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(Mural in photo by Miriam Singer)

Ok y’all, from time-to-time (actually literally all the time) I am asked how I manage to do Streets Dept full-time. Basically, how I keep it all funded. So I want to work here to make it clearer for those who might be curious, and for those hopefully eager to help support an effort they find valuable. So here it is…

How Streets Dept is currently funded:

1) Limited Advertising: Advertising is, of course, the current model for supporting blogs and media outlets, especially those outlets that are free to the reader (as opposed to sites with paywalls.) And like many similar blogs and media outlets I do have some limited advertising, including the likes of our Tattooed Mom sponsored interview series, Temple University and Lyft sponsoring my podcast, and sponsored content on my @StreetsDept Instagram page from brands like Collective Arts Brewing, Visit Baltimore, and Sunkist Growers to name a few recent examples. When I work with advertisers I generally try to work with like-minded brands and/or brands who are also supporting artists.

2) Grants: Just kidding, while I know some other blogs do this, I truly have no idea how to apply for a grant.

3) Self-funding: Yes, while I do often describe myself as “running Streets Dept full-time,” because I did quit my marketing job in 2015 to grow what Streets Dept is and can be, the full truth is slightly more complicated. Since 2015, I’ve worked to grow Streets Dept by investing more time to write longer-form articles, creating more interviews with artists and arts leaders, building a podcast, and working with freelancers to help me create this content and more, as well as hosting guided walking tours and curating exhibitions. The complicated truth is that in that mix of work I still do a decent amount of freelance social media strategy and consulting for various non-profits, and the majority of the time what I earn from that work I put right back into building Streets Dept or, of course, supporting myself as a human living in this world (aka rent, boxed wine, etc.)

4) Exhibition Curation, Speaking Engagements, and Walking Tours: Lastly, I am able to support my efforts with Streets Dept with some of the various exhibitions I’ve created over the years working as a curator and project manager, most recently on exhibitions with Mission Taqueria and Mural Arts Philadelphia; as well as stipends from different speaking engagements and thankfully selling tickets to guided walking tours of art in our public space and local art venues around Philly in the warmer months.

(Artworks in photo by Amberella, Isaac Tin Wei Lin, and David Guinn and Drew Billiau)

Long story not-short-at-all, I will always work to figure out how to continue this blog with the resources I have. But, if you are someone who’s looking to support a local media effort and you have something to spare, then I might encourage you to support Streets Dept by donating a little something to my PayPal! (On that note, just know that yes, PayPal requires users to use their government name, and my legal name is Joseph Conrad Benner, Jr. So, while I’ve been going by my middle name since I was 19, at that link you won’t see “Streets Dept” or “Conrad Benner,” you’ll see Joseph Benner. Just don’t let that give you pause, if you were considering donating.)

THANK YOU, your support means the world to me. And frankly, the more support we get the more we can do!

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