ABSTRACT: In this chapter the authors argue that traditional market gatekeepers’ lack of capacity to evaluate the rapidly growing volume of art produced and distributed in the 21st century has dangerous implications for the socioeconomic diversity of successful artist-entrepreneurs. Drawing on crowdsourcing, a practice originating from the open-source software movement that centralizes the time and talent of dispersed individuals in productive ways, the authors envision a new model of institutional arts funding that promises a fairer and more meritocratic distribution of resources throughout the arts field. By channeling a portion of its grantmaking budget through a carefully cultivated online community of passionate and committed devotees of the arts, an enterprising philanthropic institution will enhance its ability to nurture the most promising artists and artist-driven organizations to maturity. At the same time, the forum will serve as an incubator of aspiring critical talent and a site for robust discussion of the rich tapestry of creative expression in the public life of our communities.
Audiences at the Gate: Re-Inventing Arts Philanthropy Through Guided Crowdsourcing