Bartering A Rural-Urban Connection
Yesterday we learned via Arts Journal of a new effort aimed at taking the crowd-funding platform and removing the monetary exchange from the process. OurGoods pairs creative individuals and their projects and allows for mutually-beneficial collaborations.
Though the project is centered in New York City, there’s no reason why the model can’t expand out and become a way for rural and urban artists and organizations to share ideas, resources and expertise. Epicenter, who’ve we’ve discussed previously, applies this approach in Green River, Utah: designers, publishers, and media makers have helped the businesses in this small western town expand and revitalize their local presence.
Here’s Ben Valentine, on the Hyperallergic art site, in conversation with Caroline Woodward of OurGoods:
What is OurGoods?
OurGoods is a barter network for creative people, connecting artists, designers and craftspeople in order to trade skills, spaces and objects with each other. It was started in 2009 by Carl Tashian, Jen Abrams, Louise Ma, Rich Watts and myself. We connected to a wide range of creative practices: choreography, computer engineering, design, sculpture, drawing, furniture-making and writing. We work on the site together and produce in-person events like Barter 101 workshops and Trade School, an alternative learning space that runs on barter (at Cuchifritos).
Why did you start OurGoods?
When the economy collapsed in 2009, arts organizations closed programs and fired staff. We all had less cash to work with, but that didn’t mean we had fewer skills or ideas. Barter is a way to get work done no matter what the global economy is doing. It’s a way to see the ideas, skills and resources available in the creative community, and to actively engage one another in making new projects happen. We see OurGoods as a resilient model for cultural production, building relationships of trust and shared resources from the ground up.