There's much that can be said about New Orleans, good and some bad, but never let it be said that this town cares not for its musicians and creative artists. Sweet Home New Orleans is one of the wonderful organizations created to be a guardian angel of sorts for local music.
What began as two separate entities, Sweet Home New Orleans and Review Our Music Fund, Inc., later merged to combine forces. Renew Our Music Fund, Inc. was created in 2005 immediately following the levees being compromised in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The goal was to provide financial assistance to displaced artists. Sweet Home New Orleans was formed the following year as a collaborative effort to help musicians return to New Orleans and to assist them in finding housing. The two merged in 2008 with the vision of supporting the revitalization and sustainability of New Orleans music and cultural communities via advocacy, documentation, and education.
Sweet Home New Orleans' current mission is to "enhance and expand the conditions by which musicians and Mardi Gras Indians economically benefit from their creative assets and are actively engaged in decision-making affecting the broader New Orleans regional cultural landscape." The group's vision is to create an environment in the area where musicians and Mardi Gras Indians can thrive and be self sustaining.
To further assist the NOLA music community, Sweet Home New Orleans has launched its Economic Empowerment Education Program. Competitive courses designed for musicians with a strong work ethic will be taught by some of the leaders in the music world. The first course, "Accessing Current Revenue Streams," held February 4 through May 14 will meet every other week for the duration of the course. Up to seven individuals will be chosen for each course, and the application process will include the initial review and then second-round interviews. Final decisions will be based on relevant need and experience.
Sweet Home New Orleans elaborated in a press release, the initial course is "...designed for musicians who have written some of their own music and proven musical success with placement or third-party requests for placement of their music in television or film and/or played on frequency or satellite radio. It is designed to give a strong knowledge base and hands-on acquisition of monies collected by third parties for their music."
Deadline to apply for this course is coming up on January 17. For more information and to download the application form click here.
A second course designed for musicians who have a project they would like funded, "Accessing New Revenue Streams AKA Fan-Funding" will take place in September and October. Applications are due for this course on March 25.