Let’s Talk About the Starving Artist

Here’s a little secret I’ll tell you about literary magazines: most of the time they aren’t making any money (for example, us). So, you may ask, why do we do it? Why do we continue on a fiscally barren path when we can’t afford to pay ourselves, let alone contributing writers and artists?

The answer is simple: we do it because we love it.

We do it because, maybe that poem you read today or that painting you saw last month on our site moved you. We do it because maybe the end of that short story we published last April is still gnawing at you, begging you to challenge yourself. We do it for the emerging writer and artist.

Myself and my staff still have day-jobs. These amazing volunteers I have working for me are some of the greatest voices in journalism today. Some of them have been with me since the founding of Literati, while others, seeing what we do, have joined the team out of love and passion for art.

Presently, we’re in the process of applying for tax exemption so we can hopefully get grant funding. We are like any other arts coalition, literary foundation, or small magazine. There are too many brilliant publications and artists out there in the same place as us.

Last night on Twitter, the announcement of this issue was met with some cynicism. Why should we have this issue when we’re not able to pay for what we publish?

Simple: we can open up a dialog. I believe we can affect change. I believe that Literati can double as a magazine and a symposium. The economic model is broken. The amount of have’s to the have-not’s in the world is staggering. As we speak, funding for the arts is being slashed in Illinois.

Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to address this issue. We must fight to keep the world beautiful through art and literature. I believe we have a purpose as writers and artists to always challenge the status quo. Let’s talk about the starving artist.

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