A couple of people emailed me privately and asked how to start an arts group.
Please remember, I am a beginner at this, but am learning. There may be some
more experienced people out there who can help.
Let's review: There is a huge amount of money available for
dance/cultural/community/arts organizations. At this point in time, the
Irish American community is getting virtually none of it, as the culture is
generally not respected in this society as being diverse.
With great persistence, various barriers can be overcome.
My first suggestion would be to go down to your city's arts agency (every
large American/Canadian city has this) and inquire about how to set up a non
profit. It may seem like a lot of work, but most funding is available for
non profits. You may even be able to work yourself into a job. You write
grants full time for your organization. Some organizations go from zero
budgets to a very large budget in a short time.
Anyway, you don't have to make it a full time job. You DO need someone who
has the time to do some groundwork and write up a grant. This is a great
project for someone who is semi-retired or a housewife (or househusband). I
wrote one up in less than an hour. It would also help to network and attend
various meetings about how to start a non-profit.
Look around your local community. See how other communities do it, go look
at the Italian Center, the Japanese Center, etc. You may be amazed, I was,
at how much money goes to ethnic-specific groups. Approximately 10% of the
U.S. GNP goes to nonprofits, does that give you an idea how big a business
Check it out, observe and emulate other community groups. There is also a
large chunk of money called CDBG grants. I am just starting to hear about
these. These are culture-specific grants, and each ethnic group (except
Irish) get a large chunk of this dough. Look around you, don't just drive
by, go into the various ethnic centers and get some ideas.
For example, in San Jose, the Japanese Americans have several blocks in the
downtown area devoted to their culture, complete with memorials to their
history, and a community center, funded by the taxpayers. One of the
services is an ethnic specific progam for the elderly, subsidized by the
taxpayers. The Japanese are one of the highest income groups in the area.
Grants are not given based on need, but rather on advocacy. The Japanese
Americans, to their great credit, have very effectively advocated for their
elderly, as well as their young people. Quite a contrast to what the Irish
have done for their elderly.
After you get your nonprofit started and off the ground, you ask your city
council member for some office space. Bingo, you now have an ethnic cultural
center subsidized by the taxpayers.
Check it out, I am a rank beginner at this, still astounded at how much
money is given out on an ethnic specific basis. Let's think positively and
tap into it, to help everyone in the multiculture to be enriched by
P.S. Even United Way gives out a lot of money that is ethnic specific, again
not based on need in many cases. (Sometimes the wealthiest ethnics are the
best at advocating for their own) Look at a breakdown of where the United
Way money goes and you'll see that many ethnic/cultural groups get a part of
it, but not the Irish.
At 05:12 PM 12/10/96 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 12/10/96, Moira wrote:
>>For example, when I tried to get funding for a Celtic dance group, the arts
>>adminstrator argued with me for 20 minutes that the Irish do not have a
>>culture, that they are "white" and not deserving of grants, and that the
>>Irish do not belong in the multiculture.>>>
>My grandmother once told me that when she moved to America, she was told by
>everyone to subdue her accent, forget the old language, and try to blend in.
> She also told me that all of her friends from Ireland did the same thing,
>including not telling their kids anything about their heritage. It was
>enough just to be an American. While I DO feel privileged to be a US
>Citizen, I am saddened by the fact that so many Irish weren't more tenacious
>about holding onto their cultural identity. This is a lesson which we can
>learn from other cultures who immigrate to America. Many of them have
>managed to blend in, without diluting where they came from. And isn't that
>what 'mulit-culturalism' is all about?