Die Coronapandemie hat uns merkwürdigerweise eher resilienter und produktiver gemacht − und darin bestärkt, immer wieder hinaus in den Stadtraum zu gehen, um zu versuchen, Einfluss zu nehmen.Ashley started out as a self-funded project. This allowed presenting art in a self-determined way, especially by working artists not part of the commercial art market but also those flying under the radar of larger public institutions. Of course, this model also brought up the question of sustainability. In the last few years, with rising rents and spaces closing down, this question has become more and more pressing for everyone on the free scene. Winning the project space prize in 2018 was a pivotal moment for Ashley, particularly because beyond recognizing the work done by independently-run spaces, the prize money could be spread over several years to keep our program running. However, a prize also follows the logic of exceptionality which puts a lot of pressure on project spaces to ‘perform’. Hence, the structural funding program by the Senate significantly changed the conditions of our work because by confronting us with the administrative work inherent in public funding, we evolved our own internal structure to accommodate longer-term planning while still maintaining the flexibility needed to track the subtle changes in the art communities around us. Before this program, going from project to project rather than planning two years ahead, it was difficult to apply for project funding due to the fact that application deadlines are often one year in advance and therefore difficult to meet if you are not a publicly-funded institution or commercial project with the resources to plan several months or even a year ahead. So this program does help a lot to allow project spaces to stake a claim on public art funding. At the same time, with the structural funding approved on a two-year basis, it remains unclear how this mode of operating will last a few years, or even one year into the future.The pandemic gave us a pause and became a forced hiatus.
For us, it didn’t make sense to organize events or to move into the digital space during the last year.
A willingness to think outside the box, to implement short-term funding, and to listen to the needs of the community. Not everyone requires long term investments; others would like to apply for EUR 500 to develop a project for next month. These quick, low-cost funding opportunities are not clearly available yet. When implementing initiatives, first think about the places and the people you are trying to serve. Requiring project spaces to have a program mapped out six months in advance, or ask for only German-language applications is not responding to the community.