Community dinners generate microgrants for arts-based community projects
Get in on the ground floor for just ten bucks.
It sounds like a scam, but it isn't – when Salt City DISHES holds its first quarterly dinner Sunday Jan. 23, participants will consider pitches for different community-based arts projects, then vote to fund one of the projects with a microgrant established that night from the dinner admission proceeds.
And the cost to eat, view the pitches, vote and help fund the resulting project? $10. (Or $15; admission is on a pay-what-you-can sliding scale.)
Salt City DISHES, (an acronym for Dining In. Support Happenings. Enliven Syracuse), is based on the similar Brooklyn FEAST program, created by a friend of Salt City DISHES co-founder Rachel Somerstein.
When Somerstein relocated to Syracuse last August, she saw a similar need for funding community improvement projects with a heavy dose of public art.
As of the Jan. 10 deadline for proposals, Somerstein said eight had been submitted and another handful were expected to sneak in.
She wouldn't hint at what the potential projects entailed – they'll be unveiled at the dinner – but did say she had hoped they would be thoughtful and creative, "and they are."
Somerstein said the St. Clare Theater can hold around 130 people, and she hopes to raise around $1,000 to offer to the first DISHES project.
But since it's a microgrant situation, whoever wins the funding will be held accountable for following through on their project.
At the next DISHES dinner in May, whoever wins this month's monies will present their progress. If it isn't finished, and it ought to be, they'll have to explain why – directly to the people who helped fund their work.
The DISHES steering committee includes Somerstein and co-founders Brianna Kohlbrenner and Stasya Panova; Sara Caliva, director of Northside UP; chefs Sarah Pallo and Luke Szabo; filmmaker Courtney Rile; photographer Robyn Stockdale and Jeff York, in charge of music.
DISHES runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday Jan. 23 at St. Clare Theater, 840 N. Salina St. Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance at Craft Chemistry, Second Story Café and Sound Garden.
The menu has not been finalized yet but the food (made with donated ingredients) will be prepared two local chefs, while Rhode Island-based folk funk band Brown Bird entertains.
If you have an idea for a DISHES project, but missed the January deadline, send your proposal in early for the May dinner; firstname.lastname@example.org.