When dealing with the promise of projects, the free-flow of invention, and the creative output that made the likes of Theaster Gates famous in the St. Louis community, a patron has to wonder: Who feeds the starving artist? Who is it that promotes the physical manifestation of an idea, and who is it that promotes this creativity that often leaves the wunderkind with a full stomach?
The answer for St. Louis’s creative type is SLOUP: a monthly Sunday congregation of artists, art lovers, and those who want to make art happen in St. Louis. A Sloup event consists of several applicants proposing future projects for an audience who will then vote for the winner of the night’s raised cash money. The micro-grant comes from the $10 cover that includes a dinner of soup and bread. Hence, the event’s title: Sloup.
Typically, the lot gathers around local establishments like Fort Gondo, the CAM, and Pig Slop. However, this month’s event will be held in many private locations, with a different host per locale. These locations are encouraged to explore a variety of inter-personal identities.
“In terms of talking about the open sites, it’s important, I think, to emphasize that having your own personal sloup at home with a friend is as meaningful and useful and creative as hosting an open Sloup or attending an open Sloup,” notes Sloup co-creator Maggie Ginestra.
This month’s Sloup is an opportunity to experiment with the Sloup format to gain participants. “We are hoping by having multiple dinners in the same nights will allow more populations to participate with greater ease and aid in attracting new applicants and attendees. Team Sloup is looking to grow up and out this year. Francesca Wilmott from Los Caminos is working with us now – this month seemed like the perfect time to be brave and try this experiment,” adds fellow creator, Amelia Colette Jones.
The results of their experimentation stem from the participation of the Sloup host. Each host will be able to retrieve the same array of proposals by printing what is provided on the Sloup website. The host will then invite some people over, feed them soup, collect $10 from each person in attendance, read the proposals, and cast a vote for the best idea.
Each host is responsible for creating a post-Sloup package containing (as listed on Sloup’s official blog):
post-Sloup packet contents
1. a list of participants & their email addresses (& any extra documentation!)
2. the recipe or story behind the soup
3. all ballots (or a tally if your Sloupers voted together)
4. $10 per ballot (or per vote in tally)
5. process notes from your Sloup based on these 7 questions:
-What drew you to hosting and what were your plans or hopes for your Sloup? How did it play out?
-Describe your Sloup’s dynamics (i.e. host/guest, dinner/proposals, etc).
-Describe the discussion and voting process regarding the artists’ proposals.
-What were some successes and challenges of hosting your Sloup? Any supreme moments, surprises, major issues, small awkwardnesses?
-Would you host a Sloup again? Why or why not? What elements would you keep or change?
-If you have attended Sloup before, compare your Sloup to others. If your hosting experience was your first Sloup, what do you now expect from future Sloups?
-After hosting a Sloup, do you have any advice for Sloup as it moves forward?
If you are an artist interesting in having your proposal in this month’s Sloup, e-mail a one-page of text detailing what you are making, how you’ll make it, when will you make it, what is your timeline, and what is something that you have heard or seen about making art that you have embraced to firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until the Friday before the event to submit.
And, finally, if you are interested in attending this month’s Sloup, look for host sites to be posted on the blog. Sloup’s on Sunday, January 29th from 6 PM to 8 PM.
DID YOU KNOW: January is the official international month of soup? Why not celebrate this glorious substance by becoming involved in a participating Sloup cite. Already the idea of sharing arts projects is infiltrating the world of Chesterfield and Ferguson!