On April 6th, 2015, Curt Oren got a New Hat. On May 20th, 2015, millions of people all over the world knew. Curt and his friend Ben Crouse had a simple idea. Buy a hat that says Curt’s New Hat and see how far the rabbit hole goes. Curt was fortunate to have the time and money necessary to take that idea to its extreme; buying a billboard off I-380 in Cedar Rapids that asks, “Do you know about Curt’s New Hat?”
A few days after the billboard went up, Buzzfeed knew about Curt’s New Hat. When people went to www.curtsnewhat.com, they saw Curt spent every dime he had on the billboard and needed donations to get back on his feet. Curt put his contact information on the website and calls and texts began to pour in from people saying how much The Hat meant to them. Donations totaled over $1,000 from people all over the world. Amazed by the overwhelming generosity of strangers, Curt decided to pay it forward.
The money raised by www.curtsnewhat.com has been turned in to the Curt Oren Memorial Institute for Comedic Safety non-restrictive use grant, a $500 grant awarded every 3 months to help make the world a more squishy place. This grant is meant to give people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to carry out their ideas the means to make them into a reality. When Curt bought the billboard, everyone said he was crazy. But crazy ideas are exactly what this world needs. Millions of brilliant ideas collect dust because people are constantly told “no.” “This idea will never work.” “This idea is a waste of time.” and most importantly, “This idea costs too much money.”
The only barriers to anything are time and money. Curt’s New Hat exists as a reminder that barriers only exist because we let them. We are free to use the world as we see fit, and the borders and boundaries that we create can be exploited to make whatever dreams we have a reality. All we need is time and money. We can’t tell time what to do but we can award a $500 grant to one lucky person every 3 months. We are here to figure out who that lucky person should be. You are here to tell us one simple thing: Why you?*
*C.O.M.I.C.S grant applications must be submitted by March 23rd at 11:59 PM through the text box above, and are limited to 300 words MAX. Anything you can fit inside this box is fair game and links to examples of work are highly encouraged. Physical submissions will not be accepted unless they are simply bribes. Grants will be awarded based on merit, financial need (assessed by the person submitting, honor system!), and nothing else. Grant recipients will be decided by John Engelbrecht, Director of Public Space One, Katy Meyer, Owner of Trumpet Blossom Cafe, David Dunlap, artist and former Professor at the University of Iowa, Simeon Talley, owner of Guns x Butter Clothing, and Curt Oren, who lives with his parents. The grant will be awarded at a spaghetti dinner on April 1st at 7 P.M, no foolin! See you there!!!!