31 August 2019

LEA ends

It's official: the Linden Endowment for the Arts end is closing. The announcement reads, "Linden Endowment for the Arts in its current form comes to an end on August 31st and the remaining sims will be taken offline by Linden Labs on September 1st." What "in its current form" means is anyone's guess; probably nothing more than "Maybe we'll look at it again in 20 years, but don't hold us to that."

When LEA first opened I had strong reservations, as it seemed likely to undermine the independent curators like me. A whole sim for free -- what builder wouldn't jump at the chance? Not something I could offer. My worries seemed confirmed when someone slated for Split Screen pulled out at the last minute, taking a LEA sim instead and leaving me high and dry. But in the longer term the competition with LEA turned out to be less of an issue than I feared: the more serious problem appeared some years later, with the slow exit of the artists themselves. I closed Split Screen when it became clear that I was on the verge of repeatedly hosting the same half-dozen or so artists that fit my goals.

One major loss is the LEA Sandbox. Once in a while it hosted some amazing stuff. More importantly, with the closure of so many other sites for building and hosting large works, the future of SL art is probably limited to textures on a prim and occasionally smallish sculptures, plus a few stalwarts with their own sims, like Bryn Oh and Cica Ghost. Photos and the like are nice, but they don't explore one iota of SL's capabilities. And that's a great pity.