The Linden Endowment of the Arts (LEA) have announced they have secured 20 sims from Linden Lab to promote the arts in Second Life.
The LEA Land Grant will make the sims available to the LEA for a 12 month period. These sims will be used as follows:
- Two sims will be allocated via a Land Rush
- Four sims will be reserved for exhibitions curated from LEA sandbox builds
- Fourteen sims to be allocated on the basis of an application process, which closes on November 1st 2011.
The fourteen sims to be allocated on the basis of an application process will be made available to successful applicants for periods of five months before being transferred to the next set of awardees. Details on how the Land Rush and 4 “sandbox promotion” sims are to be allocated and for how long, have yet to be mad public by the LEA.
This deal, it would appear, is entirely separate from Mark Kingdon’s announcement, made in 2009, that some 70 sims would be made available within Second Life as a part of an effort to support the arts. At that time, given the amount of private effort – with absolutely no subsidy from Linden Lab – that goes into supporting art and creativity in Second Life, Mark Kingdon’s announcement caused a fair amount of concern as to what such a grant would do to such privately funded efforts in support of the arts.
While this announcement from the LEA is smaller, it is likely that it will give rise to similar concerns, particularly given the superb work performed by the likes of Art Screamers in their promotion of sim-sized installations such as Through the Lens of Dreams, and other exhibits which are met entirely out of the sim owners’ own pockets.
Which is not to say the LEA do not provide stunning installations themselves – again as witnessed by Rebeca Bashly’s brilliant and immersive Inferno equally demonstrates. Even so, arrangements such as this – as well-meaning as they might be – do create an imbalance in the SL art community, which is still very much a limited pool of talent. If that talent is fully engaged in LEA efforts, then there is a risk that those who privately fund art activities may well be faced with no other option that to consider shutting down. This in turn potentially weakens art in SL on two fronts:
- It reduces the number of venues available in which those not selected for such grants can display their work and talent
- It runs the risk of what constitutes “art” for wider consumption within Second Life being defined by a small, closed group within SL – again leading to potentially fractious accusations of the infamous “feted inner circle” variety rumbling across the community.
The flip side to this is that it might be said that many aspiring artists within Second Life might be presented with a chance to gain an audience through their participation in the Grant. A chance that might otherwise elude them if they had to rely on other means of promotion.
For those wishing to participate in the LEA Land Grant, the application requirements are available on their website via the link above. All applicants must be familiar with, and agree to abide by, the SL Terms of Service, Community Standards and the LEA Code of Conduct in order to participate in the programme.