We are an open alliance of creators who produce projects that connect people from different spheres, in shared experiences that build long-lasting, meaningful networks with pleasure and happiness as our guiding principle.
One way to describe Forge Collective is to view it as an independent, self-organizing Federal Project Number One, a program of New Deal.
Another comparable model is Meow Wolf, a multi-million dollar immersive art entity, started out as a small artists collective. While their focus is on entertainment and is limited to their physical locations, we produce projects with social contexts and tangible goals, mostly happening within the target communities in collaboration with their members.
Our artists function more as facilitators than lone creators. We recognize the creative potential and the need to connect in everyone. We cultivate an environment where people feel safe and free to tap into their inner knowledge and share them with others, with artists as helping hands.
Besides creating shared experiences, we strive to create a socio-economic environment that is conducive to the way creators naturally work. Our current market system hinders creativity rather than encourages it. This is not only detrimental to creators, but an enormous waste of labor/resource/innovation potential for the society.
In building our collective, we actively search for a business model that: secures the floor for the artists; builds incentives and stimulates intrinsic motivation; and maximizes rewards in emotional and social capital that keeps on growing.
We support and advocate for Universal Basic Income as the indispensable first step towards achieving these goals.
There are three categories in our activities—Shared Experiences, Deep Communication, and UBI/Abundance Advocacy.
Our society is as divided as ever. With mounting problems and scarcity mind-set, our division is more likely to worsen than improve. Our busy lifestyle and addiction to social media are pushing us further into echo chambers and isolation. Our projects create shared experiences that elevate participants’ sense of connectedness. They vary from a one-off event to long-term projects that unfold organically with the community. Our past projects include:
- Yankeetown Pond Project (Community participatory project re-designed after a dispute with a resident and achieved higher success by working with him)
- Catskill Waters (Public outreach project in partnership with local stream programs with grants from NYC Dept of Environmental Protection in NYC watersheds in the Catskills)
- Old Glenford Church Autumn Banquet (Fundraiser as a community art event)
Story-share is a big part of Forge Collective. But we take it further than just telling one’s story; we use deep communication as a tool for tangible problem-solving and enduring connection-building.
- Forge Collective Media Lab (Currently in the planning stage, our lab provides tools and skills for the community to share their own stories in their own voices)
- Flick Book Studio (Stop-motion animation studio that merges hands-on techniques with digital production, with a focus on providing neuro-diverse creators with a nurturing environment for creating and sharing)
- Sundown (Podcast chronicling an unlikely collaboration between a contemporary artist and a gun-shop owner)
- Portraits and Stories (Collection of oral history of residents in the NYC watersheds located in the Catskills)
Creativity and passion don’t follow the market. Creators are forced to adopt an ill-fit system such as wages tied to output, hours, and profit. When we engage in passionate creative work, the work usually has no market value. This creates a winners-take-all narrative which unfortunately many art organizations enforce by offering grants and fellowships on merit, when the support is actually needed before they build their career.
This is why we support Universal Basic Income as the indispensable step towards activating abundance and maximizing intrinsic motivation. Our society is being deprived of unlimited amounts of quality output by denying creators their passion to flourish. Forge Collective advocates for UBI and other measures that enable an alignment of economic security with the way creators naturally function.
There are three main focuses in our advocacy:
- Deep Canvassing (An extension of deep communication, deep canvassing is a long-term outreach with voters to collectively advance the issue)
- Direct Services (Emergency services like childcare and transportation) *excluded from funding through Fractured Atlas
- SOS Fund (emergency cash for creators in emergency) *excluded from funding through Fractured Atlas