Grant Alert

California Arts Council (CAC) Professional Development and Consulting Grant

Check out my video where I give you my quick and dirty run down of this upcoming grant opportunity!

This awesome grant will pay for YOU (an employee of an arts non-profit) to get funding for costs associated with professional development/leadership trainings, fellowships, conferences and workshops or even career coaching throughout California.  OR apply for funds to pay for consulting services for you your arts non-profit!  
Can you believe that? Someone wants to pay for you or you organizations growth and development!!

Come on people, go get that money!

“Kickstarter is an asshole.”

 I’m a connector. Thats what I do. I have tons of information and people and details and meta details crammed inside my clickety-clackety brain. Friends of mine asked me to be a part of the launch of their really smart social justice music project.  Since my  expertise isn’t in Kickstarter, I got to work sharing the project with my network, collecting feedback and tips.  

They are building an app that allows artists to get paid retroactively for beats that have been sampled to death with no real rights or royalties going to their creators! Its called “The Amen Project” and it starts with the Amem break. A beat that has been sampled by just about every   major recording artist out there– from David Bowie to KRS 1.  The thing is, the drummer who made that beat…died penniless and unsung. A tragedy for such an epic contribution to modern music. This project isn’t about just paying musicians and establishing a posthumous income for the families of deceased musicians. It’s about social justice, righting a wrong, reconizing the contribution and legacy of past muscians and creating a method and practice for the elevation and renumeration of future beat makers.

They started this endeavour with a $50,000 kickstarter campaign goal, a lot of energy and a dream. Two electronic musicians trying to live their values. My expertise is in the realm of grantmaking, traditional fundraising strategies and smaller goals… so I reached out to Jason Wyman, an arts activist, organizer, administrator, youth developer, producer instigator, collaborator and all around dashing queer about town, for some advice.  

Here is his sage advice:

“Kickstarter is an asshole. Quickly glancing at the campaign, I can pretty much guarantee that they are not going to reach their goal.

  •  For something like $50,000 as their target, they would have had to have, already identified folks they knew were already going to give BEFORE the launch of the campaign. 
  • For crowdfunding specifically, if a minimum of 40% isn’t reached in the first few days of launch, there is absolutely no way the goal will be achieved. Almost all successful Kickstarter campaigns start with concrete committed funds. Those that don’t are complete flukes. 

The only real advice I can give is to be realistic that they are not going to reach their campaign goal and start prioritizing what they really need to raise and create an engagement strategy that will get them to that goal. It should NOT be tied to crowdfunding. It should be tied to personal donor cultivation, product development (same as what they would be “giving away” through Kickstarter, which truthfully their perks are really lacking for this type of platform), fee for services, grants, and/or any combination of those strategies. If they want to do something in the crowdfunding arena, they should pick a platform that isn’t “ALL OR NOTHING” like Kickstarter. Additionally, they should have a much more realistic goal in the 1-5K range. (Once that is reached successfully then they can move on to larger campaigns.)
I hope this is somewhat helpful. I highly encourage to NOT jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon and go back to more tried and true fundraising approaches.

  • Reading through their Kickstarter page, they should have folks that would be willing to contribute to their efforts. The need these people to feel special. That isn’t going to come from an online strategy. 
  • They should go to some of the DJs and MCs that they personally know are using the Amen beat and ask them directly to donate. They should get those that donate to give a short testimony on the legacy of the Amen beat and how it’s shaped their musical stylings. These testimonies can then be shared with others to encourage their giving.

 It is much more targeted approach, and one that will probably yield much better results.”
Wow Jason! Thanks for the stellar information, honest feedback, and targeted campaign strategies. Look for my interview with Jason about life, love and the artist hustle coming soon!

I’m building a boat!

Bea PhotoWell, what a year it has been! I left a big job at the San Francisco Arts Commission last February to strike out on my own. I took 2 smaller jobs one with the Queer Cultural Center and the other with Oasis, a drag cabaret and nightclub. Life was thrilling. I was tasting the freedom and fun of bohemian life, again. A flavor I’d been missing since I moved to San Francisco from Austin 7 years ago! 

I traded in my quirky business casual, for queer spandex casual by day and American Apparel Disco pants by night. I had the funnest jobs I’ve had since I worked at Lucy in Disguise, the best costume shop in Austin. And certainly the most fun I could have working for someone else. Look, y’all. The rumors are true, being a bartender at a gay drag bar cabaret is super fun. We are now at the close of the year again and I’m wrapping up those roles and preparing for “Strike out on my own 2.0”. The part where I actually start to build a business around my authentic self and the skills, talents and expertise I’ve developed thus far. I am reminded of that awful paralyzed feeling I get each time I am faced with the choice of diving into a cold pool or eeeeeeasing my way in.

I’d say I have been taking things real slow. Easing my way in and we are just about at that point where it is time to putthe shoulders neck and head in. ZOIKES!

I’ve crafted and held multiple workshops with my creative partner Kevin Seaman, I’ve successfully launched my performance goals and I have mapped out a clear project for making art for 2016. It is officially time to let go of the safety nets, get the hair wet and start paddling.  Some people may opt for becoming kickass swimmers…you know the type singular forces of nature that respond by becoming stronger and faster.

Not me.

I’m building a boat.

And I’m building while swimming and I am hoping like hell we don’t sink before its done, because the only way this works for me is if I find a way to bring a group of amazing and talented people along for the ride. I realized this year what few things motivate me to action. Community, equity and justice, queers and art…pretty much in any combination.

If there is no community connection, I’ve got no energy for it. I’m a person-to-person mother fucker. If there’s no connection to community there’s really no value for me…and if there’s no value for me, I’m not motivated to do the work and if I’m not motivated to do the work, then I sure as shit am not going to be valued for the work…see where I’m going with this.  I gotta value the work that I am doing and be valued for it!

That means, I’m  building a god damn boat!

…so we can make meaning in this world together.

I’ve struggled this year with the question, to client or not to client…cuz…to be honest, I hate charging people for something that I wish I could give away. Charging makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I identify so heavily with being a broke ass artist, feeling like you don’t have enough money and it’s San Francisco and rising costs…and  on and on…I know its stupid but I spent 5 years as a civil servant working in cultural equity grants giving it away cuz I believe in being of service and helping my community ascend. 


You can see my problem…

So….drum roll please…this coming year I am trying something new, a way to reduce barriers to access to my knowledge and insights in the field of arts and grantmaking.

  • more grant workshops and retreats
  • in person learning cohorts of that meet weekly for 6-8 weeks
  • online learning modules and cohorts

I told you I’m building a boat! More musings to come, so stay tuned






Get off the couch and invest in your creativity, learn about individual donors!

Cultivating A Robust Donor Base

2013-11-16 02.47.53

Tuesday, January 12th


Workshop is presented at 135 Main Street, San Francisco (Tenant Activity Room lobby level)

Ready to attract and retain a family of donors that support your creative work. In this workshop, we’ll focus on developing a donor base for your art and authentic strategies for making the ask! We’ll cover online campaigns, special events, donor letters and discuss the motivations behind why donors give.

About the Workshop Instructors

Beatrice Thomas is an artist coach, organizational consultant, and multidisciplinary artist & performer. Ms. Thomas has 15 years of arts administration and grantmaking experience, specializing in grant strategy, queer arts, public art, and cultural equity. She has worked in a variety of philanthropic, curatorial, and administrative roles for the San Francisco’s Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grants program, First Night Austin, Flatbed Press Gallery, Center for Cultural Innovation, the Queer Cultural Center and The National Queer Arts Festival. Ms. Thomas received her Bachelor’s Degree from Hampshire College and a Masters of Fine Arts from The University of Texas. She is dedicated to the creation of meaningful experiences and exceptional arts and culture for her self and others.

Kevin Seaman is a multidisciplinary artist and arts administrator with over 10 years of experience. Kevin works with the Queer Cultural Center overseeing, Creating Queer Community, a technical assistance program and incubator for emerging queer artist. He has 5 years of experience as a grantmaker with The San Francisco Foundation’s Art & Culture program and has worked with the San Francisco Arts Commission, City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grants, Center for Cultural Innovation, Intersection for the Arts and the Endeavor Foundation for the Arts. His robust artistic practice includes character-based work with dance psychic Dr. Zebrovski and drag persona LOL McFiercen as well as the #femmasculine project.

Click to reserve your seat today!