Non-profit meeting #2: Sunday October 3rd, 2010, 2:00pm
Location: 1110 SE Woodward St, Portland OR 97202
In attendance: Ben Dantoni, Ether Skawtus, Kim Smith, Jay Bird, Sam Sauter, Eric Bagai, Melissa Casburn, Deadletter Max, Andy, Lorien Stormfeather, Rich, John, Deb Ochoa, Brian Moran, Chuco the Driver (Skip)
Secretary: Melissa Casburn
Meeting called to order by BenD @ 2:22pm
BenD stated the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the purpose of the organization. He asked how many people have filled out the form requesting opinions on the 10 Principles; some didn't know it existed so the location of the form was clarified. BenD summarized the activities of the last meeting.
John suggested we could use the whiteboards to write values and functions, discuss them, and vote on which ones will apply to the organization. It was agreed that we start with the org purpose. The agenda was set as:
- Summary from Last Mtg
- Next Meeting
Deadletter said he has a suggested purpose to share from Raven, who could not attend. BenD wrote the draft purpose from the last meeting on the whiteboard: "Foster the creation of art & education through a transparent community-guided organization.
Melissa and Skip asked about the use of education; Deadletter said that we can work through that in a year when we formalize the org. Sam asked if that's something the group wants to foster; John suggested a welding class is one way that could look. BenD said it leaves avenues open for more possibilities. Kim asked whether we felt music should be called out or whether its implicit in "art". She also noted that community is an aspect of the art but in the current statement it indicates our structure. Jay Bird suggested the inclusion of "in the community". Deadletter noted that Raven's suggested purpose included the term "fund, organize, and represent". Melissa suggested "promote". Deadletter added "Portland, OR". BenD asked for a show of hands on whether we include a geographic reference. There was active discussion among several members about it; BenD noted that we should recommend to the LLC and to Seattle that we collaborate on grants and set aside a portion of funds for transport between events. Ben asked for objections to including "Pacific Northwest" as the regional designation, noting that we are aiming to serve this region. There was discussion about "represent" vs. "promote".
It was clarified that the purpose is NOT a mission statement, just a guiding statement for the planning process. Deadletter noted that it helps us accept AND reject certain projects we might consider over the years.
There was discussion about "community engagement" and "foster"; Lorien noted that fostering is valuable because we don't even know what artists are out there that we're not even aware of. BenD said he thinks "promote" and "foster" are similar, and "represent" and "serve" are similar. Kim asked for the process to include quiet and loud voices, and the group voted on "promote" vs. "foster". Jay Bird noted that he likes both. John noted that "represent" has politicial implications and BenD noted this broad community is hard to consistently represent. The group voted on "serve" and eliminated "represent".
It was noted that there has been no public response from Tzara about the non-profit meetings, and that he should be invited to come to these meetings to hear his opinion. Deadletter asked for more progress to be made beforehand, and BenD agreed, stating that we should work toward an understanding of whether the LLC will be in support. Deb said she also wants to hear from them about their vision as well.
Skip asked if we can discuss where we use "education" and the group voted to move it out as a function. There was discussion about how "community" is used in the statement and about what types of projects are aligned with the intent. Melissa noted that she thinks that art funded by the non-profit should serve the community instead of only being hung on the artist's wall. Deadletter asked about the use of "engagement". John suggested "foster community art and interaction". Sam suggested that one goal might be to build the community as well.
Deadletter suggested a major revision to the purpose: "Build community by fostering art, interaction, and engagement in the Pacific Northwest."
Deb said she doesnt' think we can foster engagement. Some discussion was had about the difference between "interaction" and "engagement". Some members of the group asked for "transparency" and "engagement" to be added back.
The group started brainstorming a list of values:
- responsibility (civic, personal, environmental)
BenD asked if we feel all 10 Principles apply to this organization. Here are the 10 Principles as ranked by responses to the survey located at 10 Principles Survey as of noon today. Scores are from 1 to 10, where a score of 1 is most important, 10 is least; principles are ranked below from 1 to 9 based on current score:
1- Radical Inclusion (score = 2.9)
2- Participation (score = 3.3)
3- Radical Self-Expression (score = 3.5)
4- Communal Effort (score = 3.6)
5- Radical Self-Reliance & Leave No Trace (score = 5.4)
6- Civic Responsbility (score = 5.6)
7- Immediacy (score = 6)
8- Decommodification (score = 6.5)
9- Gifting (score = 8.0)
There was discussion about the various principles and how we interpret them. There was discussion about re-interpreting the 10 Principles as they apply to a long-term organization that operates in PNW, not in the desert.
Deadletter suggested that fostering "radical art" may be an appropriate goal. He also suggested that we table values and brainstorm around functions:
- outreach to those who share our values
- community gatherings & events
- art funding (& solicitation of existing art)
- education / skill & tool sharing
- inventorying, archiving
- broadcasting & promotion
- volunteer management
- receive tax-deductible donations
- partnering with other entities to achieve shared goals
- work with the government and get permits and insurance for events
Rich raised a concern about how little structure currently exists around event planning and promotion. Kim noted that people are burned out, and Lorien said people don't know each other as a result. The group started to brainstorm around process:
- structure and planning
There was discussion about "event" vs "gathering" vs. "work" and some examples of each type. BenD raised a concern that the organizers of SOAK or Burnout might not be interested in turning over an event to this organization, and there was some discussion about what types of events this group could/should be putting on. There was reiteration of the group's desire to reach people who may never go (or want to go) to the desert. BenD stated he feels the weak point of the LLC is the grant process and that's why he was motivated to work on the creation of this organization. Deadletter feels we should offer to run Burnout in 2011: it's not currently organized, it doesn't have a locked-in team that can drive the planning. He said we should provide a very clear plan for how we would run it as a group. He suggested Burnout 2011 would provide the seed money for this organization, with other smaller parties starting shortly after to continue funding the org. There was discussion about when to announce our plans and what "transparency" means in this context. Kim stated that some people are worried that this group is subversive. Andy said he feels we should have certain plans in place before announcing our plans. Brian said he thinks having one org do SOAK and one do Burnout doesn't reflect a unified community. Lorien noted that we've explicitly avoided direct references to the BMORG or related concepts in our purpose and values, and suggested we may want to avoid running BMORG-related events. Lorien and John suggested we focus on our purpose, which has nothing to do with Burning Man proper. There was extensive conversation about how to get traction as this organization before we consider (and if we consider) offering to run Burnout.
Conversation continued about the identification of the group as "burner" or something else, and how to create inclusivity in the face of how closed the current organization has been. It was noted that there are many scenarios for how the relationships between various org play out over time. BenD stated that focusing on areas where we're not currently operating well (monthly gatherings and art grant administration) gives us time to develop process.
For the next meeting:
- Discuss getting monthly gatherings off the ground
- How can we improve the grant process?
MEETING ADJOURNED 4:19pm
NEXT MEETING: Sunday Oct 10, 2pm, 1110 SE Woodward St, Portland OR 97202