Grants/RESTLESS: An Arts Anthology
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
RESTLESS: An Arts Anthology is a local publication for the people, by the people. The people in question here being the talented denizens of Phoenix's East Valley; artists and writers and consumers of the arts who have otherwise been without a singular point of gathering for the things that they hold near and dear. RESTLESS gives these residents a creative outlet in which they can collaborate, share, disseminate, and publish their work, giving them both an increase in exposure and experience in being published. Our publication also educates those involved in the use of Creative Commons and what it means to those reading and those submitting. While primarily featuring fiction, visual art and poetry, RESTLESS also provides an avenue for all corners of the "creative class" to share their projects and successes through thoughtful articles and personal essays.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
RESTLESS: An Arts Anthology is a published collection of locally produced CC licensed works, printed quarterly. RESTLESS' content is primarily short fiction, but also includes interviews with local artists and entrepreneurs, some poetry, fine art images from local artists, and articles about all aspects of the doings of the "creative class" in the East Valley. It is typically 40 half-pages in length. Each quarterly issue may also include any number of additional components -- from compiled, analyzed and visualized local government data from Open Government groups such as PHXData to locally designed and produced stickers.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
RESTLESS is distributed throughout the Phoenix East Valley (primarily Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Apache Junction -- approximate population of 1.1 million). Within this area, there is a vibrant community of artists and writers in need of a way to coordinate, edit, distribute and promote their works. In the past six months, we have received countless displays of gratitude and excitement over the creation of RESTLESS; one contact in particular sent us an email that was overflowing with praise and wonder at having found a copy of the publication at a local coffee shop. Many have expressed to us that they feel as though a hole in the East Valley is being filled; that they have always wanted something like this. There are a lot of really amazing things happening in our side of the Valley of the Sun, and RESTLESS serves as the rope to help tie all the individual things together. Even in what we hope to be it's infancy, RESTLESS is making an impact and bringing together a previously scattered community.br />
The RESTLESS team is involved within the creative community of the East Valley in various capacities, and this project has only deepened our roots within the community. The publication began as a place to gather writing assignments within a local writer's group; since then it has exponentially grown and evolved from something small and intended for a small group of friends to something catered to an ever expanding network of residents. While still small, we have grown quite a bit from an off hand idea tossed about on a Wednesday night. We began RESTLESS in January of 2010 and have released two issues to date, with plans to continue publishing quarterly, slowly increasing our units published and distribution circle.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
Our primary goal is to give local artists and writers exposure and to give them the tools they need to successfully collaborate with each other. In the most simplistic of measurements, the project's success can be measured in its financial solvency -- the ability to attract advertisers and donors to support the project. More qualitatively, our success can be measured in the success of participants and those highlighted in publication. The amount of hands we get RESTLESS into, our unsolicited submissions, and emails like the glowing one we received are signs of success in our eyes. For a less abstract measurement, we intend to annually send out surveys to participants and those highlighted in issues to measure the perceived effect of RESTLESS on their project, business or work. We will consider this project to be an active success when it is self-sufficient and growing in both readership and active participation.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
We expect to have a small volunteer editorial and administrative staff, probably not more than 5 members, and a large, rotating group of contributors. This will probably encompass 10-15 individual collaborators per issue. In addition, we have local business owners that assist with distribution and sales, as well as promotion. We plan to continue to appear at a variety of local arts functions, distributing existing copies of our work, soliciting submissions, and talking to people in the community. In addition we have distributed fliers to many places in the community, specifically coffee shops, boutiques, co-working venues, and bookstores: places where writers and "creatives" gravitate.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
We publish our own work in "the commons" and by doing so encourage our writers and artists to do so as well. We hope to foster the idea in our community that you can publish and retain as much or as little of the rights you want to your work, while still opening it up to publication, collaboration, and adaptation. The publication will feature Creative Commons licensed content, as well as leading by example.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
Currently and for the immediate future, RESTLESS has sufficient desktop-publishing software and hardware for the project. The RESTLESS team is well versed in desktop publishing, basic HTML, Drupal (an open-source content management system which currently powers the back-end of RESTLESSAnthology.com), and other digital and print publishing knowledge. The RESTLESS team is currently investigating the open-source desktop publishing software Scribus, but has no immediate plans for its implementation. Currently the RESTLESS Team is weakest in digital (web) publishing. Because of our immediate print focus, we have not researched alternative web-publishing schemes beyond the Adobe PDF format.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Our current primary challenge is garnering sufficient advertisers to publish each issue self-sufficiently. By using the seed money from the CC grant, RESTLESS can guarantee growth in readership numbers to better attract advertisers. Without federal non-profit status, RESTLESS cannot successfully compete for donations; as such, RESTLESS will be incorporating in the State of Arizona and apply for federal non-profit status. While we have yet to experience a lack of quality submission, there may be a time in which we have fully expended our resources unless we continue expanding our submission pool. This limit is easily avoidable by seeking out new contributors and continually searching for new sources and places that we haven't previously reached.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
RESTLESS plans to be fully ad-supported by the end of the CC funding and the first year of publication, including a limited pay-scale to contributors. RESTLESS will ramp up print-runs to meet advertising income and goals, moving from 250 copies in September of 2010 to 1,250 in September of 2011. We are also planning a number of fundraisers to build fiscal reserves and to be able to offer incentives for contests and possible scholarships for local writers and artists.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
RESTLESS is fundamentally scalable, being able to increase publication size to meet demand. At a certain point, the market will reach saturation (all interested readers will have a copy). In the extreme long-term, the team will consider the effects of expanding our reach beyond the East Valley to cover the entire Phoenix metro area or beyond. As income from advertising revenues increases, we do hope to increase the pay to contributors from the current $0.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
Monetary assistance would help us cover initial publication, promotion, and distribution costs as we get our operation off the ground. Proving to our advertisers that we have the resources to make this a viable product is essential to the long-term life of RESTLESS.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
We communicate through our website, e-mail newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, and through fliers and personal appearances at many local events. We have started a grassroots campaign to spread awareness of our project and have been very successful on word-of-mouth alone up to this point.