Artist Fellowships with Artist Input

A local foundation had long supported arts organizations. An artist board member proposed funding annual artist fellowships as a missing piece in the city's arts ecosystem. He organized several convenings of artists and professionals to build out an inclusive, high-impact fellowship program. Artists propose their "next step" artistically, not their next project, a crucial distinction for artists caught in cycles of project funding. Applicants can be emerging through established, and application and reporting requirements are streamlined. The fellowship panel is half artists, and the foundation continues to seek out feedback as the program evolves. The roster of its funded artists is a who's who of the city's artists, and fellowship recipients often travel and learn new skills, things that enrich the (sometimes insular) artist community.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Artists Collaborate to Develop Programs

Artists collaborate in development of programmatic initiatives within a given framework as both students and mentors. With a new residency program in development, a fundamental curriculum of entrepreneurial skills and artist-centered focus topics is developed based on years of programmatic experience and relationships with business professionals and working artists throughout the field. However, a given portion of the focus topics are left TBD until the resident cohort is selected so that the curriculum can be tailor made to address the hopes and needs of the artists in the program.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Authentic Feedback

Throughout 2016, Artist Trust worked to build feedback loops between the organization and artists we serve. In an effort to better understand the needs of individual artists in Washington State, we created a comprehensive survey that asked artists about their biggest successes, challenges, and what supports they need. The feedback received through this survey has informed AT's programming throughout the past year. This year, we have chosen to evolve the survey into a two-pronged data gathering & engagement strategy: an annual census survey and a project we are calling Institutionalizing Informal Conversations, in which we have developed a series of questions for our staff and board to ask artists in casual conversations at events and informal environments. We are collecting this information for storytelling and to gain deeper understanding of Washington's artists' needs.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Periscope

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville (ABC Nashville) created Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training, a program to ensure that artists can thrive in Nashville with a team of partners who bring different expertise and resources: Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, and Nashville Mayor's Office of Economic Development. ABC Nashville identified these partners and built consensus around the importance of retaining artists as well as attracting more artists to Nashville.

With a shared goal as the focus, the partners were able to combine traditional business expertise with artist expertise to create Periscope, a program tailored to the unique needs of artists that is much more robust and sustainable than a multitude of individual programs would have been. Further, having one coordinated program is much easier for artists to access and navigate!

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LUNA Fete Artist Training Program

In 2016 the Arts Council New Orleans debuted a Local Artist Training Program to teach a small group of our artists skills and tools around making large-scale installations with light and technology. This was in preparation for our LUNA Fete, in which we commission such projects largely from international artists although we're changing that with the help of the program. Immediately following the completion of the program one artist had made and displayed at a gallery an entirely new series of work made possible by the use of the MadMapper program she had learned. Another artist was offered a scholarship to attend the New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program, which is where we sourced the primary instructor for the initiative.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Services and Programs

The Creative Edge

To ensure that the arts and creativity were a key issue in the 2015 mayoral race in Nashville, TN, the Metro Nashville Arts Commission (public sector) and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville (private sector) spearheaded creation of a coalition of artists and creative businesses called "the Creative Edge" recognizing that, simply put, creative people are Nashville's competitive edge.

Led by a steering committee of 15 artists and arts supporters, the Creative Edge coalition grew to include of over 150 artists, artist cooperatives, and creative businesses. The Creative Edge platform identified four areas for the next Mayor of Nashville to focus on for investment and public policy to support the creative community and hosted a mayoral forum (attended by all of the mayoral candidates) to seek commitments on these issues.

Thanks in part to this effort, Nashville elected the most arts-friendly Mayor and City Council in recent memory.  Further, the Mayor has already made good on one of the four commitments which was appointing a position in the Mayor's Office to coordinate policy and services to members of the creative industries.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Advocacy

Rural Program Office

Springboard's Rural Program office in Fergus Falls, MN creates permanent local resources that are 1) local adaptations of our urban offerings 2) new programs based on the needs and assets of the community. Because artists have regular, ongoing access (beyond just a staff member that drops in a few times a year) they are more engaged, more able to shape programming and have an entirely different quality of relationship with the organization and services.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Organizational Capacity

AZ ArtWorker

When I first began my work in the AZ ArtWorker program I was really looking forward to engaging multiple communities in Douglas. The launch of the program, which took place in this city was immensely successful and so my expectations when we opened registration for an asset mapping and community organizing convening were high.

Only a week away from the program, we only had 3 registrants. To say that I was worried is an understatement. We engaged Dr. Maribel Alvarez who works with communities in Tucson and engages with the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and we were responding to requests from artists and community organizers in organizing this type of workshop, so we assumed that the program would be a welcomed offering.

On the morning of the workshop, held on a Saturday morning, in a local coffee shop, several community leaders and artists slowly tricked in to participate in the workshop. Out of the 9 participants who joined us that day, we hosted the new Mayor, the Douglas Hispanic Chamber Membership Director, members of the Douglas Community Coalition, a realtor and several artists; in short, community members who are devoted to making a marked and profound change in the way in which the arts can be engaged to creatively problem-solve the different challenges being faced by Douglas’ communities. It was that morning that I realized that what might make me comfortable as an arts administrator (high numbers and early registration) is not something I would find in Douglas. Registration is not a good indicator of what participation will be and the only way to get the word out is by directly communicating with multiple and varied stakeholders. Flexibility and being comfortable with the unknown up to the last minute have marked the only strategy that has worked in serving and working with Douglas.

At the end of the day, Maribel's workshop engaged these leaders in active dialogue with one another, something that doesn’t always happen even in this small rural community. The engagement also served to connect them with a national leader in community organizing, who conveniently, is also their neighbor. When the day’s work was finished, we all shared a meal in an adjacent restaurant, breaking bread and sharing stories.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

W.A.G.E.

Providers are becoming W.A.G.E. certified to show they’ve made a commitment to operate ethically in relation to artists and wish to have this commitment acknowledged by their communities.

A W.A.G.E. Certified organization signals that it stands in solidarity with artists as part of an equitable community no matter what their material practice or reputation might be.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

Artists Working with Community

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

Artists Meet-n-Greet

Almost ten years ago now, we were taking a pivot to understand directly what we could do to help the artist community. We held an artist focus group with a really diverse group – old and young, black and white, Latinx, straight and gay. The artists helped us analyze, through a SWOT analysis format, what we could be doing for the community. We took the output of that meeting, put it into a survey, found every creative person in the region we could and invited them out to weigh in on what our agenda should be for the next several years. That’s led to the need for networking amongst colleagues and access to underutilized space, specifically in the urban core. That work has led to what became “Artists Meet-n-Greet” that started to draw upwards of five hundred artists per event. It turned into a combination of gallery collaborations, which has now turned into a roughly forty-venue, once-a-month bus loop that activates creative spaces, artist pop-up spaces and other businesses that want to engage in the arts.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Craft at the Market

Every year we produce Craft at the Market, which is one of the state’s largest marketplaces for handmade and professional arts and crafts. It’s offered for three days each year, and it serves two different audiences. The first day is open only to wholesale buyers. Wholesale buyers of arts and crafts come from all across the country to make wholesale orders for their galleries. We also have corporate buyers who come to that event. Anyone who can represent a business or gallery – and we also have museums who come to acquire work for their collections on that day. Then the next two days the show is open to the general public. We have between 6,000 to 10,000 visitors over those two days. Who comes to the show ranges from year to year. This show features more than 150 artists showing original work. It also offers the opportunity for performing artists to perform over those two public days, live on our performance stage. It offers several exhibits: an exhibit of work by members of the architectural artists directory; and we always have an exhibit that is an open call for artists in the state that is adjudicated and usually themed. That exhibit includes between thirty or forty pieces.

In all, there are probably about 250 artists who participate in this event. With the exception of the exhibit that has the open call, the majority of the artists are participants in one of the arts council’s dedicated marketing programs – either the Crafted program, our performing artist directory program, or our architectural artist directory. So, that’s probably our largest event for artists that we work with here, but it’s also one of our most successful. In 2015 the economic impact of the market over three days in the city it was in was over $2,000,000.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Makings of a Master

In our folk and traditional arts program, we have an exhibit called “Makings of a Master” which exhibits the work of master folk and traditional artists in the state. It also displays work that they have done with apprentices, who are funded through folk and traditional art apprenticeship grant that we solicit applications for each year. This exhibit travels, and it is updated fairly regularly as things progress and change. A great opportunity that we’ve done over the last couple of years is, when the exhibit moves to a new location, to a new community, we work with the gallery or the organization that’s hosting the exhibit to plan an event that showcases someone from the region – someone who is included in the exhibit or who is a master artist that practices a relevant art form. There is an opening night performance and gallery talk: those have been really well received and attended by people from all across the state. Those events also allow visitors to connect with certain folk communities that they may or may not have been aware of. It really provides an opportunity for them to recognize an artist as a master artist and to learn what that actually means. It’s a learning opportunity all the way around, because the artist gets to teach people not only about their art form and craft, but also what it means to be a master artist and further their art form in the commonwealth.

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Artists Cooperative Gallery

When I arrived here six and a half years ago we had the museum store, which was at that time, under our 501 c(3) support organization. And at that time it was a regular museum store with some artist work on consignment, but mostly gift items that had been purchased for sale at the store: mugs, and t-shirts, the standard typical stuff. A year later we converted it, under the foundation and with their blessing and cooperation, into an artists cooperative gallery. There’s a group of artists that run the store, the museum provides volunteers to handle the clerical work, the counter, and the cash register. But the co-op mounts the shows, juries artists in – all the artists are juried by a jury of their peers so you have to be accepted into the co-op. They have to be artists from the state. There is a maximum of sixty-six, but there’s certain numbers by discipline. So you rarely have the full number.

In addition to mounting the exhibitions and doing the jurying, there’s almost always a member of the co-op in the store when it’s open, demonstrating their work on site, so that the place now becomes an opportunity that represents everything we are about: we have a studio program; we have a museum; we have performances. Here are artists working on site. Their work is in the co-op. Each artist receives 70% of every sale. 20% goes to support our engagement and education programs, and 10% goes to the cost of administering the store. There is no paid staff. There is one small contracted payment for a bookkeeper and then everything else used to run the store is volunteer time, except for our staff support. It’s built a community of artists, that are all from the state, that know each other and are working together for the opportunity to connect with the public, to represent how the artist is at the heart of our work here.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Engaging with Artists

Spoken Word Teaching Artists

In our spoken word program we partner with an organization that has multiple teaching artists in their core. We have now been working in partnership with them for about five years, where those artists work with us in numerous schools, five to six schools a year, in afterschool programs once a week. They work with the students in gaining all kinds of literacy skills starting with creating a safe student centered work environment, and then building their confidence and their voice for writing, for performing what they write, for collaborating in teams with their fellow students, and ultimately for participating in public presentations of their work. Those artists have been paid, so they have been given paid opportunities to hone their own skills.

They’ve created a community with likeminded artists from some of our other engagement programs, where they can share and grow and develop opportunities for mentoring. In many cases those artists end up being put in situations for projects with us where they’re getting to meet national artists who work in their field, and work with them in different ways on our campus. And so, there’s both professional development in that relationship, there’s the experience that is so important for someone to hone their skills and be able to market their skills to others, there’s the incredible relationships over time with different schools and students, and the kind of exposure and promotional value of having it be a program we are proud of and that we market to the public as a free public event that culminates the program in each spring.

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Budgeting to Pay Artists

Our organization works with artists in many capacities – we teach artists, we ask artists to perform at festivals and run hands-on activities, we find them opportunities like when we recently booked an act for the City Council swearing in ceremony. They are all local paid artists. We have our monthly third Saturday event here on the center’s campus. Those artists get paid. We actually pay an independent curator. That was actually where the idea for our bigger festival came from. We were hiring an independent curator to curate each event and design the whole thing and that idea of actually paying local artists to be curators was something new for us that started with the one event and now has sparked to the full big festival in March. So, we pay a lot of artists. And then we also pay the touring, national and international, artists for our performing live program, which is our big presenting program. This year’s budget for artist fees is well over $2,000,000. So we’re paying a lot of artists.

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I work with Artists Artists Thrive Paying Artists

COPPeR Innovation Acceleration

The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, COPPeR, uses the AIR Institute curriculum to provide workshops in Colorado Springs that teach collaboration, design thinking, business planning and entrepreneurial mindset to local artists, creatives, business people, and community members. COPPeR has four trained facilitators who can teach the AIR:Shift Workshop. Individual artists now have broader networks and access to community resources, accountability buddies, and business planning skills. Also, because the program is designed to create local, implementable programs that encourage connections between the arts, business and community, we now have a new program that our local residents designed - Innovation Acceleration. The pilot program was purchased (new earned revenues) by our local workforce development agency - artists were paid to train 50 of their employees to access creativity and foster new ideas.

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I work with Artists Artists Survive Services and Programs

Staff Retreats

In the past year, Chicago Artists Coalition has initiated a series of internal staff retreats, each fostering a collaborative space and time for reflection and strategic development. Over a potluck lunch, staff members think through how to innovate within preexisting programs, explore new opportunities and partnerships across sectors and within the arts community, overcome obstacles, and ensure that we affirm the organization's mission in all aspects of our work. Maintaining this ongoing internal conversation and its documentation (often on the office walls) provides an readily available reference point for all staff members in both day-to-day operations, programmatic development, and evaluation.

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I am an Artist Artists Survive Organizational Capacity

Connecting with the Department of Planning and Community Development

C4 Atlanta is working with The Department of Planning and Community Development to engage artists in the planning and re-zoning process. This is a new partnership but The Department and the Planning Commissioner (and his team) value artists and welcome input as the city begins a new zoning ordinance (the last update was 1980).

C4 Atlanta is offering the training to help artists better understand city planning, and to better understand the complexities of civic-centered art making.

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I work with Artists Artists Survive Community Connections

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy

C4 Atlanta has maintained a diverse service population since its inception. However, three years ago the Board decided to ensure that we should strive for inclusion at all levels of the organization in respect to backgrounds, but also in respect to privilege. The organization takes very seriously its role in the community as a convener; however, we also examine our relationship to individuals and how that power dynamic may have unintended consequences.

For this reason, we made our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy public this last year. We also reference this site in many of our public facing materials, and we ask that our partners understand our policy. Because we carry this through our work, many of the artists with whom we work began to examine their roles in relation to community, each other, and their practice.

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I work with Artists Artists Survive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)