An ongoing experiment: can our community’s collective brainpower help an idea become reality?
Everita Dave is a woman who has experienced vastly different worlds: East and West, Soviet and Post-Soviet Latvia. Although not explicit to outsiders – Amnesty International rates Latvia as above average in human rights – Everita believes freedom of artistic expression in the region still suffers from a lack of inspiration, and often, a bureaucratic heavy hand. (The recent jailing of a feminist punk-rock collective in Russia is one example that has garnered international attention.)
Everita now lives in Maryland, but splits her time between there and Latvia. Although her professional background is business and project management, she’s always been drawn to the arts as an avenue for independent thinking, and a catalyst for change.
“Art, especially conceptual art, is a reflection of society, history, and culture that can tell us more than news,” she says.
Everita would like to create an organization that promotes freedom of artistic expression in the post-Soviet region.
The vision is two-fold: first, a citizen journalism platform where people submit stories of censorship for partner organizations to take action on. Second, an online art gallery to expose, empower, and support post-Soviet artists, with the hope of selling their work.
“I believe that freedom of expression can be stimulated by art that inspires and provokes people. Inspiration would lead to action and only action could prevent the re-birth of regime,” Everita says.
Everita has created a website, Cross the Red, and is in the process of refining her idea. Here are some challenges she has identified:
A beachcomber’s DIY garden art in Nida, Latvia. (Photo from Flickr’s Creative Commons via **Maurice**.)
- While the project is international in scope, she needs local buy-in to communicate the idea in the post-Soviet region.
- She’s solo now, but would love other people to help her so she can approach this in the smartest, most efficient way.
- Like most projects out there, finding funding is proving difficult.
How you can help
- Is creating an organization the right way to go? Or should this remain a project?
- Do you know of any organizations dedicated to freedom of expression that might want to partner?
- What are the legal considerations Everita needs to keep in mind if she decides to form an organization? What resources would you point her to?
- How can she find pro-bono legal counsel?
- Do you know of foundations that might want to partner to give artists grants, fellowships, etc.?
- Do you know of potential avenues of funding?
- Are you interested in collaborating in some way?
Leave a comment below or send her a message through Idealist and if the project progresses, we’ll keep you posted!
Do you have an idea that’s just starting to brew? If you’d like us to consider posting it as part of this series, email celeste [at] idealist [dot] org.