Working on Our Own Leadership Development

Our staff includes four people – so we’re tiny. Three of the four of us are artists. The work that we’ve done internally is around our own leadership development and training. I think the biggest thing that we have done most recently is that we worked in partnership on our strategic plan. It was an eighteen-month process, and I think it really galvanized what our mission, what our objectives are, and how we can strategize to accomplish those. That was a kind of paradigm shift and it has provided great clarity to our team around the role and the desired intent of our agency. I think the reason that it is as powerful as it is for us as a small team is that it was so fully informed by organizations, agencies, individual artists, and cultural leaders all across the state.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Organizational Capacity

Artist Fellowship Has Long-term Impact

Another artist who lives in the western part of the state also received an individual award from the arts council, which he used to buy equipment to update his studio. He’s a custom wood furniture maker – very contemporary furniture. His work is beautiful and is in collections all over the world. Before his involvement with the arts council, he was about to go out of business because he was at the point where he couldn’t figure out how to continue making a living as an artist and promote himself the way he needed to in order to be able to stay in business and work how he wanted to work. When he learned about the arts council and began to take advantage of many of the arts council’s services, he applied for a fellowship. He basically has credited all of that string of events plus the fellowship together with not only saving his business, but also growing his sales by 400%, thus demonstrating the value of investing directly in individual artists.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Funding Individual Artists

Artist Trust Public Commitment to Organization-wide Racial Equity

Artist Trust exists to bolster the work of all artists throughout Washington State. Ensuring artists of all backgrounds and identities are included in our cultural narrative is central to having an accurate and fair depiction of our society. Artist Trust recognizes and is committed to addressing historical and ongoing disparities in access to institutional funding, recognition, business practices, and job opportunities. Our Equity statement is a part of our Who We Are page on our website and shares more about the concept of racial equity and shifting paradigms, as well as detailing what Artist Trust has done, is doing, and will continue to do as we work to develop stategies for addressing socio-cultural and economic barriers for artists at all intersections of identities. 

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

Americans for the Arts Statement of Cultural Equity

This Americans for the Arts Statement represents the culmination of a year of work and consultation with members, advisory council members, stakeholders in the arts field, board, staff, and partners throughout the nonprofit sector. In addition to our new Statement on Cultural Equity, this link also includes some supporting materials about our process and goals.

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

Grantmakers in the Arts Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy

Grantmakers in the Arts recognizes that our society is challenged to overcome a complex web of inequities– racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and ableism among them. All of these forms of discrimination are powerful drivers of unequal individual and group outcomes. However, it is our belief that ALAANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, and Native American) individuals whose identities intersect with those of other “minority” social statuses often experience compounded mistreatment that is amplified by the interaction of race. With our assessment that racism is one of the most pressing issues of our time, our current priority is working against racism by working toward racial equity in arts philanthropy. As such, the Grantmakers in the Arts' board of directors developed this statement of purpose for their work in racial equity in arts philanthropy with a goal to increase arts funding for ALAANA artists, arts organizations, children, and adults. 

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

Artists Are...

State of the Art is a show being developed by an artist to talk about what it means to be an artist right now (today) in an effort to raise up artist voices. The first episode works to define what an artist is by talking to artists who are innovating and using their abilities in ways only artists could use them.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Power

The Power of Goal-Setting

One of the major issues I see with my peers as artists is this need for external validation. There are gatekeepers to the art world, regardless of what art practice you are in, and, as artists, we can feel at the mercy of a small and hard-to-penetrate community of decision-makers. And because we don’t necessarily receive steady and consistent financial support for our practice, I think it can make us crave this validation even more and pursue it, sometimes, without the most strategic plan for why we are doing it. The best tool I’ve found for becoming less focused on these external validation opportunities is to engage in my own goal setting for how I want to build my art practice and setting my own financial goals. It is both empowering and also increases self-sufficiency while making you less driven by this need for external validation. There is definitely something powerful in that mind shift to say, “I don’t need to get into six new shows this year for people to recognize my art career is meaningful and making progress.” If I set my own set of goals that I know that I’m moving towards, I can see that my goals may not require any new shows in the next six months and stay focused on more relevant tasks. It’s okay to be in a period of reflection, of planning, rather than chasing after projects and short-term validation at the expense of really building capacity, thinking long term, and putting the foundation in place for your art practice to be successful over a lifetime. There is definitely empowerment that comes with trying to move yourself into that mindset, which is challenging because we’re always driven by the short term. Especially as artists: whatever you’re making at the moment feels like the most important thing in the world – and it should be. So, the trick is to have that drive alongside the longer-term goal setting. Most artists are incredible goal setters and goal achievers when it comes to our creative practice. If you can harness that natural skillset in areas outside the studio or onstage or wherever, you become very powerful.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Planning and Capacity

Hiring People with Different Expertise

I think another key is to remember the importance of having a team of people with different expertise. One good example I saw was of two glass artists who have a studio here in town, who applied for and received some funding a couple of years ago. They used the funding to make a long-term investment by hiring a business consultant to work with them on building their studio practice and improving their marketing and sales skills. Since then, they have built their business up to the point where it is profitable. They’re making a number of different objects that they’re able to sell within the studio space, a gallery space right at their production facility. It’s not a very large facility at all, and they’re not doing tons and tons of volume, but they’ve been able to take what they had learned through that experience with the consultant to make their businesses profitable. And I know that they had kind of a rough start because they were not business experienced, so this was a really good way for them to obtain the business skills they needed. They learned how to market to their audiences and really sell their products successfully from identifying areas they needed to grow in and investing some funds in their own development.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Communicating & Connecting

Removing Obstacles to Artists Thriving

Jenifer Simon, Director of Programs + Outreach for CERF+, shares what motivates her in working to support artists.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Engaging with Artists

Streamlined and Transparent Funding Process

Heather Pontonio, Art Program Director for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, shares a previous experience overhauling an individual grant process with an eye to transparency.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Funding Individual Artists

Artist Input Leads to Program Innovation

Cindy Ornstein, Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Mesa and Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center, shares a successful process seeking artist input to design new, innovative programs.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Services and Programs

Budgeting as a Tool for Empowerment

Elaine Grogan Luttrull, Department Head of Business & Entrepreneurship at the Columbus College of Art & Design, describes the experience of an artist shifting her perspective to view budgeting as a tool for fulfillment rather than a chore.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Money

Engaging Artists in All Our Advocacy Efforts

We try to engage artists in all of our advocacy efforts, especially in helping to inform us about how our funding works for them or against them. It’s an open dialogue between the individual artists and arts organizations and us.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Advocacy

Prototyping Community Ideas

Cindy Ornstein, Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Mesa and Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center, describes a new initiative funding artists to create prototypes in response to community input.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Community Connections

Learning Pricing Based on Artist Value

Elaine Grogan Luttrull, Department Head of Business & Entrepreneurship at the Columbus College of Art & Design, shares a story about teaching students to price their work in a real-world setting.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Money

Advocating for Particularly Vulnerable Artists

Jenifer Simon, Director of Programs + Outreach for CERF+, describes their efforts to ensure that artists who are dealing with disasters have a voice at the table.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Advocacy

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Time Management)

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Planning and Capacity

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Career Planning)

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Planning and Capacity

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Portfolio Kit)

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Planning and Capacity

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Marketing)

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Communicating & Connecting