Best Arts Organization

Sloup

The sounds of enthusiastic chatter and clinking silverware fill a small room on Cherokee Street. You walk straight into the thick of it and are welcomed warmly by your hosts, Maggie Ginestra and Amelia Colette Jones. Your donation of $10 nets you a bowl filled to the brim with soup donated by a local restaurant, accompanied by bread provided by one of your fellow attendees. You're handed a packet of proposals submitted by local artists to peruse while you slurp. At the end of the night, everyone's $10 is pooled and awarded to the project that garners the most votes from you and your dinnermates. Ginestra and Jones hatched Sloup after a visit to InCUBATE's Sunday Soup in Chicago. Reminisces Ginestra: "Bowls being passed around, art-project proposals that were fascinating, frank, diverse and soup-splattered, enough chatter to drown in." The pair adopted the model in February 2010, immediately funding projects at the Urban Studio Café, StudioSTL and by individual artists such as Jordan Hicks — projects that just need a little boost to get off the ground but are typically overlooked by traditional arts-funding organizations. Riverfront Times was so taken with the concept that the paper awarded Sloup's founders a 2010 MasterMind Award in August.

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