and probability for success as well as the applicant’s credibility and references.”  Committee members are Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at The New Yorker, Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director at Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

“It was very important to us that the selection committee be made up of industry people who were forward-thinking, open-minded, and had an interest in photographers at all levels,” said Schwartz. “These three are also geographically diverse, which I think is beneficial as well.”

You can learn more about Jennifer’s Crusade for Art as well as the grant online here. Applications are due on April 1 with finalists announced on May 15, 2014.

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One Hour Photo Show: Talkin' About $10K

One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo

Yesterday I co-hosted the One Hour Photo Show with Anderson Smith, which I LOVED, since my not-so-secret dream job is to be a talk radio host.  We had a great time, and spent a lot of the hour talking about the Crusade Engagement Grant and what we are looking for in a project proposal.  We also discussed the best practices book, Crusade For Your Art, that will be coming out in a couple of weeks, and some of the gems of info you will find inside. So take a listen here!

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