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AMP, the Artists' Meeting Place and Resource Collective, born on February 15, 2006, was inspired by 2 connected ideas:
1) ARTISTS NEED COMMUNITY SUPPORT
While art of any kind may be the product of one creative individual, that art cannot exist without the support of an entire culture - and especially the inspiration, information, and recognition provided by creative communities.
2) ARTISTS NEED BETTER ACCESS TO RESOURCES
Though there are many resources available to artists all over the world, it can be confusing, difficult, and frustrating to find and navigate these resources.
Therefore, AMP has two basic goals:
1) To provide artists of all kinds, everywhere in the world, with a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to connect with creative communities all over the world. AMP connects creative communities in these 3 ways:
* Members can directly contact any and all other AMP members - now nearly 3700 in 84 countries worldwide - through the AMP website.
* Members can meet in person at AMP events. Click here to learn more about some that have already happened.
* Members can learn more about each other by sharing their art, music, words, and more - all free to post in AMP's Global Gallery online.
2) To provide artists worldwide with a guide - local and global - to the resources they need. Find arts resources in these 4 places on the AMP website:
* AMP's World Art Directory, an in-progess guide to arts resources, organized by geographical location
* Web & Worldwide, in in-progress guide to arts resources available online
* AMP's Art Classifieds, where AMPers post opportunities as they become available
* AMPers for AMP, where AMP members offer opportunities for other AMPers
AMP also offers free online posting of visual art, music and other sounds, and blogs. For further explanation of AMP's features, see "Using AMP."
AMP is unique. Much more than just another networking website, AMP's multifaceted set of resources connects artists with creative communities worldwide.
VISION, STORY, GOAL
AMP's aim is to be a supportive hub, connecting creatives worldwide with resources, information, and (most importantly) others like them, sharing ideas and resources to better navigate the complex international art world.
AMP was, in large part, inspired by my touring musician friends, both here in Los Angeles and in other parts of the world. I saw that many musicians in LA, while in the heart of the entertainment industry, longed to tour Europe, yet didn't know how to begin. Most also assumed that because they had no money, they couldn't even consider it. At the same time, I saw that some European friends would happily trade places - and apartments and connections - for a week or two of opportunity in another part of the world. It seemed the most sensible and useful thing in the world that these people should be able to connect, and so in a frenzied 4-month period - from conceptualization to website debut, including the gathering of all of my creative connections, as well as making this website (by myself, with no money or training) - AMP was born.
The vision starts with the assumption that we live in an increasingly global culture, in which many artists need to travel. It can be ridiculously expensive to pay for many aspects of travel, including flight and lodging, and less than fulfilling - not to mention rather cold, lonely and boring - to try to navigate a new culture where one has no connections and no idea of where to find the creative people and places - which are often underground, away from tourist centers, and are never on any map. There has to be a better way.
Enter AMP. AMP's vision includes
1) an international web of personal connections - AMP's members
2) a set of artist-friendly informational resources to help you navigate art scenes all over the world, and
3) in the longer term - as funding grows and members become more actively involved - a network of AMP centers in every major creative center of the world. Each center would have a reception area, spaces for performances, workshops, and a gallery, a meeting room, and several beds where members passing through town could stay, for either a small fee, or a trade of workshop or some work on the center itself.
With a network of involved members, a comprehensive guide to arts resources and artist-friendly establishments in every area, and a network of AMP centers, an artist's possibilities change dramatically.
Now the scenario looks like this:
When you, as an artist, arrive in a new place, you stop first at the local AMP center. You stay for a few nights and, with the help of locals, get to know the local creative resources and community that can help you do what you need to do. If you need to stay longer, you're connected with a nearby AMP member who offers lodging to other members, from a day to perhaps a week. You have conversations and learn more than you could ever learn from staying at a hotel or even a hostel - and you become an insider with a deeper understanding of a new creative community. If you need to stay longer than that week, the information that AMP has gathered about the local community can help you find inexpensive and artist-friendly longer-term accommodations, as well as have a pretty interesting time. And when that person comes to your part of the world, you offer the same hospitality - and an international mutual support network of artists grows.
AMP's vision connects creative communities, building an international network of helpful artists, so that when you land in a new place, you're caught in a web of support. Plug in and help this movement grow!
What Can You Do with AMP?
Use your imagination!
While most art "communities" are either online on in-person, local and not global, and focused on only one kind of "artist," AMP brings together the synergistic energy of creatives all over the globe.
* A Los Angeles theatre director plans to go to Thailand to produce a project, yet feels she needs to learn more about Thai theatre traditions. She logs in to AMP, clicks on Members by Location, then Asia, and finally Thailand, finding a Canadian expatriat in Chiang Mai - with great connections - who has just been waiting for an opportunity to connect others with the Thai theatre community. (He joined AMP after finding an AMP postcard in Laos.) She clicks his username, then contact, and the dialogue is begun. (September 2008)
...more to come...