A Painter's Art of Giving
By SHELLY BANJO
Through the site, artists create a project Web page, where they publicly display plans for future work, ask for support and raise money. Artists then set their own fundraising goals and deadlines. Supporters donate funds to USA, which gives 81% to the artist. The other 19% goes to the charity for its program and Web site expenses.
Current projects include ones by New York puppeteer Dan Hurlin, who is raising money for a new theater performance about the homeless in Santa Monica, Calif., and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris's "Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness," a documentary connecting the movements of civil rights and gay marriage.
USA awarded Mr. Bradford its $50,000 fellowship grant in 2006. The next year, he joined the organization's board of directors.
Mr. Bradford, whose work has been included in major exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's genius grant last year. He says a number of artists were instrumental in helping launch his career.
For instance, he recalls Daniel Joseph Martinez, the artist known for his "I Can't Imagine Ever Wanting to Be White" piece at the 1993 Whitney Biennial art show, who helped fund his first show.
Now that he is being asked to help support museums and other artists, he wants to focus his philanthropy on helping artists find funds to "keep moving."
"The worst thing for artists is not to have the money available to carry out the ideas they have in their heads," Mr. Bradford says.