October 12, 2010; Source: New York Times | Have you ever dreamed of a self-sustaining revenue stream to fund your organization’s mission? The Girl Scouts have their cookies, the Life is Art foundation, located in the hills north of San Francisco, has pot plants instead.
(Of course cookies do not fund all of the wonderful Girl Scout programs accross the country.)
Life is Art funds artists in residence—who help bring in the harvest—for long-term stays. The foundation’s hope is that income from succeeding crops will fully support such projects, in perpetuity, creating a new economic engine for art philanthropy.
Besides the fact that selling marijuana remains a crime under federal law, the people behind Life is Art see their business model as an honest way to fund the arts, “with physical labor and the fruits of the land instead of the wheedling of donors.” And with medical grade marijuana going for $200 an ounce, it seems a lot simpler than raising funds the old fashioned way.
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The idea seems to be spreading (like weeds) in California. Artists Collective, a two-year-old medical marijuana service in Los Angeles formed with the idea of directing a large share of its income to the creative world. Dan Halem, the organization’s founder and director hopes to eventually be able to give millions of dollars to the arts and to be as effective and well-known as Newman’s Own products.
For Kirsha Kaechele, the Life is Art foundation’s director, the idea to sell pot to fund the arts was a no-brainer. “The whole game of finding support just started to seem so childish,” she said. “So I decided to grow up and became a marijuana farmer.” Just watch out for the Federales.—Aaron Lester