Rich Art with No Budget

Photo by Mandie Rose — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

A new festival has adopted the model of a successful tech start-up.

In each of the start-ups of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a few people came together to create a platform for networking, exchanging ideas, and showing work. It’s easy to forget that when they began, no one knew how much they would grow — not only as communities but also as businesses.

This week the Zero Budget Festival takes place in Poland, hosted by the City of Wroclaw and the Teatralny Zbigniewa Raszewskiego. The festival is created and produced by the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, based in Pontedera, in collaboration with Wroclaw’s Grotowski Institute.

The idea is simple: zero budget, zero income, and all events are free.

An open invitation was sent to performers, musicians, poets, scholars, managers and students. The question to answer: what world do we live in?

Will it work? Right now individuals and companies from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Russia and the United States have come together for two weeks of performances, video showings, art installations, readings, and open forums.

This is a gathering that cuts across borders, disciplines, and levels of accomplishment. Creating this kind of platform for exchange and exposure is exactly what our web world tries to do — from Facebook to Chris Anderson’s Freemium model to KadmusArts.

Of course, KadmusArts gets to showcase every new idea, performance, and program across festivals in 154 countries, every day. Given that everyone is offering their work for free, the Zero Budget Festival does not provide an immediate pay-off for the artists. It can be, though, a sweet beginning.

A new community of seekers is coming together. New work is being created. And, new audiences are there to bear witness and to inspire the artists.

There might be no budget, but there is a richness to be valued.

- Bill Reichblum

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