By Kevin Ritchie
After last year’s fundraising effort collapsed, Image Arts students are starting from scratch to make sure their only publication, Function, makes it to press this year.
Function is an annual coffee table-style book that showcases and book stores across the city and overseas through Ryerson’s exchange program. Since it began five years ago, it has been a joint production from image arts and graphic communications management students.
But this year Image Arts will have to do it alone because GCM students backed out after last year’s debacle.
Last year’s GCM production coordinator, Yaz Hobooti, said he’s not wiling to commit so much time and energy to a project that isn’t a sure thing.
“The work everyone had done was basically for nothing,” he says. “Everyone felt kind of soup.”
Typically, student organizers could count on having $20,000 worth of expenses covered by the two schools, including free printing through GCM’s connections. Image Arts’ funding for the project was a casualty of the budget cuts last fall. A bad economy didn’t encourage donors and the fact that no money was coming from Ryerson caused outside sources to balk.
“Why should they give money if the school itself wouldn’t support it?” says Don Snyder, Function’s faculty advisor.
“The whole fundraising effort just collapsed.”
But this year, a grassroots approach to fundraising seems to be working.
Editors Lindsay Page, Davida Nemeroff, Katie Varney and Lauren Stryer have mapped out a strategy well in advance of their April deadline, and have cut their costs almost in half by switching to digital printing.
“We went from $24,000 to $12,600,” Nemeroff says. “It’s more realistic. We kind of feel like we’re starting off without anyone’s help. We feel abandoned by the school so we’re bringing it back to the students.”
This year’s magazine is called Primary Function, and to encourage participation from the film, new media photography departments, they’ve added Secondary Function — an online project — and a zine called Tertiary Function. These publications can bring in some bash for Function, as well as allowing non-photography students a chance to showcase their work.
The organizers have planned art events and sales. Earlier in the semester, they launched Tertiary Function with a party at Liquid Lounge that raised nearly $1,000.
Anyone can contribute to the zine, which will be published monthly. Each issue costs $3. The next one comes out in early November.
“Even if people’s work doesn’t get into the book, it can get into the zine,” Page says. “It’s the only activity that we have that anyone from any discipline can be involved in. It gives us the chance to collaborate with other people we wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to.”
The next event is an art sale in the third-floor image arts gallery on November 6 and 7. They are also planning a “24-hour marathon” for early second semester. Students will collect pledges for the event in which they have 24 hours to create a work of art and display it.
The masthead of this year’s Function will consist of only Image Arts students, but the editors want to involve as many students as possible. In the past, the students have complained the publication has been too exclusive.
“It wasn’t that past year’s issues were exclusive,” Snyder says. “It’s that people were not as good as getting the word out. The editors didn’t go that extra mile.”
Last year, 20 GCM students worked on Function until they found out halfway through the second semester the money wasn’t there and the issue wasn’t coming out. All the photos had been selected and many of the pages were finished.
This year, Hobooti said he’s too busy with his job and fourth-year projects to participate and he’s weary about encouraging others to jump on board Function.
“I think it’s pretty bleak,” he says. “I’m telling people to make sure they get the money before you participate.”
Nearly $4,000 has been raised for this year’s issue through zine sales, the party and donations. If Function comes out, this will be the only year GCM isn’t on board from the beginning, Hobooti says.
Page, Nemeroff, Varney and Stryer are keeping the door open.
“We’re trying to keep it open-ended,” Nemeroff says. “If a student wants to design one page, they’re more than welcome to.”