About the Foundation
Mission and Overview
Statement of Values
Donations and Funding
Slought Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization incorporated in Pennsylvania in 2002.
Download our FY2010-2011 Annual Report
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Letter from the Executive Director
The social relations between the various Peoples of the world, in narrow or wider circles, have now advanced everywhere so far that a violation of Right in one place of the earth, is felt all over it. -- Immanuel Kant, 1795
Having spent many of these past months working and thinking with artists, organizations and communities in North America and abroad, it feels like a particularly precarious moment for many of us. Arts funding in the United States for small non-profits continues to decline and, simultaneously, has become further restricted in support of programs rather than operating costs.
At the same time, we at Slought Foundation feel this precarious situation mirrors the larger societal process of profound disinvestment in arts and education and social services more generally. The consequence will be an increased privatization of culture, a diminished collective imagination, and the further breakdown in trust between publics and institutions.
Our work at Slought begins with the acknowledgment of this crisis and the disorientation it brings. Initiatives like In narrow or wider circles, an outgrowth of the Perpetual Peace Project, seeks to encourage inter-cultural conversation and research about art and activism and begins to address these concerns.
Our acknowledgement of the ambiguity concerning how to speak about and responsibly enact change has also invited a general rethinking of our approach as a cultural organization. With funding from the Pew Trust's Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, and in conversation with many in our community, we developed a strategic communications plan to help make Slought's programs, archives, and intentions more legible and accessible to a broader public. We did this because there is an urgency for these conversations, and let's be clear about the stakes: we live in a politicized society -- a society that is drawing us all, as the Chinese artist recently remarked upon his release from detention, into the vortex of politics.
In this moment of unprecedented inequality and lack of creative leadership, we see an opportunity for Slought to incubate the city. Small institutions like Philadelphia's American Philosophical Society once operated as agencies in producing new correspondences, spaces, and organizations and offer a model. In this vein, we have become increasingly interested in the production of new institutions, the support of other institutions, the curation of cultural relationships, and the enabling of practical knowledge.
We also understand that what begins with an intensive focus on the local has the ability to enact changes on a larger scale. As such, we have become increasingly interested in the power of informal infrastructures, partnerships, and economies. Our balance sheet reflects but a fraction of these riches, and we are grateful to our funding partners, our board of directors and advisors, and our respected peers for their continued support, however manifested.
November 2011, Philadelphia
PS - If you wish to support the work that we do, please consider making a donation.