The Teen Art Gallery

This is the kind of thing that happens in the age of the Internet and Kickstarter. My daughter Emily told me one of her friends was involved in opening an art gallery and they are using Kickstarter to raise the funds to make it happen.

In their own words, the "Teen Art Gallery is an organization run for teens by teens that features young artists, ages 12-19, in New York City galleries."

If you go about 2mins into this video below, you will see that the teenagers have built an entire organization, filled with themselves, to run this business. Entrepreneurship in action!

They are raising $10,000 to fund two gallery shows this spring in NYC. They've raised almost $4000 so far and have 25 days left. So it's crunch time. The Gotham Gal and I have funded this project and I thought some of you out there might want to join us.

It's youth, art & entrepreneurship all wrapped up into one. And that's a good thing.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Is twelve the new teen?The age of innocence retreats ever more.

    1. JLM

      Innocence has been KIA for a damn long time.  It was the adults who did it to the children in the most malevolent exercise of child abuse in the history of mankind.

  2. awaldstein

    Every time I think about Kickstarter in general or for a project it just feels right.So disruptive. So natural. Such a powerfully simple connecting idea.

    1. fredwilson

      Simple is good in my investment model

  3. Cynthia Schames

    That’s so awesome. I agree with @awaldstein:disqus about Kickstarter.  I just wonder how long it’s going to remain free of governmental meddling.  Eventually some wonk somewhere will figure out that Kickstarter is “microinvestment” and try to get it shut down.  The good news is that I fully expect the community to respond exactly as we did to SOPA. 

    1. JLM

      Haha, your comment is a sad commentary on our collective view of our government.They should be emulating not regulating.

      1. Cynthia Schames

        @JLM:disqus  ain’t that the truth?  But that’s what governments tend to do: hinder, obfuscate, regulate.  We all talk a lot about startup culture around here, and why it’s so vitally important.  I think the government (no matter who the President is at the moment) is the ultimate in crappy corporate culture.  Just go to a DMV and you see it all over the faces of every person “working there”.  Not only is there an utter absence of passion, there’s simply no clear direction or mission.  The apathy rises off them like the stench from a dead fish in the sun.  It’s an environment filled with backbiting, agenda-pushing, personal scandals, and selling one another out for selfish gain with no regard for actually doing what they’ve been entrusted to do.  They have clearly forgotten that they work for we the people, and not the other way around.  And of course, sea changes in so-called leadership every 4-8 years keep compounding the issue. It’s our job to remind them. Ahem.  But I digress.  Yay for teens and art!  I supported the Kickstarter project and can’t wait to visit the gallery. 

        1. JLM

          “The apathy rises off them like the stench from a dead fish in the sun.”Well played!Of course, they will do much better with healthcare, oui?

          1. Cynthia Schames

            Oh, mais non. Malheureusement, cela est vrai lorsque les cochons volent.

          2. JLM

            Now you’re just showing off.  Well played!

          3. William Mougayar

            Hey Cynthia, Tu parles francais? Genial! On dit en francais “quand les poules auront des dents”, which means when the chicken have teeth 🙂

          4. Cynthia Schames

            Hahah! I love that. Je ne parle pas francais mais un peu seulement. J’etudie la langue dans l’ecole. Many moons ago.

  4. leigh

    It blows my mind how absolutely driven this generation is compared to mine.  It’s not that my generation (x) didn’t create – we did – but it genrerally speaking was a solitary activity.  The notion of creating a mass collaborative connected project — teens – NYC – art – well it’s just like breathing to them.

    1. fredwilson

      they have tools we did not have leigh

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Here is a story I have shared quite a bit recently:In 1976 I was 17 and got a job at a gas station (back then that was a place that pumped your gas and repaired you car) the place was filthy so the first thing I did between pumping gas, cleaning windshields and checking oil (and in a small town of 12,000 I had lots of time) was clean the place up (including the bathroom, which still haunts me to this day).  Then it dawned on me to set up an area to sell candy bars, soda, and chips.  After a month I told the owner and his son that they needed to move all the office crap out of the little room we had for customers so that we could have even more room for product to sell.  So, we moved their office back to one of the maintenance bays.Then I told them they were missing out on a lot of business by the fact that they both worked the same hours and if they split their work hours to have a mechanic on staff on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday they could really make a lot of money.Before the summer tourist season I got them to repaint the front, put up an awning and plant some flowers….Entrepreneurship is not a new concept by any means and not something that is unique to this generation (as quite a few I run into believe) but we were limited by, as Fred says, “tools.”Yep, I went from $1.65 an hour to a whole $2.00 an hour!  But, my Dad, who had just started a restaurant having retired from the military, had a partner for his second restaurant in the owner of the gas station….Yes, and to this day, I always judge a company by their bathrooms!  🙂

        1. LE

          “but we were limited by, as Fred says, “tools.””Also limited by social proof and people’s attitudes which have changed (as a result of those tools and hitting a tipping point).  People laughed at you.  I was laughed at triply because my thing was something I knew nothing about and had gone to a good school where the expectation was you would get a good corporate job.A business back then involved, generally, having physical office, warehouse, or retail space, paying for traditional advertising, direct mail, cold calling etc. And figuring things out without access to the Internet.  Dealing with things that are not a barrier today to someone wanting to simply iterate and try an idea they put together over a weekend. (I think it’s great what can be done now vs. then btw.)And failure was not built into the process and certainly not celebrated. There was no pivot (although I did manage to pivot from my original idea which I rented space for but didn’t have the capital to pull off).There is a tremendous opportunity for young people today and I hope everyone who can will take advantage of what they can do with the tools, attitude and money available. And of course the information.

          1. awaldstein

            There is a tremendous opportunity for everyone today! Young and less so equally.

          2. John Revay

            Yes – I like your comment about the less so (young) equally having tremendous opportunity

          3. ShanaC

            Even with the interent, some of that doesn’t really change.  At some point you need a building for meetings, a product that you ship (digital warehouses are ok), and some help with advertising (you think everyone gets the internet, you’re wrong)

        2. David Semeria

          I really like this story, it reminds me of some of my own I could tell.

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            David,Then by all means, share your stories!It is the stories of life, much more than facts and figures that people relate to!

        3. fredwilson

          I love stories like this. I can’t get enough of them

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Fred,If you are curious and see life as an adventure worthy of exploration, as an exploration with no map and no GPS then it is these stories that become “wisdom.”

          2. JLM

   is in part the “wisdom of the campfire” whereby parables containing real wisdom are imparted through artful storytelling.One may start without a map but there is no excuse for finishing without one.In life, you make your own map and use it to navigate your own unique path.

        4. JLM

          Almost any story that revolves around making dirty bathrooms clean, will contain more than a bit of wisdom.

          1. leigh

            lol i saw this after i just wrote my dirty to clean bathroom story 🙂

        5. leigh

          I can’t believe i have a favorite Corporate toilet story but i do….One of my very favoritest client ever was the CMO of Rogers Cable in Canada named John Munro (who sadly passed way a few years ago).  A few gigs before that, he was the VP of Marketing for Greyhound buses here in Canada.  Now imagine — the bus company — number one issue for travellers — how awful and dirty the toilets were.  So — john had a national conference call and asked all the district managers to clean up the toilets.  He let a few months go by and no surprise, nothing really changed.  So he gets everyone back on the phone and tells them that he’s decided that he’s going to randomly show up without warning to have a candle light dinner in the toilets with them. Apparently a number of people were asking each other if he was serious – and in fact he was.  He started randomly showing up at Greyhound stations all over Canada and expecting dinner in the toilets.  He did it a couple times before word got out and the managers started to proactively send him photos of themselves having dinner in the toilets to let him know, they were ready and their bathrooms were up to par.  Within 3 months, all the toilets were immaculate and the problem was solved.  And yes, i to this day, also judge a company by their bathrooms and their CMOs by their ability to encourage the employees ensure their cleanliness 🙂

  5. jason wright

    The video lacked one essential ingredient, examples of the art.

    1. fredwilson

      The video and the rewards could both have been done better

  6. John Revay

    Our younger daughter is 13, she is very much into art, she very much enjoys drawing, painting and now she seems to be thinking about and trying some photography.That you for introducing us to TAG and the Kickstarter project.  We will be sure to join you in funding this important project.Thank you for sharing

  7. William Mougayar

    What’s really interesting about this initiative is that it’s focusing on the missing link: DISPLAYING / PROMOTING their work. These teens are already talented and they are creating stuff anyways. The TAG will put their work where it should be: at the center of the attention, and that success will fuel more work from them.When I was a teen, my only creative behavior was writing poems, but there was no one or infrastructure to help me promote my work. TAG is like an infrastructure for teen art. And infrastructure is a powerful enabler. I’m touched and I’m donating. 

    1. fredwilson

      well said William and thanks for helping them too

    2. Elia Freedman

      The poem thing strikes a nerve. I too wrote poetry when I was a teenager. I remember submitting a few to the literary magazine in high school. They were all rejected and that was the end of me writing poetry.I wish there had been an Internet back then. I was a competent programmer and was writing some games in high school. I could have seen selling them.

      1. William Mougayar

        Great to be in the company of other poets. It’s a sign of rich imagination. – posted via Engagio

        1. Cynthia Schames

          Poetry is dreams.Entrepreneurs are dreamers.Founders are poets./haiku

          1. William Mougayar

            So I’m a dreamer & a poet? Lol. It reminds of “A goal is like a dream, but with a deadline”- Napoleon Hill – posted via Engagio

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Cynthia Schames

            The lute plays. The bird sings. The wind blows. Dino writes.Holy shit, now you’re a poet too?

          4. JLM

            Bravo!  Well played, haiku or not.

          5. Cynthia Schames

            Wow, @JLM two bravos from you! I think that amounts to a bravissimo.

    3. JLM

      Ah, poetry!You are speaking with the winner of the Our Lady Star of the Sea grammar school poetry contest from the last century.  As my son says when trying to vex me — “deep in the last century.  Back before computers and stuff like that.”I can still remember and recite that poem which I will often do with the smallest encouragement and just a wee dram of elixir to steady my nerves.  I will offer an encore with just the slightest encouragement and often with none.Truth be known, my older sister helped me considerably with the poem.  My earliest recollection of “outsourcing”.  Bit of a poetic fakir, perhaps.The big takeaway — the receipt of a set of Rudyard Kipling’s works which has provided me considerable pleasure for decades.  I will re-read Kipling’s Barracks Room Ballads at times of confusion and it orders my pathetic little existence.Had our government been more acquainted with Kipling they would likely be out of Afghanistan already.If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white, Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight: So take open order, lie down, and sit tight, And wait for supports like a soldier. Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . . When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier. Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, So-oldier _of_ the Queen!It is not just in the creation that we enjoy art, but also in the consumption.

      1. William Mougayar

        Very nice! We should try a fun Friday with just rhyming comments. In grade 8th I once submitted my essay as poetry over an hour of spontaneous writing. The teacher gave me 20/20 (that’s like 100 in the French system), and made me recite it in front of the class. I thought to myself Geez I’m good at this. Lamartine is my inspirational hero. – posted via Engagio

    4. matthughes

      My wife and I recently attended the local high school arts festival.We don’t have kids but we went because the students went to the effort of hanging a very nice invitation on our front door.There was a small cover charge to get in and it was well worth it.The quality of the photography in particular was really impressive.

  8. Tom Labus

    American life is pretty intense, you need some time to goof off as a kid.

  9. kirklove

    Nice! Glad you found this one and are getting the word out. It’s great and inspiring and totally needs to be funded.BTW: I found it, via Maura, via Whit’s great Kickstarter hack called Kisttr – love finding out about Kickstarter projects my friends have backed and then joining in. Whit made that really simple for folks. You should check it out when you get a chance.

    1. fredwilson

      ooh. Gotta start using that. You’d think kickstarter would have that feature

    2. whitneymcn

      Just now saw this, and thanks — nothing beats user advocacy! 🙂

      1. kirklove

        Ha, my pleasure Whit. Really do love that hack. We need to grab a beer again. Soon I hope.

  10. Elia Freedman

    What I find particularly interesting about this endeavor is that these kids feel like they can succeed and thus trying is worth while. I’m not certain that this has been the case for a while.As I said to William somewhere else here, I once wrote poetry and submitted it to the high school literary magazine. All of poems were rejected and my rejection made me lose interest in writing. These kids are encouraged and that is encouraging.

  11. Jeff Pundyk

    thanks for the support, Fred.  My son is one of the artists.  it’s an amazing thing to watch these kids put this together.  the last show was a huge success and got some great writeups in the Times.…

    1. fredwilson

      What kind of art does your son create Jeff?

  12. Max Yoder

    I visit Kickstarter whenever I need a reminder of how awesome people are.

  13. jason wright

    Rohan – “And when they become as old as you, they’ll be hoping the same for the next generation..”Only when I have to start doing my grandmother’s gardening for her will I entertain the word ‘old’ – it’s a state of mind :-)Get on your bike and we’ll see who’s ‘old’ :-)The hubris of youthfulness – right on.

    1. Rohan

      HEY. You were the one who was talking about romantic childhoods. :DHehe. Nice to be able to dole out some humor to you for a change.. 

      1. jason wright

        ;-)…I was beginning to wonder about that…:-)

    2. JLM

      Physical age is meaningless.  Wisdom and life experience is everything.I remember growing up from 21 to 25 in a manner which was beyond my ability to comprehend.I was a clueless green shavetail 2nd Lt at 22 and a hardened Cpt company commander at 25.I “commanded” 38 men as a 2nd Lt and 240 as a company commander.  As a Cpt I actually knew what I was doing and had life, death, promotion, demotion, fines, prison authority over men and exercised it with caution and wonderment.  I lived to take care of those men.Three years chronologically and about three lifetimes otherwise.  I still remember that transformation — over which I had absolutely no control, I was just hanging on for dear life — with awe.I wrote those letters home to explain why someone had died, I told Mothers their sons were dead and I delivered sons to their fathers in caskets. It made you want to be so good at your job that you never wanted to do that again. Ever.While I was still a youthful person, I was no longer a boy. It had been beaten out of me. No regrets.

      1. jason wright

        The things they make you do.

      2. Rohan

        I can relate, albeit in a different way, JLM.We lost my uncle and dad when I was 9 and 12. Some family walked away in the process thanks to complications.It was mom, myself and grandparents now. And we had to make it work.Losing people is never the hard part in my point of view. In fact, with enough support, it actually makes you take stock, be more thankful and in the long run, be happy. In my case, my mom gave me that.The hardest part at least for me was to come to terms with the concept of death and then come to terms with what it meant to me. Luckily, my grandparents had the means to take care Mom and myself. I grew up knowing that I better make it count. I think my teenage was cut short to a few months. I really couldn’t afford to hurt my Mom. I did it once.. and never wanted to do it again. This was the woman who’d held our family together in dark, dark times. How could I make her feel anything but proud of me? I studied in Singapore because that was the only place where I could get a full scholarship. When I went through university, I worked on a start up dream 6.5 days a week, work clothes – no partying and all that jazz. It was about making the most of it.And it continues today. And will continue..So, I’ve never known what it is to have a carefree childhood. I’ve not done many of the things normal kids do. I couldn’t.  I’m neither happy nor sad for it.  I guess life has it’s way of going about things. We can’t control what happens to us. We can control our response though. And it’s up to us to choose to work hard, give it our best shot, stay positive, happy and spread the love. And yes. Have no regrets. Learning, one day at a time..

        1. JLM

          What an interesting insight and what a great life story.One of the things that really resonates with me is the observation that when folks do us a kindness we must justify that investment by our performance.Regardless of how tough one’s youth, it is always possible to enjoy one’s adulthood.  Perhaps even more.The lessons of your youth are the foundation of your adulthood.I have gotten to that funny point in life that I just adore working and am constantly working and playing seamlessly.  I particularly enjoy working with young folks and teaching them.  I have the empty nest so I have almost no distractions.Tom’w I head to the mountains for a week of work as I cannot ski with my dislocated shoulder.  So I am just working remotely.  It doesn’t even feel like work.  That is the blessing of technology.Who knew?

          1. Rohan

            You know, JLM. I don’t necessarily look at it as tough.. or easy. Perhaps it was tough from a certain point of view. But, really, it’s all so relative. When I hear many other stories of kids who had to live with abusive parents and the like, I tend to think I got off easy. I think of it as the way it was. Life just seems to happen. And it generally works out pretty okay.I really enjoyed many things in all those years. And that continues.. the lessons, of course, are many. And I’m grateful that I turned out okay – thanks to all those who helped.. In some small way, I can relate to the working and playing seamlessly. And it sure is nice to sense the happiness from your words! 🙂 And, as for teaching young folks, you sure are doing that. Thank you.. for continue to inspire me (and, I daresay, scores of others) with your insightful observations.And thanks for inspiring me to write today. (both here.. and…That’s flow from Texas to snow covered London.. all thanks to technology.Who knew indeed..:-)

          2. JLM

            “Tough” is what challenges you before you have conquered it.We need tough things to do in our lives to remember we are alive.Once you have conquered it, the bar moves higher until ultimately you can and will overcome anything.  Anything.Tough times do not prevail.  Tough people do.  All of us have a toughness in us that is not fathomed until summoned to the surface.

      3. PrasannaKrishnamoorthy

        Reminded me of a story I read where your experience is captured in a single sentence… “You see, people do not grow up because of time, people grow up when they are placed in grownup situations.” In HPMOR, a Harry Potter fanfic –…

        1. JLM

          Genius. Well played!

  14. JLM

    Hidden behind this lovely gem of a story is an enormous lesson for our times on several different levels.First, these young folk are becoming practicing capitalists on many different fronts.  Organizing a business.  Operating within a financial model.  Raising money from other folks.  Team building — I think the subdivision of duties amongst them is truly illuminating.  Identifying and targeting customers.  Wrestling with success and failure.  Making a buck.  This is capitalism.Capitalism is the religion from whence prosperity and success flows.  Its catechism is real world practice and experience.  Don’t wait until you are 30 and have a wife, child, mortgage and car payment to attend the services.Second, this emphasizes the fact that “wealth” is not simply a monetary concept.  These are undoubtedly privileged children — that is not an indictable offense — but what is apparent is that their parents have invested in them more than a bit of supervision, freedom of expression and creativity.  They can do this in part because they have been exposed to these things at home.  Home is their launching pad.  I want to puke when I see education measured by the cost per child when, in fact, it should be measured by the amount of personal attention per child.  Wealthy parents can invest more time as they have more discretionary time to invest.  Subsistence level parents simply do not have the resource of time and their work is physical and energy sapping.Life is a heartless bitch.Technology plays no small part in this as these kids have not just taken their idea on the road, they are taking it to the world through the use of technology.  A trite observation, but true nonetheless.  Access to technology and the ability to use it is another measure of wealth.In the global competition for excellence, it is not the “average” v the “average”, it is our top 5% v the world’s top 5%.  Programs such as this groom our top 5% to be the top 5%.This stuff is important not just for what it means for the concept of American exceptionalism and excellence but also for our culture.

    1. Aaron Klein

      JLM, I must insist you start a blog. Simply profound.

      1. Rohan

        Man. He’s good. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I bother with the commenting. It’s time wasted for everyone (skimming etc).. but I guess I’m making Pareto (god bless him) happy.. haha

        1. Aaron Klein

          No way…you contribute a great deal to this community!

      2. William Mougayar

        He could also share his long comments from here with 1 click on a Tumblr blog via Engagio.

        1. Aaron Klein

          Very cool.

    2. Tom Labus

      You’re on fire today!!It’s a distinct pleasure and honor to know you through this community.

    3. Ed Freyfogle

      I”m with you all the way except “the global competition for excellence”. No such thing. The more smart people in the world doing amazing things the better for all.In my opinion (as an American who has spent 13 of the last 15 years living outside the country) this is increasingly America’s greatest weakness – seeing others as competition. The world is not zero sum, it’s not a competition. The reason for kids to do awesome things is … to do awesome things, not out of fear that if they don’t the Chinese/Russians/whomevers will.When you spend your time seeing everyone as a competitor, that makes for a dreary existence. There’s no need.

      1. JLM

        I completely agree that “…the more smart people in the world doing amazing things the better for all…” however the competition for excellence in the world is real.Excellence is at the heart of many important and life changing technological and medical advancements from inventing the Internet to perfecting open heart surgery.There is nothing dreary about competing — particularly if you win.What the world can do that would be helpful is to pick up their fair share of the cost of its defense.  This is a real competition — between good and evil.  We are the good and those who side with us should chip in a bit more.

        1. Ed Freyfogle

          I can tell you the view from the outside (from the perspective of someone living in Europe in countries that want very much to be America’s best allies and have strong cultural ties to the US), which you are free to take as you will: America is increasingly difficult to “side with” when to even visit the country foreigners first have to get fingerprinted, etc.Increasingly (and in my opinion regrettably) it seems America views things as a threat or competition, not an opportunity. Most folks want to be America’s friend, but the US has moved into a gated community. 

          1. ShanaC

            I find that real opportunity only started to come to me when I stop judging and allow stuff to happen.I’m afraid that the US is too afraid to become zen about the process of growth.  We’ve demonized the other so much that we’ve become it (automons)

          2. Ed Freyfogle

            I can only share from my experience, and not to sound too negative, but yes I totally agree.With each trip I take back the US seems more and more “on the defensive” rather than “the land of opportunity”. A recent hypothesis I heard is that the US is on the way to a Brazil-like situation where a small elite lives fenced off and guarded from the masses (at the same time that Brazil happily transitions to nation with a vast, thriving middle class).

          3. ShanaC

            @freyfogle:disqus oh, agree.  I’m only semi-upset that a teacher friend of mine is moving to egypt.If he can’t find success here as a teacher, then what of the rest of us?

          4. JLM

            I love the gated community analogy.I wonder if, as the world’s only remaining superpower, we are really “beloved” or we just throw the best parties and thus everyone wants to be on the A list.At its most pragmatic level, nations do not really have long term allies but rather fleeting engagements of convenience when nations’ common interests momentarily align.When we had a rival in the world, our rival’s enemies were our friends almost by default.  Not by magnetic pull but by a flight to safety.I view the concept of competition as being a natural outgrowth of a country’s necessity to have consumers for its products and the desire to create new and better products with which to win new customers.It is about both commerce and physical safety.In the end, if America does the right thing as I think it struggles mightily to do, do we really need friends?

          5. Ed Freyfogle

            Gated community is where you live to gently decline/retire, it’s not where you live to innovate

          6. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          7. LE

            “to even visit the country foreigners first have to get fingerprinted, etc”To me, that seems like a reasonable request in order to keep the country secure. It was instituted after 9/11.… 

          8. William Mougayar

            If you’re looking at things from a global perspective, there is a difference between American politics, American business and American culture. – posted via Engagio

    4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Having made a promise to post more regularly to my own blog I decided that this story (or the story behind this story) is a good place to start.I have a real issue with the current “fad” of entrepreneurship and yes, for the most part it is a fad from my perspective.  Our local college has made a big push to develop a program in entrepreneurship and our local high schools are doing the same.We seem to believe that entrepreneurship is a skill set, something that can be taught in a classroom setting.  I think we have to come to grips with the fact that skill sets are nice but it is MIND SET that is most important.Schools cannot teach MIND SET only parents, family, and community can do that.  I admire these kids, because they show initiative, empowerment, and they perceived a problem and decided to solve it!I admire their parents for creating this environment.Up to this point, JLM are in total agreement, but now we will head in totally different directions!  :)I don’t buy into the concept of all of this being directly related to capitalism or the elitism of “the divine right” of the wealthy.  If you follow JLM’s logic, the “American Exceptionalism is due to the top 5% of our society…The reality is that a lot of what makes America different is tied to the fact that we are a young country without hundreds of years of feudalistic history holding us back.  We also enjoyed a vastness of land mass that allowed us to develop the “Go West Young Man” mindset that was not possible in the countries of Europe.  Thus, our country created a perfect environment for capitalism to grow and not the other way around.  That is why I always argue that the concepts of “too big to fail,” “job creators,” “trickle down,” or, “supply side economics, all actually lead to the destruction of capitalism and the special qualities that made this country the success that it has been.I like, Edward C. Banfield, who wrote the Unheavenly City Revisited, believe that what makes all the difference in the world is MIND SET.  My family was poor and we struggled, but none of that was “known” to me until I was an adult; regardless of our material situation I was always taught that I was neither inferior nor superior to any other person.  It was engrained in me that I could become anything I wanted through hard work, fair dealings, and most importantly, via a good education.I am not criticizing JLM but I do believe that we need to seriously think about some of the views we hold and ask ourselves if those views reflect our values.  I for one believe that capitalism offers the best opportunity for anyone to overcome the barriers of birth and as such then I cannot accept the idea that the poor will be poor anymore than I believe that being rich entitles one to anything more than anyone else.If the exceptionalism and excellence that this nation is known for is limited to only 5% then we need to do some really serious housecleaning as a society and we must remember that in the past the truly exceptional began from humble beginnings: Andrew Carnegie comes to mind….Maybe we need to realize that wealth is not what we should be focused on but rather we should focus on the achievement that wealth rewarded, the hard work that made wealth possible.  Personally, the car one drives, the house one lives in, or the balance of one’s assets tells me nothing of the worthwhileness of another.

      1. ShanaC

        I love your last line.Though why do you think entrepreneurship is a fad?

      2. JLM

        You have made a goulash of my words.  Nowhere did I link the concept of the top 5% to American exceptionalism.In the competition in the world amongst nations, it will and has always been our top 5% v their top 5% — the leadership not the masses — and therefore when one decries the lack of math or science or engineering studies in our country by the “average” student, it is not fatal as long as we continue to have a top 5% who is competitive with the world’s top 5% in these areas.This is a concept of individual achievement.It also does not mean that wealth creation is a singularly laudable achievement but a capitalist should not find that distinction to be an unnatural linkage.  An example would be America’s leadership in heart surgery.  Or the implementation of the Internet.  Not the wealth that may have flowed from those things.In fact, I made a point of saying that wealth could be in other forms rather than just monetary wealth — parental attention or access to technology.As to American exceptionalism, it is a concept which suggests that the very “newness” of our country coupled with a theory of personal and collective freedom embodied in the documents upon which the country was founded provides an opportunity for the individual and the nation to be “exceptional”.To put the sharpest point on it, it does not really imply in any manner that we are “superior” but rather that when compared to the rest of the world with feudal hierarchies and even monarchies we are “one of a kind”.One of a kind does not always translate to “best of breed”.  Though I would not be unwilling to “suggest” that in this instance that is also true.There has been a sense in this country by politicians to hijack that term, exceptionalism, and to use it to differentiate America from other countries on a qualitative basis.It means uniquely different and not necessarily better.The trappings of wealth, in particular the acquisitive materialistic peacock preenings of the nouveau riche, are not the barometer to be used and are irrelevant to the concept of exceptonalism or excellence.They are simply “costume” and “code” for those who would announce their good fortune to the world or who need to get home in a hurry, hence 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds.

    5. ShanaC

      Is it just time or quality time?I’ve seen some very poor parents investing lots of time in their kids.  They just do very different things than wealthy parents (playing ball vs reading a book)

      1. JLM


    6. fredwilson

      you saw the same things as i did in this project JLM. 

  15. jason wright

    Fred, I don’t know if you knew him well or even at all, but sad to report that Nigel Doughty was found dead today at his home in the UK. I believe Doughty Hanson invested in SoundCloud.

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t know him but I know several of his colleagues. That is sad news

    2. David Noël

      Sad news indeed.

  16. laurie kalmanson


    1. fredwilson

      One word comments rock

      1. laurie kalmanson


        1. Cynthia Schames


      2. David Semeria

        Ah, you have made me happy Fred – for reasons which only I and @awaldstein:disqus are aware of at the moment.A carefully chosen single word has a remarkable bang-to-buck ratio.Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, as Steve Jobs liked to say.And it doesn’t get more simple than a single word.

        1. fredwilson

          bring it

  17. Patrick Morris

    This is an awesome project, and glad to see you’re featuring it here. We need to remember to encourage creativity amongst our youth and support it’s development as part of their lives. Kickstarter is a great platform, and I’m excited that this is the first project that I’m backing! The rise of the youth creative-class is developing. 

  18. David Noël


    1. fredwilson


  19. John Revay

    I saw a tweet from the FAKEGRIMLOCK  this AM pointing to a Kickstarter project funding a startup to build a better email inbox app. MailPilotI eventually clicked through to their web site/blog.  they had some very interesting stats on where and when people came to sponsored their project.  Little traffic/ response from NYT piece, much more from hacker news reference.”There are no trends; there are only random fluctuations” – added Mailpilot name and fixed formating

  20. Hrag Vartanian

    This project has been the butt of many art world jokes recently. Kickstarting funds for a gallery show is pretty ridiculous. You want me to fund your art show? Why exactly? It seems to not understand how one really builds an art career and it’s not only through having your work shown. This appears to be more gimmick than anything else. It’s pretty telling that the art isn’t being shown.

    1. fredwilson

      i really don’t give a shit what the art world thinksi like this idea and i backed it and i blogged about it

  21. Miareeva

    I promised myself no more Kickstarter for a while, but I can’t resist this project. Art is a necessity, and anything that encourages teenagers to continue making art (as opposed to stomping on their creative spirit) should be encouraged.Art is integral for the soul.

  22. Audrey Banks

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments and support. You won’t be disappointed! We’re on our way to making the March show a great one.To address the concerns about the art not being in the video, at the time the video was being filmed we were in the middle of the submission process and not handling any of the artwork. We tried including pictures of the art from last year in the video, but as Sam Williams, our “videographer”, said, it didn’t “mesh.” To make up for it, I’ve included some photos of works featured in last year’s show in the text. Sorry about not doing that sooner.Thanks again everyone and thanks again Fred!

  23. Drew Meyers

    there are two links to the kickstarter project in the post.You mean there is no link to “The Teen Art Gallery” in the post? I’m on a crappy internet connection, so I can’t get the video to load..

  24. fredwilson

    There are two links in the post to the project.

  25. jason wright

    They still ‘play’ as the kids before them did, but the difference now is that kids of today are using the same toys that their parents are also using. That makes them seem very competent in the eyes of adults, but they still have so much to learn. My fear is that kids are having their childhood years squeezed.



  27. jason wright

    Well, I have a very romanticized recollection of my childhood, and I hope every kid gets to have a childhood that gives them good memories too. It doesn’t always happen that way unfortunately, but we should as a society aspire to creating an environment that allows for it.No force here.   

  28. jason wright

    …and contemporary child labor?

  29. Tom Labus

    Life expectancy was around 30 too.They had to start early

  30. jason wright

    No idea what you mean Fake. More words would be better, which is why grammar exists.War is humanity at its worst. Not a good place to look for examples of template behavior.

  31. LE

    “REVOLUTION WAR FOUGHT BY 14 YEAR OLDS”My father (a Buchenwald camp survivor) was able to stay alive because of skills that he had acquired at a younger age (electrical and mechanical)  even though apparently he had been studying to be a rabbi.…After the war he worked helping the predecessor to the CIA (the OSS) because he had taken the time to learn english (which was rare at the time) so he acted as a translator among other things.Games and playing, generally, were not something that I was exposed to growing up at all. Although I play with computers every day (and he fully supported helping me buy a terminal for my bedroom) I’ve never played a computer game and have no desire to.  Only speaking for myself I don’t feel that I missed anything at all by being raised with very little play (I’m not sure that others with the same upbringing would agree with me.)  The idea was always “suffer now enjoy later”. I don’t remember that that was ever said but it was implied. I have plenty of fun now with various “toys” and had many of those toys in my 20’s as well. 





  34. Rohan

    They will, Jason.It’ll just be very different. :)And different doesn’t necessarily mean worse. And when they become as old as you, they’ll be hoping the same for the next generation.. And so on.. (assuming we manage to solve the climate issues by then! ;-))

  35. JLM

    Words fail me.  The evil that was unleashed on the earth is beyond human comprehension.It is useful to remember that Hitler came to power in an election after he had written Mein Kampf wherein all of his personal evil was exposed for all to read.The DNA that courses through your veins contains things that few men will ever know or understand.God bless you and yours.

  36. David Semeria

    When I was a kid my dad bought me the UK equivalent of the TRS-80. We didn’t have much money, so it was quite a sacrifice.He only had one condition: if he caught me playing games on it he would burn it. But I was a kid. Kids like games. I needed to find a way round this, so I asked whether I could play games if I wrote them.He mulled on this for a while and then agreed.Four years later I won a scholarship for the best computing course in England.Smart chap, my dad.

  37. Rohan

    I was reminded of the last scene of the movie ‘Life is Beautiful’Never fails to make me cry..

  38. LE


  39. fredwilson