SANTA MONICA, CA.- Cuts in funding for the Arts and almost non-existent resources for individual artists in the United States, has lead Santa Monica based artist/painter Barbara Kolo to seek alternative methods. The artist has opened an online store with Cafepress to help sponsor her invitation to the 2005 Florence Biennale (Biennale Internazionale Dell"Arte Contemporanea) this December in Italy.
"Many artists assume there is funding available for participating in the Florence Biennial. It is important to clarify that specific funding for exhibition costs, including participation fees, insurance, shipping, or travel, does not really exist in the Untied States, with a few minor exceptions" writes Melissa Potter, Program Officer NYFA Source. "After reading this statement on the New York Foundation for the Arts website, I knew I had to be creative with seeking funding for my expenses in the Florence Biennale. I thought of selling T-shirts to raise funds, but didn't think I'd be able to reach enough people to make a profit until I discovered Cafepress", says Barbara. Cafepress is an on-line marketplace that offers turnkey e-commerce services to the public. The public can independently create and sell a wide variety of products including T-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers.
Barbara will be representing the United States along with other invited American Artists at the Florence Biennale. The fifth edition of the Florence Biennale will take place this year in the historical Fortezza da Basso from December 3-11. Over 800 painters, sculptors, performance, and graphic artists commence for this biannual pre-holiday event. The Florence Biennale provides musical and cultural events and exhibits up to 2500 works by artists from over 70 different countries. This year internationally known artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude as well as American artist Richard Anuszkiewicz will be honored with the Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico for Lifetime Achievement.
"A majority of Florence Biennale artists succeed in finding full or partial sponsorships for their participation Several countries pay the shares for up to 25 artists." says John Spike, Director of Florence Biennale. Barbara is determined to be one of the majorities and she realizes that her funding will not come from the U. S. government." I believe that the American people are generous and that they value the arts. Many people complain about the cuts for art programs in schools and in their community. It's time to change the system and present people with new ways to support the arts and artists. My shop on Cafepress is a good start on a grass roots level." states Barbara.