In 2007/2008 Maria Teicher and I started the artist collaborative named The Art Is Not Dead. The name we landed on came from lyrics I wrote around 2007, from a song titled “No, It’s Just Different” (Here’s a video of me performing the song in Bruck an der Leitha, Austria in 2008). Around that time we consistently heard how dead art was, and from the vast amount of creative talent from people we’d met in the last few years (as well as from a historical context), we disagreed. We truly desired finding a way to not only bring those people together, but help them any other way we could.
Therefore, The Art Is Not Dead started as a small indie record label and creative exhibition space (in south Philadelphia, which started in 2009 and ran until 2012). We were looking for an artist community within the city we resided, and set forth to find and tie into it (or build it). There’s much more of an expansive history behind all of this, but we’ll save that for another day. Let’s jump forward a few years…
After much planning throughout 2014 and 2015, we decided that in order to scale up and provide a larger impact in Philadelphia and for its exhibiting artists/musicians, we needed to incorporate into a non-profit organization. This confused many of our peers, to which we explain thusly:
Maria and I provide our services for artists for free or at-cost. We also both have our full time creative endeavors, full time jobs, and the typical perils of life. We’d like others to provide similar services to what we provide, but it’s hard to ask someone else to do it for free – nor should they (unless they’re crazy like me and Maria!). For example: If a recording engineer is good at his job, why should he take away time from his schedule that compensates him for his quality work in order to help out a Philadelphia band? Instead, what if we could, as a non-profit, pay that same recording engineer their going rate (or potentially a lower rate if they wanted to donate some of their time), so that the band receives assistance with the recording of their album AND the engineer is justly compensated?
What if we could provide more than just what Maria and I personally could provide?
So with the direction of incorporating as a non-profit, much was done throughout the first half of 2015. Business planning, meetings with small business professionals and lawyers, writing articles of incorporation, writing bylaws of organization, filing other necessary State and Federal paperwork – it was a tremendous undertaking. For us, and the vision of what The Art Is Not Dead could offer artists, musicians, and creatives – it was a task worth tackling.
On May 28, 2015, we received the acceptance of our incorporation within the state of Pennsylvania – the first completed step in the entire process of legitimizing a non-profit. For the purposes of this, I want to reflect on what has happened in the one-year since that moment. In the year since we incorporated with the state of Pennsylvania, The Art Is Not Dead has…
- Helped two artists build/update website
- Released album Welter – Live at 502 South released (which was recorded in March 2015) on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Recorded, mixed, and mastered material from Welter, which would later be released as the album X-Mas And Regifts on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Opened The Art Is Not Dead credit and bank accounts
- Published first physical advertisement
- Started Philadelphia artist interview series
- Released album Baroquen Bass – A Four Stringed Sonata on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Started Philly Critique Alliance; a forum for Philly artists (and beyond) to talk technique, concept, and how to improve on the work they create
- Collaborated with Dr. Sketchy’s Philly for a photography and life drawing master class
- Released album Welter – X-mas And Regifts on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Received 503(c)(3) Federal exception determination letter!!! <– THIS is what made us an official Federal non-profit!
- Featured in video explaining The Art Is Not Dead and its partnership with 502 South
- Released album 502 South Presents: Philly Rock Comp – Volume 3 on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Held first in-person Philly Critique Alliance session in The Art Is Not Dead space; included artists from Philadelphia, NJ, and NYC
- Filed 2015 taxes for The Art Is Not Dead Inc
- Received first corporate donation
- Created Community’s Not Dead social media page
- Approved for donation solicitation within state of Pennsylvania
- Started “Openings And Exhibitions To See“; a blog newsletter highlighting artist/gallery exhibitions in Philadelphia (or involving artists tied to the Philadelphia art community)
- Mastered material for an upcoming release from the band Readership
- Released album JunioR – Music To Paint To released on The Art Is Not Dead Records
- Mastered the band Circadian Frequency’s EP Mythos Vol2
- Held second in-person Philly Critique Alliance session in The Art Is Not Dead space; included artists from Philadelphia, NJ, and video conferencing artist from Japan
- Attended/held multiple meetings to discuss first guest lecturers for events in 2016 (including “art history lecture” series with Kat Gun and “social media for the emerging artist lecture” series)
- Created financial structure to receive donations
- Held meeting(s) to discuss first group show event for 2016
- Recorded and mixed material from the band Science Club
- Recorded and mixed material from the band Welter
- Held third in-person Philly Critique Alliance session in The Art Is Not Dead space; included artists from Philadelphia, NYC, NJ, and video conferencing artist from Japan
- Received second corporate donation
- Mastered material from Science Club, Welter, and Readership for upcoming The Art Is Not Dead Records release, and created promo video for it (see below).
We’ve come a long way over the years. There’s still an exciting road ahead, and we have some wonderful things in store throughout the remainder of 2016 and beyond. Thank you all who have been part of this journey, from encouraging words to sweat-equity. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without your participation and enthusiasm.
“The art is not dead, no, it’s just different – at least it is to me”