In August 2019, and after an eight-year run (it’s first public exhibitions coming in 2011 after initially being announced in late 2010), the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) closed, the organising committee having decided to step away from managing it (see: Linden Endowment for the Arts to officially close, LEA: more on the closure, and a move to save it and Linden Endowment for the Arts: update).
Following the announcement, there were numerous discussions on how the work of the LEA might be continued. In particular, artists Tansee Resident and Riannah Avora launched an in-world group specifically with the aim of gathering ideas and viewpoints on how the work of the LEA – and Linden Lab’s involvement in the body – might be continued.
At the time, a lot of discussions were held and a considerable number of ideas put forward (I was happy to play a small background role in advising both Tansee and Riannah in a number of areas, including potential discussions with Linden Lab). Ultimately, both went on to found groups operating on similar principals to LEA, with Tansee co-founding the Hannigton Endowment for the Arts (HEA) along with Hannington Xeltentat, and Riannah co-founding United Artists of SL.
However, the idea of a Lab-supported facility to help promote arts in Second Life never entirely went away, and Tansee continued to pursue ideas, refining a proposal originally created from the ideas gathered after the LEA had closed down. Then, in June 2020, a conversation with Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg at the SL17B event opened a door of opportunity. This in turn lead to a series of meetings with senior staff at the Lab, including Patch Linden, Vice President of Product Operations, and Brett Linden, the Lab’s senior Marketing Manager. After several such meetings, which included reviews of, and updates to, the proposal, Linden Lab indicated a willingness to support a new body similar to that of the LEA, but operating on a more modest and flexible footing.
Announced today, and starting an January 2021, the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA) will operate across seven regions supplied by Linden Lab, and managed by Tansee and Hannington supported by a Board of Advisers (the full list of whom is yet to be announced), and a team of volunteers to help in the day-to-day operations, once the new regions are open.
The seven regions, which are currently being set-up, will comprise the following:
- A central hub (SLEA7). This will likely include:
- A landing point.
- Facilities for SLEA coordinators, advisers and volunteers.
- An education centre.
- A events centre to support arts activities and events across Second Life.
- A teleport hub serving the SLEA grant regions and information on the artists currently exhibiting.
- The SLEA Theatre for mounting art-related and special events.
- An art Challenge corner.
- Four Full regions (SLEA1-3 and SLEA6) for region-wide art installations ranging from 1 to 6 months duration.
- A single region (SLEA4) providing four quarter-region installation spaces.
- A sandbox region. This will include an artist hangout and club for events and parties along with a new underwater building area.
As noted above, SLEA will formally début in January 2021. Between now and then, the plan is to release information over a period of time, starting in October. These activities will include:
- Providing information on:
- How those interested to volunteer to help run SLEA, and on specific volunteer roles that are available.
- How artists will be able to apply for grants, and requirements / guidelines for exhibiting through SLEA.
- Updates on region design status.
- Detailed information on the SLEA website, social media channels, etc.
- The opening of the first round of applications for artists.
The reason for not having the website / social media presence in place alongside of this announcement was explained by SLEA co-ordinator Tansee Resident as follows:
We intentionally do not have a Website or a FB page or any of the essential networking tools. The reason for this is we truly want to include the artists in building this community from the ground up. In order to build a solid foundation it is imperative that we establish a Volunteer base and find people who are willing to share their area of expertise.
Tansee Resident, SLEA Co-ordinator
So, in the interim period, those interested in SLEA as artists and / or as potential volunteers are asked to join the SLEA in-world group, which will be the primary channel of communications for the next few weeks. Also, to help promote SLEA, there will be a special Designing Worlds show featuring Brett and Patch Linden, together with Tansee and Hannington, which will be show at 14:00 SLT on Monday, September 14th via the Designing Worlds website and channels.
You can also read the official SLEA announcement from the Lab.
I’ll also continue to provide updates through these pages.