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everything is connected, by Kate

October 24, 2010

attentively listening to an artist presentation

The first Kitchen of Innovation had its première. People came, listened, took notes, and voted. Two artists took home the cash but that was not the goal of the event.

What system flourishes in isolation? What community survives without rejuvenation and creativity?

Maybe you can name some, but I am hard-pressed to think of one.

There are places where the arts – exhibitions and performances – have become like a factory, churning out predictable wares with the decisions about who makes what held by a few – critics, grant-making panels, and wealthy patrons.

What about the people who experience and enjoy creative offerings? When do we decide which ideas to support and which artist’s project to invest in? Like growing a garden, don’t we savor things differently when we have contributed – financially, energetically – to the process? Many of us who are passionate about the works we see by DC artists search for ways to show our dedication to innovation.

Last night was about becoming stakeholders, engendering support, nurturing creativity and collaboration. The part of the evening that inspired me the most was the synergy between the ideas of the artists and the attendees’ eagerness to invest in their projects. When we collected the ballots, we saw that people had taken notes to remember the specifics of the projects. Many said they loved being at the Kitchen because they could support something they cared about and meet artists they had not yet discovered.

Our intent for the evening was to nurture the innovation and spirit of camaraderie that make it possible for communities and the arts to flourish.

Congratulations to Holly Bass and Kristina Bilonick who shared the purse: $1000 donated by the attendees who gathered.

Bass and Bilonick posing in the kitchen, photo by Philippa Hughes

We hope that other outcomes were enjoyed by everyone: meeting people, sharing ideas and hearing about the diversity of work being made in our community.

Too often I have seen artists stymied by the quest for awards or favorable reviews and paralyzed by funding structures that make them work around parameters antithetical to their process. KOI was about usurping that model and putting power in the hands of the people.

Artists who prosper tend to be those who have people invested in their work, aware of their vision and committed to its realization. KOI was not some kind of aesthetic “American Idol.” Every person in the room shared the idea that we have the ability to shape our cultural landscape and the arts are for all and benefit everyone.

Many thanks to all our partners – especially Sweetgreen whose motto could have been written for KOI:
Keep It Real
Care About Your Impact
Share Your Gifts

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