Creativetithing.org is founded by four artists living and working in Detroit who are Billy Mark, Sarah Mark, Stefanie Cohen, and Corey Gearheart.
They are a part of a faith-based artist collective in Detroit called ONE.
After years of exploring and embodying this concept themselves, they began dreaming more seriously about what it would look like to expand this process with others. The Jewish tithe has proven itself a powerful spiritual/economic model for thousands of years, Jesus spoke on money more than anything else, and many religions have some version of the tithe. They want to mine these economic principles and see how this alternative perspective can create a more equitable and accessible art community.
Their model looks like this:
Artists who receive support through creative tithe agree to "gift" their work instead of going the usual route of selling it to galleries or charging a door fee. The gifting process is different for every artist and there can be a transition period for an artist if they need time to gain the needed amount of supporters to cover their practice of time & materials.
Tithers typically give 10% of their income to an institution or a cause they believe in. (the word "tithe" means "a tenth") Creative Tithing is when a tither gives a suggested tenth of a tenth (1%) of their income to an artist's practice. They have created a simple format where the only option is to give $20/month to an artist. Tithers can give to as many artists as they like. They chose this $20 option to create equity among the community of artists and supporters.
Their vision for creativetithing.org is that as more artists are added to the site, the artists will form interconnected groups of cohorts within each city. The cohort structure is a small group of artists that exists to support each other by advocating and fundraising together if they so choose. Billy and Sarah Mark and Stefanie Cohen and Corey Gearheart have been supporting each other in this way and believe in this system of art-making that strengthens the type of horizontal community that they have experienced in their city of Detroit. As their support goals are met, they will direct supporters to other artists in need of support.
As a creative tithing community, they want to open up and reconfigure the front and back end of the creative process. On the front end, what new influences can arise in a work if the work didn't have to limit itself to what was sellable to communities with purchasing power? And on the back end, if the work, because of the support of tithers, is given away without cost, who now can receive art that wouldn't be able to otherwise?
Their hope is that they will be able to live into their deep calling as artists and that others will also be able to live fully into their calling. Their vision is that communities of all types will support artists they believe in who will in turn create work above and beyond market limitations and that this work will be accessible and free.