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Bread! KC puts entrepreneurial spin on arts funding

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Bread! KC is a series of micro-financing events that raises project funding for artists. Ashley Holcroft, a producer from KCPT’s “Arts Upload,” recently visited one of the group’s events.

Here’s how it works: people purchase tickets which entitle them to a dinner and a vote. They hear three short presentations and then vote on which should be awarded project funding.

Sean Starowitz is one of the organizers. He said the event is mainly about community building.

“What’s happening is, if you’re a presenter, for 5 to 7 minutes you get 100 people listening to your idea. Regardless of whether they fund it or not, that’s not really what Bread! KC is actually about,” he said.

Bread! KC participants then vote on which presentation they want to receive the micro-grant.

“There’s this Midwestern politeness that’s here, but they’re also willing to be critical,” Starowitz said. “There’s this engagement and wonderment and one eye, and then they’re also critical in the other.”

The group funds projects that range from crafts to documentaries to art installations to community workshops. Starowitz said the goal is to gauge what community needs.

“We try to be responsive to the community as far as where are the funding gap’s happening. Is it performance art? Is it music? Is it curatorial practice?”

At this point, Bread! KC has raised almost $18,000 for artists in the community.

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