LEA announces restructure

On Thursday, November 29th, 2018, the serving committee of the Linden Endowment for the Arts gave notices that the LEA will be undergoing restructuring, which will include – for the initial part of 2019 – the closure of the 20 Artist In Residence (AIR) regions currently held by the LEA (LEA 10 through 29).

The core part of the announcement reads as follows:

Come January 1st 2019, the Linden Endowment for the Arts, known as the LEA, will be temporarily closing its Artists in Residence regions (LEA 10 – 29) to allow for a major restructuring.

Over the last seven years, these regions have been open for artists who apply to build their dreams, each for a six month grant. We have seen many great installations here – and some that have attracted controversy.

The nine Core regions (which include the Theatre, the Sandbox and Photohunt) will remain for the present, and short-term grants will still be available in these regions for community-inspired arts projects.

Discussions between the present Committee and Linden Lab about the future form of the LEA are ongoing, but it is anticipated that there will be a new organising committee when the AiR regions re-open.

KÖMA – LEA 22, November 2018 – read here for more

While it is undeniable the LEA has done a huge amount of good for art and artists in Second Life, particularly those who would not otherwise be able to amount large-scale events, it has also not been without its own controversy and for – in some circles – gaining a reputation for being something of a “star chamber” in terms of the committee’s method of operation.

For example, in 2013, just 18 months after the LEA was formed under the tenure of Mark Kingdon as the Lab’s CEO, the former Community Manager, Mark Viale, was forced to step-in after public concerns and reported irregularities with how the LEA was being run. That resulted in the formation of the LEA Committee bylaws. Intended to offer transparency, the bylaws perhaps resulted in the opposite by allowing what were effectively closed-door meetings, few of which generated public transcripts or notes. The bylaws themselves became in part a subject of controversy in 2015, when they were quietly removed from the LEA website when the committee of the time was challenged under them, after a committee member griefed an art gallery (for the record, the bylaws can still be seen via  the Wayback machine).

Second Life 1999 / 2017 – The Story – LEA 25, 2017 – read more here

Given this, some might feel reviewing and revitalising the LEA is something that is well overdue; a view I would share. I would certainly hope that any new committee – allowing for any ideas Linden Lab may have – would seek to better engage with the broader arts communities across Second Life, and seek to go about its work with greater transparency with meetings and through the keeping of public records.

In the meantime, those wishing to apply to use one of the core regions, which are available for 3-month grants (longer by arrangement) can do so via the LEA Core Sim application page.

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17 thoughts on “LEA announces restructure

  1. I am glad this is actually occurring. While there are 1 or 2 people on the current committee who actually care and are doing some good, the rest of the committee are full of people who are toxic, display extreme nepotism, and do not want to do what is right for artists who are seeking grants. This is what happens when you give 30 sims to people with little or no oversight and expect for them to act in the best interest of the Second Life Community.

    I hope that LInden Lab continues the program, perhaps scale it down and have a Linden that is directly involved with the management and running of the committee, so that these current issues cannot happen again.

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    1. You know you and I are very much on the same page in this regard, and I do very much agree with your view that future LEA operations should have more of a hands-on oversight from Linden Lab. I would also like to see the LEA bylaws reintroduced and – most importantly – adhered to with regards to term limits, as well as offering the opportunity for greater public oversight.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope the “restructuring”, which concerns exclusively the committee, bring about a total change of persons in charge from years or is useless. Wiki and About page of LEA say: “Guided by a dedicated board of renowned Second Life artists,…” and is years that no ONE artist it’s part of committee with some reasons. The Welcome Area is confused and ugly, site and blog poorly updated and maintained. In LEA music is not represented, architects and landscapers neither, zero connections with art galleries, just for say first things that come in my mind. I hope also that the choice of new people is not conducted by the same people that actually are in committe or, again, nothing change. I see already some sharks moving on, Linden Lab have to be strong and conscious on the process.

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  3. As the longest serving member of the LEA, I would like to say that quite a bit of the above commentary and comments are unfair to those on the committee currently and those who have come in the past. The LEA is far from perfect, it is flawed, just like flaws can be found in almost anything when one wants to examine it under a microscope, and if anyone has to be blamed, the blame can be heaped on me.

    Anyway here are some notes:

    1) Viale did not step in to mandate anything.Nothing in what has been done has been dictated by Linden Lab and they have been very hands off on a lot of aspects of how things work. They were most active when the LEA was founded years and years ago, with the biggest input being how many sims would be available and which on the committee would be the ‘legal’ owner of the sim (in trust)
    2) We wish Linden lab was more active especially in terms of active marketing of the sims as well as the rounds, and there was a misconception that the LEA were responsible for marketing everyones art
    3) There has always been and still is at least one first rate artist on the com. In fact the greatest creator of SL miniatures is on the com, but not many people will know this as she has given up a lot of her own art for the sake of others. Its not to the advantage of the greatest artists being on the com as that directly excludes them from having sims to show their art. I am not an artist nor was I a filmmaker, but I ended up running pretty decent art and film challenges that spanned many years. Its all about what those on the com are willing to give of themselves for others
    4) There is no direct benefit in any way to anyone serving on the com, in fact 2 of the current committee have spent their own money to foot the running costs for some items associated with the LEA (not myself)
    5) LEA caters to all kinds of art…. including music if they tried to apply. I am 100% sure that any artist who applied for at least 3 round in a row was not turned away (except maybe 1 person across the years). The one thing not allowed was running business/selling etc on the sims, as this was a condition set by Linden Lab
    6) Those on the com vote for recipients on a ballot once applications are in, and only the tabulator knows exactly which committee member voted for which artist. The most votes got in and so on and so forth
    7) Its a thankless job. Problems are remembered many many many years after they happen,and the good stuff is quickly forgotten. Have some on the com done things they regret or said things they regret? yes of course.
    8) This current restructure was initiated by all on the current committee with no external influence. We asked Linden Lab to meet
    9) Architects, landscapers, galleries etc…. everyone has always been welcome to apply… AND THEY STILL CAN through the core sims
    10) By laws were set by the committee itself and changed and adjusted by the committee. No external party had imposed a binding by-law that could not be altered. Could all of this be better? yes of course. Do those charged with running the LEA on future deserve stronger support all round .. yes of course

    One thing to remember always is, that no matter what the structure, what is done how it is run etc, it is never going to please everyone, and the good done will be easily forgotten, with the difficulties and problems amplified to such a point that those doing the good become discouraged and not motivated to keep going (especially if all is gone voluntarily with no other benefit being drawn by those doing the service)

    JayJay Zifanwe

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    1. Thanks, Jayjay. I was operating from memory regarding the 2012 and admit to potentially being wrong on Mark’s involvement. I was working on notes going back to 2013, and which include a URL to a blog post a former member of the LEA committee on the matter that referenced Mark’s involvement in the 2012 situation. Unfortunately, that link now yields a 404 error, so it is possible the notes I do have available are incorrect on that point.

      In terms of the bylaws, it remains an unpleasant fact that after the 2015 griefing incident, when the committee was challenged under Section 7, the bylaws were removed from the LEA website (leaving only the mission statement), and have not been resurfaced. This action did, and potential continues, to damage more positive support that might otherwise be afforded to committee members, past and present. Again, developing bylaws (whether internally or as a result of external pressure) and then either ignoring them / hiding them when they become an inconvenience, simply does not encourage trust.

      Your remaining points are understood – but again, those wishing for greater transparency in committee actions are not apportioning blame, but are highlighting issues that have, unfortunately, blighted how the LEA is perceived as being run. As such, they do need to be considered going forward, in order for the committee to gain wider trust and appreciation so that it can continue to build on the many positive aspects of the LEA that have thrived over the years.

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      1. Jay, the fact that long time ago someone builded some miniatures is really a poor topic, because anyone can claim that 10 years ago i builded some things and this make me a renowned artist. Is not so. Is the second time you tell me this thing, and this confirm you understand not much about art and related activities. No one in the committee can be defined a “renowned Second Life artist” as required, is all. The actual committe have to leave chairs not only for this, but mainly because some members, as you, are in charge from too long time (years and years, you understand what this mean?) and never online. So, why continue with this pain? As some committee members ask, leave all and do a restart. And i hope the new public applications for committee are not judged by actual committee members, also because they are almost already runned away, apart you and the artist. So, you want also choose the new committee for your pals? You dream.

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  4. Jay, the fact that long time ago someone builded some miniatures is really a poor topic, because anyone can claim that 10 years ago i builded some things and this make me a renowned artist. Is not so. Is the second time you tell me this thing, and this confirm you understand not much about art and related activities. No one in the committee can be defined a “renowned Second Life artist” as required, is all. The actual committe have to leave chairs not only for this, but mainly because some members, as you, are in charge from too long time (years and years, you understand what this mean?) and never online. So, why continue with this pain? As some committee members ask, leave all and do a restart. And i hope the new public applications for committee are not judged by actual committee members, also because they are almost already runned away, apart you and the artist. So, you want also choose the new committee for your pals? You dream.

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    1. Livio, if you choose to be rude as well as ignorant, I can’t help you any further. The fact that you want to disdain the work of another artist shows that you know little of what art truly means, so I will not waste my time further in a pissing match with you.

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      1. If there is someone rude, ignorant and arrogant is you mister. I never judged the work of someone, i only told that someone that did something 10 years ago can’t be used as example of renowed artist in second life. And same for you, i don’t think that because you did two machinima that no one know you can call yourself a artist. Is simply the truth, if you can’t accept the reality change work and don’t insult people.

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      2. For be more clear, for statute LEA have to be “Guided by a dedicated board of renowned Second Life artists, the LEA is committed to providing access to engaging experiences in the arts for the Second Life community”, as you can read on about page on LEA official page and on official wiki. No one of the committee is a renowned Second Life artists, and from years. This mean that the actual committe is completely abusive, you understand or not?

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        1. And for be also more clear, you Jay are in complete conflict of interest, because you run a private region that work on arts. Incidentally, another member of committee come from your private region. You can tell me that someone from uwa have the same opportunity than anyone other to see his/her project approved? You can tell, sure, but no one think that this is true.

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