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Cornish Departments Turn to Crowdsourcing to Aid Alumni

Cornish Departments Turn to Crowdsourcing to Aid Alumni

: Courtesy of USA Projects..

Cornish’s concern for its students doesn’t end at graduation; department heads led by music’s Kent Devereaux have formed a partnership with USA Projects to help fund alumni work.

PICTURE: Homepage graphic for USA Projects; courtesy of USA Projects.

Funding for the arts should be everyone’s concern, but it’s particularly so for the department heads of a college of the arts such as Cornish. These educators work hard to prepare their students for professional life, and that work does not stop when a student is handed a Cornish diploma. Now, to assist alumni with their careers, the department heads of the college have guided Cornish into a partnership with an innovative crowd-sourced fundraising organization, USA Projects. Using the vast resources of the Internet, USA Projects brings artists from all over the country together with funders to make their projects possible.

“Crowdsourcing” is a concept that has gained tremendous traction in the past few years, paralleling the growth of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. So many people in so many far-flung locations can be reach so quickly, developers of the concept found, that even reaching a tiny fraction of them could bring a large pool of congregate expertise and funding to bear on a problem.

Kent Devereaux, chair of the Cornish music department spearheaded the partnership. “Technology is transforming not only the arts, but the way we fund the arts, and USA Projects is at the forefront of that revolution,” says Devereaux. “More and more, our faculty and alumni are leveraging the power of the Internet, working with organizations like USA Projects, to connect with a larger circle of individuals interested in funding the next generation of artists.”

Devereaux continues: “We’ve already witnessed great success with this approach; for example, without the hundreds of individuals donations received through USA Projects, Cornish music alum and current faculty member Gretta Harley’s imaginative new music theater piece These Streets would have never seen the light of day.”         

According to the USA Projects website, “Our partners are premiere arts organizations throughout the nation that recognize, support, and award outstanding artistic achievements. Among our list of partner organizations are: Creative Capital, Austin Film Society, National Performance Network (NPN), National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), Penland School of Crafts, California Community Foundation, and Film Independent.”

Now Cornish is a partner organization on that list.

USA Projects, as its site notes, grew out of two years of research and development by United States Artists to create a sustainable way to use the Internet to fulfill its mission. In May 2010, USA launched an alpha site with limited access under the name ‘Project Site’ to pilot-test the initiative and gain feedback from the community. A newly designed and expanded public beta site for USA Projects debuted in December 2010.



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