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.

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Sol Aramendi

In this A Blade of Grass FIELDWORKS, artist Sol Aramendi collaborates with immigrant day laborers, artists, developers, lawyers, and organizers to create a smartphone app. The objective of the app is to combat wage theft.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Laura Chipley

This A Blade of Grass FIELDWORKS features artist Laura Chipley who, in collaboration with other individuals, has created a multimedia education initative to combat environmental contamination throughout West Virginia.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Suzanne Lacy

In this FIELDWORKS episode, A Blade of Grass features artist Suzanne Lacy. Lacy leads a performance with numerous men in order to take a stand against the violence experienced by women in Quito, Ecuador.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Mary Mattingly

In this FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass features artist Mary Mattingly. Mattingly created a floating food forest which travels through New York City harbors in order to encourage the public to cultivate fresh food as well as to promote conversations about food and public policy among the public.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Nigel Poor

In this episode of FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass features artist Nigel Poor. Poor works with men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison to create audio works for broadcast on public radio.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Dread Scott

A Blade of Grass features artist Dread Scott in this episode of FIELDWORKS. Scott seeks to engage with the community to create a work of art that will reenact the largest rebellion of enslaved people in American history.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Adaku Utah

In this episode of FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass explores the work of artist Adaku Utah. Utah, in conjunction with Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, activists, and ancestors, leads an intergenerational healing village called Harriet's Apothecary.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Mel Chin

In this episode of FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass features the work of artist Mel Chin. Chin galvanizes 400,000 individuals across the country to end childhood lead poisoning.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Pablo Helguera

Artist Pablo Helguera is featured in this episode of A Blade of Grass' FIELDWORKS. Helguera opens a pop-up bookstore in Red Hook, Brooklyn housing twenty thousand used Spanish-language books.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Brett Cook

In this A Blade of Grass FIELDWORKS, artist Brett Cook promotes health and wellness through participatory portraiture at Oakland's "Life is Living" festival.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Fran Ilich

In this episode of FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass features artist Fran Ilich. Ilich created a coffee service that connects Zapatista communities to political movements in New York City.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Jan Mun

In this episode of FIELDWORKS by A Blade of Grass, artist Jan Mun combats one of the largest underground oil spills in the world by way of bioremediation in Newtown Creek, Brooklyn.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

A Blade of Grass | FIELDWORKS: Artist Jody Wood

In this episode of FIELDWORKS, A Blade of Grass features artist Jody Wood. Over the course of three months, Wood travels to nine homeless shelters throughout New York City with her mobile beauty salon.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Thrive Practice

Jessica McCambly shares what generosity means to her as an artist

Photo:

Generosity has been indivisible from my experience of being an artist. I cannot personally separate the two. I have found that taking an active role in creating the scene and being a supportive peer has served me well as an artist and as a human. I was fortunate to come out of a grad program where there was a strong spirit of kindness and collaboration among my peers. I was also lucky to be a part of Texas’ oldest, artist-run collective, 500X. At the same time, John and I opened an experimental project space. We named it good good things. This time of sharing and generosity truly formed the core of what I wanted my creative life to be and has been at the center of my life and career ever since.

When we relocated to San Diego for our teaching positions, we altered the idea for good good things, redefining it as a transitory curatorial project. As good good things, John and I have worked collaboratively with an artist run space (Helmuth Projects) in San Diego, to curate two notable exhibitions, both known as Object Object!.  The idea behind the show was that artists would meet, and that an artist-driven network would bloom. And this did happen. And it was beautiful. The secondary piece that we didn’t count on was the line around the block, filled with art lovers,collectors, arts administrators, and curators. In a city where artists struggle for support a nd visibility.. it was amazing. From these two shows, studio visits were scheduled, commissions were requested, curators curated, work was collected, artists felt awesome, friendships were forged, and a community came together.

A valued piece of advice that my mentor, Annette Lawrence, shared with me while in grad school, was to “not get caught up in the art world noise.. just focus on the work and the rest will follow.” She was right, and would like to add that being both a lover and champion of art other than my own has also been so important. I feel that generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. I am so grateful to know other artists. I love their art. I love knowing that they are making art. It makes me want to make my art.  I believe that there really is room for all of us. We make the room. When we, as artists create the scene, we drive the scene for each other, and we own the scene together.

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

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

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

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

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

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