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Funding Old Institutions

A very interesting article by Diana Nelson Jones about the decline of litmags. It gives the astonishing statistic: “Cliff Becker, literature director for the NEA, said 40 to 50 percent of the NEA’s publishing budget goes to literary journals and presses.”

This is an astonishing fact, considering that a bunch of self-publishers on the web are doing a perfectly good job, thank you. I wrote a letter to the head of NEA a few months ago complaining about their eligibility requirements for creative writing grants. The publication requirements say that you must have a certain number of publications in commercial competitive print journals, which is just absurd. I’ve been writing part time and full time for 15+ years and receive plaudits here and there (of a minor sort really), and yet, I couldn’t even fulfill the prerequisites.

I have plans for a literary community site (and I’ve talked about it to death that it’s bound to disappoint interested parties), but quite frankly, the money for arts funding needs to go straight into the pockets of the content creators themselves, not those who manage the slushpiles. At some point, grants organizations are going to need to reward online talent in a way that supports their pursuits.

That raises the uncomfortable question about whether artists these days need to be more proficient at storytelling or the technology they use to create them.

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