“The Art Mob is, without a doubt, one of the least corporate corporations ever. The Mob existed for nearly 20 years before incorporating, and then only because nobody wanted to keep our money in their personal bank account. To get a bank account you have to have a tax ID, and to get a tax ID you have to become an entity of some kind. In our case, the entity was a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
We were a reluctant corporation, but we’ve been a very responsible one. All our IRS and New York State Attorney General filings are up to date. We keep our money in a genuine bank, not under somebody’s mattress, and we pay our bills on time. We even own something: This fall, the Art Mob acquired, on the cheap, a used electronic keyboard, which we use for rehearsals because Cheryl left the group and we can’t use hers any longer. Next year, the corporate jet.
We are now approaching our 40th anniversary, and we want there to be a 140th. We hope you do, too. If you think it’s worth supporting a musical group that offers a real communal music-making experience, that resurrects strange and obscure old songs you won’t hear anywhere else, that puts its whole heart into every live performance, and that is (until now) too cool to ask you for money, please consider donating to the Art Mob.
Our status gives us the right to solicit tax-deductible donations from the public (contingent on whatever monstrous injustices arise from the new federal tax bill), but we have not exercised that right. Our style has been to keep expenses down and mind our own business.
This is a pose we are going to have to drop. Times have changed, and we’d better adapt or end up as a statistic in the Great Extinction. The thing is, we have to pay for a lot more stuff now than we did in the old days. When Marcia Tucker was in the group, and Soho was teeming with struggling art galleries, it just took a phone call to get us into any one of her many friends’ resonant, tin-ceilinged spaces, for nothing. Usually they even had chairs. But those days are over.
We do have the incredible luxury of free rehearsal space, courtesy of St. John’s Lutheran on Christopher Street (thank you, Reverend Mark!), but when it comes to performing there are no more free venues. We also have to send out those postcards and print those programs. And it would be nice if we could give Brent, our long-suffering director, a raise. Right now our only funding source—other than whatever you drop in the basket at the concert, which is deeply appreciated and woefully inadequate to our needs—is we singers. Since musical ability is a known risk factor for poverty, this only works up to a certain point. We especially can’t afford to price our younger members out of the group, as that threatens our long-term prospects.
Yes, we want the Art Mob to go on. We are now approaching our 40th anniversary, and we want there to be a 140th. (Although we personally might be dead by then. Possibly.) We hope you do, too. If you think it’s worth supporting a musical group that offers a real communal music-making experience, that resurrects strange and obscure old songs you won’t hear anywhere else, that puts its whole heart into every live performance, and that is (until now) too cool to ask you for money, please consider donating to the Art Mob.”
—Dean Rainey, Mobster, Arranger, Treasurer
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