More Money, More Money, More Money
Yup, 'tis true. The lovely and delightful folks at the North Carolina Arts Council thought the Desert City was worth a little chingching. Hot Damn. I count myself very lucky to be in North Carolina for a variety of reasons and a really big one of those reasons is the NCAC and in particular Debbie McGill the literature director here. First off, the NCAC has a fairly good budget (that just got bigger even at a time when a lot of other states are tightening the belt.) The money the Council provides actually really makes a difference, allows folks to do more than they would rather than just letting organizations and artists survive. Plus, Debbie is a savvy arts advocate; she has the ability to recognize when something exciting is taking off and the resources to contribute to its rise.
A hundred million thanks to Debbie and the NCAC.
So all told now the DC has $6200 dollars for the 05/06 season. That's half the total income I sketched out for this season's budget. It's really, really, really amazing to me to realize how much money I actually have. Previously, the series was funded out of the pockets of myself, friends, and family. And now I have $6000. Wow.
So the best part is that all the money I get from here out (several more grant apps to submit) is for projects that I previously never had money for (space rental, administrative costs, advertising, chair rental/purchase, dinners, receptions, etc.) The money I have already will cover all the honorariums and travel for all the poets reading. It's pretty wonderful. That so many poets were in the past willing to come to the DC for (often) nothing is both a terrible and beautiful part of the poetry world. Beautiful in that these people saw that the series (and reading/community building generally) was valuable enough to justify coming at their own expense. Terrible in that I think most poets (myself included) are pretty happy if the hat gets passed at the end of the reading, and we wind up with some beer money.
I believe all the poets that read in the DC (and all the poets out there reading generally) are worth a hell of a lot more than 20 bucks in change. It's pretty exciting to be able to compensate everyone the way I've always wanted to.
So I feel like I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the folks who came out to the DC for nothing over the last three years -- without all of their (your) efforts, I never would be in the position I am now. Getting these grants is a sign of the quality of the poets who have visited in the past as much as those that will come.
Hot damn. Onward.