» Soup

Charlottesville SOUP is a public dinner series to support creative projects and artists right here in our community. At each SOUP, attendees give a $10 donation and in return they receive a bowl of soup and a vote.

During the meal, a handful of local artists make a short pitch for funding on behalf of their creative projects. Attendees participate in a thoughtful dialogue with the presenters and one another over a delicious meal made from local ingredients. Then, everyone casts his or her vote in a voting booth. The money raised from the meal that night becomes a grant that is awarded to the winner on the spot.

SOUPjan2013-5215By attending, you’ll meet your neighbors and play a role in supporting artists in Charlottesville. Perhaps you’ll even forge new friendships and collaborations over a nourishing meal made with locally-sourced ingredients in handmade bowls from our friends at City Clay

Coming together over a shared meal, engaging in a conversation about what is happening locally and deriving new means to support the arts here is an experiment in collective civic engagement and an opportunity to learn from each other. In 2013 – 2014, we hosted a SOUP every season (winter, spring, summer, and fall), and we awarded grants of $1000-$2000 to the winner at each dinner.

Wanna learn more? Sign up for updates here. Read about SOUP in this article that ran in the C-VILLE Weeklycheck out this segment that NBC-29 made about SOUP, and see why Beyond the Flavor thinks “Charlottesville SOUP is the very best of this city.”

In other words, SOUP is…
– a collaborative situation
– a public dinner
– a performance art happening
– a democratic experiment in crowd-funding
– a relational hub bringing together various creative communities
– a forum for thoughtful discussion
– an opportunity to support creative projects in Charlottesville

Similar efforts are taking place around the country. We were inspired by our friend Kate Daughdrill who helped found Detroit SOUP. The New York Times wrote about the concept. So did Dwell and GOOD. The idea was originally taken from InCUBATE (“a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding”), which started the idea in Chicago.

SOUP is an official program of New City Arts. Brooke Ray, Bruce Wardell, Jenny Poole, Katie Pennock, Maegan Moore, Maureen Brondyke, and Victoria Long make up SOUP’s leadership team, in addition to the community members who serve on the SOUP review panel. Kho Wong is a SOUP Facilitator Emeritus. Photo by Maggie Stein.