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The Endless Tension Between Creatives, Corporations and Government

There's a built-in tension between art, corporations and governments, isn't there?


Creatives, by design, aren't interested in permanent topical parameters for they're art. So it gets interesting when any government funds the arts (which the founders were generally against). Why? Because strings get attached - think Marxist countries and their thought police with government sanctioned lyrics, movies, images and paintings. Or think about PBS and NPR (which are only partially funded by the Fed) and the work to maintain funding. And if you like the direction that governing body is leaning in that moment, well, those strings are light. On the other hand, when you don't agree with them, those strings can become chains.


Corporations funding art move a bit different, right? Small organizations that gain a following inevitably grow in size, influence, money, message etc. Sub Pop as a label comes to mind, fully in control of the art they choose release. Or Ford branding placement and dialogue in movies, a blend of corporate funding, marketing and artistic navigation. Or the socio-political Marxist mission and messaging of organizations like Black Lives Matter, Inc. popping up on shirts, in songs and through policy. The difference here is that corporations are strictly designed to make money. There's nothing wrong with it either, is there? After all, what artist, collective or business doesn't want to make money in order to create more of their art / product and grow their influence, message, footprint and bank account.


Both government and corporations have boundaries. The difference is worth noting: with corporate money, as the artist you can choose which corporations you're willing to hand over a bit of influence to. You can decide which message of yours you're willing to merge, change, adopt or suppress.


Governments, on the other hand, vary. Obviously a Democratic Republic like this one doesn't force you to accept their funding, nor do they police every word, image and idea (of course there are laws etc.) so this potential partnership will function like a corporation, take it or leave it. Marxist based governments (socialism, communism) remove the choice and set the parameters for you.


Of course, there's also the independent artist setting their own bounds, agenda and creative pursuits. No strings attached.


Q. So, where are you on this spectrum of creative attachments? Where do you want to be?


Q. Are you looking to move toward government funded arts and programs? What's your next step? How will you maintain your voice and vision? How will you offer grace and truth to those whose message you don't agree with?


Q. How about growing your art as a corporate footprint? What's your goal? How will you step forward to find a partnership? What is it about your art that you'd like to commercialize?


Whatever the case, how are you navigating this tension? How do your personal values help connect these dots and set healthy boundaries?

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