On this page you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Got another question? Please contact us.
Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to bring together community through art. Community members and community organizations have come together for our current goal of creating a permanent landmark art institution on Salt Lake City’s west side. This institution will serve as a full service community art center and museum, bringing a variety of programming, exhibitions and educational opportunities to one of Salt Lake’s most under-served neighborhoods. By increasing access to the arts and civic engagement, we aim to create a bridge for children and youth from our neighborhoods to colleges and universities, as well as to strengthen the voice of Salt Lake’s Westside and under-served communities.
We change lives. We believe in community and in people. As a community acting in a spirit of solidarity, we are taking our vision to communities across the nation. We understand that our struggles are shared struggles in other cities. We are providing one answer to a complicated problem. We ask you to join us and state loudly and clearly that no youth or community is expendable. We are taking a stand. Please choose to stand with us.
We have created the Five Million Dollar Fund for the purpose of supporting the vision of MICA, All monies donated to the Five Million Dollar Fund will be deposited into the MICA general operating account with the hope of someday buying a building in our neighborhood, retrofitting it “green,” and inviting the participation of youth in this renovation. In this space we will create sustainable art programming that creates civic engagement opportunities. This effort is part of a larger revitalization effortof Salt Lake City’s Westside.
The Five Million Dollar Fund is a major community based fundraiser. In some ways, we were inspired by Alex Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage website that he created to successfully raise money to pay for his university schooling. With this motivation, we decided to travel down a similar road to raise the money we need to establish a permanent landmark art institution.
Unlike Alex, we are a nonprofit organization focusing on building community through art. While he focused solely on the advertisers, we decided to strongly incorporate art into this project and encourage the participation of anyone who can help.
At the heart of this fundraising drive, we seek to build community through art. Not just community… a very large community! We have asked local Salt Lake City artists to create a secret piece of art for this project. Our only requirement was that we can turn the art into a picture we can put on this website. The size of the picture… you guessed it, five million pixels (1,000 pixels wide by 5,000 pixels tall). For every dollar donated, we will reveal one pixel of the art. We will keep taking donations until we’ve reached our $5,000,000 goal and the whole picture is revealed!
So, why did we leave space for logos, personal messages, and ads on the homepage instead of the art? Honestly, this effort is a fundraiser. In addition to personal donations, we expect to receive donations from businesses who want to advertize on our pixels!!!
Also, we chose a “paintbrush” font for our logo to represent artists.
The artists are collaboratively making the artwork. The real artwork will be revealed online. For the time being, we’re using red squares as placeholders for the purchased pixels.
Yes, we are really selling pixels for $1 each; and we are only putting up pixels that have already sold. Yes, MICA is a real 501(c)(3) organization registered with the federal government (EIN 06-1656999). We share space with the Mestizo Coffeehouse where we operate an art gallery and offer a variety of art programming for youth and adults.
Here is a picture of our gallery at a recent art show opening.
That's how much money it will take to purchase a building, retro fit it green, while inviting the participation of youth in this renovation. In the new building, we hope to operate a full service community art center complete with art and civic engagement opportunities, local, national, and international gallery shows.
Mestizo Coffeehouse is the current home of MICA. Though it is a really cool place to hang out, our goal is to create a full service community art center and museum. Mestizo Coffeehouse will forever be a community partner who provides a lot more than coffee. Buy hey, even their coffee is artistic. Check out their latte someday!
The idea is simple: to raise $5,000,000 by selling 5,000,000 pixels for $1 each. That’s how we came up with the name, the “Five Million Dollar Fund.”
For your donation, you get two things: 1) you get to put an image on our homepage and 2) we will reveal some more of an art piece created by a collection of Salt Lake City artists. That is, you get one pixel on the homepage for every dollar donated and we will also reveal one pixel of the art for every dollar donated.
Everyone is encouraged to join our community and buy pixels, which are available in 100-pixel 'blocks' (each measuring 10x10 pixels). You will see the homepage is divided into 50,000 of these 100-pixel blocks (hence there are 5,000,000 pixels in total). The reason for selling them in 100-pixel blocks is because anything smaller would be too small to display anything meaningful.
You can buy as many pixels as you like, as long as there are some available. When you buy some pixels, you can then display an image/logo/ad of your choice in the space you have purchased. You can also have the image click through to your own website. No obscene or offensive images or links are allowed, however.
The pixels you buy will be displayed on the homepage permanently. The homepage will not change. Using money from this fundraising campaign, we guarantee to keep it online for at least five years, but hopefully much longer.
Yes, all donations are tax deductable. MICA is a fully qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit. When you donate online, print out the confirmation page as your receipt.
We are offering the following for donors who give at least $100.
Of course! Donations under the $100 mark will be accepted! We will still put your name on the donors list (if you request). Your donation will also count toward revealing pixels on the artwork. We’ll add up the donations and for each $100 of smaller donations, we’ll reveal another block and the pop-up will say “community donation.”
Uploading an image or submitting your name are optional. We will recognize all donations in whatever form we get them. If you choose not to send us an image, we will fill your pixels on the homepage with colored blocks. If you choose not to give us your name or a message, the pop-up will say, “anonymous donor.” If you decide not to select particular pixels, we’ll be glad to select a spot for you.
The answer here is different for everyone. Here is what some people are saying:
It’s the right thing to do. Your donation is a statement that you stand with us in saying that no youth or community is expendable. We are 100% committed to this project and we hope that our dedication and success will provide inspiration to under-served communities in other towns and cities.
I want to be involved. You also get to participate in something big! Seriously, this is a mammoth project and this is the first online community building art auction of its kind. You get to say, “I was a part of that. Those are my pixels.” You get to show other people how your name pops up when you hover the mouse over a certain part of the image. You get to be a part of the community and you get to support art.
It provides good business value. You may also contribute an image and a brief message representing yourself or your organization that will become a part of the homepage. We know that the business value of placing an ad on the homepage is well worth it. $100 in your marketing budget is a small investment for this kind of payoff.
I get a tax deduction. Oh yeah, and your donation is tax deductable.
We guarantee that the site will be online for at least five years (at least until October 1, 2014); however we plan to keep the site online forever (or as long as humanly possible). The idea is to create and preserve a piece of internet history: a project that is unique and permanent.
Think of the art revealing like a community mural project with all of our names on it that will stay solid and permanent for many years. Instead of the community being limited by where we live, this community mural project is online and accessible to people everywhere! We live in a time of exponential change, so it will be nice to have something consistent we can come back to. You can be a part of that!
We are sending our message across the country through an ordinary, out of shape individual on a bicycle and through the efforts of many community members and advocates. We are targeting public radio and community centers to help us spread our message. We are counting on everyday people like you for donations and talking to your friends and family about how great this idea is!
We will be posting many details about this to the blog. We invite you to ride along with us. We’ll also be asking for support along the way. If you want us to speak in your town, let us know! If you can offer some food, shelter, or any other support, let us know!