STORIES

The text used in the assessment tools are great descriptors, but its stories that bring this work to life. 

Below is a growing portfolio of stories from artists and advocates from across the country that can be filtered on the assessment tools, spectrum, and categories.  You can turn on and off these filters by clicking on the buttons. 

Use these examples to help locate yourself on the assessment tool and see how to move up on the spectrum.

Have a story of your own to add?   Click here to submit it.

Relying on Artists to Fill Gaps When Resources Dry Up

One of our challenges is sustaining programs. We received funding from a national partner to start a program where we trained and hired artists as facilitators. We would then coordinate workshops drawing on this stable of artists as our presenters. For a time, it worked well and we were able to hire artists regularly. When the funding dried up, the artists wanted to continue doing the work they were trained to do, but we couldn’t afford to pay them anymore. Now, some artists will occasionally find funding and we’ll partner with them to help host a program. Other artists are volunteering their time. Our board feels that the artists should find the funding themselves and work as a partner to us, but we feel that this is asking too much of the artists to make up the gap left by our lack of funding and commitment to this program. It’s definitely something we need to discuss further to try and get the staff, the board, and our local artists all on the same page.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Give Up Organizational Capacity

A Distinct Hierarchy of Artists

For a lot of the projects that we do, we hire artists, but there is a distinct hierarchy. There is a project manager, and then there’s teaching artists, and then apprentices, in that order. While we want to value artists with more experience, the really well-known artists in our community, we find that this “top down” system reinforces those structures so that the same artists always get the best commissions and the other artists are not advancing. Our challenge is that our board is still very committed to traditional notions of artistic excellence and look to measures such as exhibition history, formal education, and even the medium used as the only legitimate ways to evaluate the value and career of an artist. We have a long way to go, but we are starting to have these conversations with our board to help them understand both the intentional and unintentional results of perpetuating this cycle.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Give Up Organizational Capacity

A Time When It Was Perilous to Be an Artist

Lisa Cordes, Director of Artist Services and Artist INC at the Mid-America Arts Alliance, reflects on a time when it was perilous to be an artist and shares her hope for the possibilities of changing that script.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Give Up Engaging with Artists

Support Structures Must Thrive for Artists to Thrive

Ruby Lopez Harper, Director of Local Arts Services for Americans for the Arts, reflects on how the artists in a community can struggle when the staff of the organizations working with artists are struggling to access the training, resources, and peer network they need to do this work effectively.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Give Up Organizational Capacity