Bay Area Local Currency Supports Local Arts & Music

April 12, 2014

Culture, Politics

1364951279The 25th Street Collective is an artisan-production and workshop space for slow food and slow fashion. Founder Hiroko Kurihara is a designer and well-known champion of local-made, founding both Oakland Sewn and Oakland Makers to support local manufacturing and grow Oakland’s diverse economy. On Saturday, May 3rd, the 25th Street Collective will showcase a new and exciting way they are “going local” on an even deeper level – by participating in Bay Bucks, the Bay Area’s new local currency for businesses.

After Saturday Stroll, the venue will be transformed into the Bay Bucks Local Arts & Music Bazaar, featuring artisans, local food and drink, and several musicians. The evening will feature Oakland musician Jon Mitchell as he releases his newly recorded album, Portal. What makes the event special is that nearly the entire thing is happening without cash. Instead, the venue was rented in Bay Bucks, a local currency that allows businesses and professionals to convert their unsold inventory or unbilled hours into credits that they can spend at other businesses in the network. Bay Bucks launched last year and has over 170 local businesses participating. In addition to renting a venue space for a concert, you can use Bay Bucks to visit a doctor, have your taxes done, get legal advice, hire a plumber, or buy custom-made organic truffles or fair-trade coffee.
 Jon Trees
Bay Bucks co-founder Kendra Shanley says, “Co-hosting an event like this one is important to Bay Bucks, because we want to show how a local currency can enable arts and music in particular.” Many artists struggle to earn enough cash to find a way to share their art with the community. “Bay Bucks enables musicians, artists and entertainers to basically ‘pay’ for what they need with their own products or services, rather than cash.” When a venue or any another business earns Bay Bucks, they can then turn around and purchase what they need without cash, and 100% of Bay Bucks stay circulating in the local community.
Unlike traditional barter, Bay Bucks does not require direct trade. “That’s the power of the network,” says Shanley, “so it functions much more like a currency than a barter system, because you earn Bay Bucks and you spend them on anything you want.”
ChongKee BB networking party

About Kendra Shanley

Bay Bucks co-founder Kendra Shanley

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