Crowdfunding

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In this week’s installment of Art Related Things I Read in the New York Times (previous installments 1 and 2), at the end of December I read an article about the recent shift towards crowdfunding by major institutions in Paris. Austerity measures that are sweeping across Europe have been particularly hard on France, where the first cultural budget cut in more than 30 years has resulted in only (a meager) $3.1 billion. “Money for new art acquisitions has shrunk to $11.1 million, from $26 million in 2009,” according to the article. Thanks to a French start-up, called My Major Company, anyone can donate to help, say, restore the dome of the Pantheon, or help the Louvre acquire a 13th-century pair of statuettes. In fact, with the help of 2,500 art-enthusiast average Joes, the Louvre has raised over $650k. In 2010, when they wanted a 16th-century oil painting, crowdfunding helped raise $1.6m. Donations earn exclusive tickets to private events and parties, or just a photograph of your face outside the entrance to the Pantheon. Personally, I’d like a wing dedicated in my honor, but that’s just because I’m greedy.

Public funding of the arts is sort of a staple here (think: PBS, list of major donors etched into every wall of every museum in the country) but is a relatively new phenomenon in France. I’d like to think that I’d contribute to the Lyon Museum’s bid for a $1m Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painting, but I (shamefully) don’t even donate to the arts here aside from an annual membership to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. People generally want incentives for their generosity (the article even mentions the ubiquitous free PBS tote bags). Would you donate to art for art’s sake? Or would the tickets to a private party at the Louvre really sway you?

Let’s Try This Again, Shall We?

Remember my 2012 attempt at a 365 Project? I’m starting it again! So far I’m 1/1, which is a great way to kick things off. Last year I burnt out halfway through and only lasted to June 30th. But now it’s a new year and I’m giving it another valiant effort. I know it will be difficult (it was last year on top of blogging every day here and working full-time, wah, wah, First World Problems) and I’m hoping I won’t be thrown off track or lose steam. I’m adopting a new mentality about the whole thing though, because last year it started to feel like an onerous chore after 6 months, and I won’t let myself feel guilty about missing a day or capturing a shot with my phone if need be. No pressure, no rules, no stress. It’s photography, after all. It’s supposed to be fun.

Anyone else giving it a shot this year? Photography pun!

Tiny Paris Apartment

Happy New Year! I ended up making it to midnight by some stroke of magic, though the half bottle of Moscato I had at dinner didn’t help. I slept for an obscene 10 and a half hours to make up for my raging debauchery (laying on the sofa), and I’m starting 2013 feeling refreshed and lazy. How was your NYE celebration? Tell me it was wild and that someone out there knows how to party.

I’ll be in Paris in a little over two months (!!!!), so there is a lot of apartment hunting going on. Last time, we stayed in two fabulous hotels in the 17eme, but since that wiped out all of Boyfriend’s hotel points, we’re doing what we did in Bruges on the same trip and renting a furnished apartment through AirBNB. Of course, this is inspiring tons of “What if I lived in Paris in a tiny apartment?” fantasies. I’m going to start a new series on the blog this year, wherein I find teeny tiny apartments and furnish them as a way to work out my intense desire to actually make it a reality (hopefully one day it will be).

Today, we’re looking at this tiny apartment in the 17eme on Rue Des Acacias. It’s a 6th floor studio, taking up all of 13m², or 139ft². I adore small spaces; I think they are cosy and romantic and way more fun to decorate because of their size constraints than something, say, bigger than a closet. Let’s take a look:

Typical Parisian window, check. Wood floors, check. Bathroom with a toilet and shower that aren’t out in the hallway? Check. Hideous kitchen tile I would paint over or slap some white contact paper on? Check. But the apartment is perfect. Or it could be perfect, if I could get my hands on it. It’s enough room for me to eat, sleep, and write comfortably. And the piece de resistance? It’s only $643 a month!

Here’s how I would decorate:

1. Chandelier / 2. Blanket / 3. Radio / 4. Sheets / 5. Dresser / 6. Vases / 7. Tray / 8. Table & Chairs / 9. Rug

That ugly sofa bed needs some new sheets and a crisp white duvet set. I’d swap out that sad tv stand by the window and postage-stamp-sized television for a vintage-y dresser for added storage, and I’d take out the paper lantern on the ceiling and hang a glamourous chandelier instead. Same goes for the mismatched folding chairs and table. A bistro-esque table and chairs would be much more charming in that corner. On that window sill I’d place a small radio and a set of bud vases. While I love the wood floors, a big cream colored rug would add more light and softness to the space. All that’s left to do is acquire some sweet artwork (pastel, watercolors) from the many vendors along the Seine or at Les Puces to hang on the wall and really personalize the space. Otherwise, for under $1000 in  stuff that can mostly be purchased at IKEA, the studio would get an entire makeover.

What do you think? Could you see yourself living in a space so small? This is totally a starving-artist dream of mine, I have to admit.