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. Read our Guidebook for more suggestions on how you can use Artists Thrive, putting the tools to practice, and sparking conversations with Artists Thrive.

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

Jessica McCambly shares what generosity means to her as an artist

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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 and Connecting

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 and Connecting

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

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

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

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

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Social Media Basics)

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

Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art Series (Social Media Plus)

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

Knowing When It’s Not Right

Artist Tim Nolan describes trusting your gut and turning down opportunities that aren’t a good fit.

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

Did You Promote the Show?

A former student left a comment on my blog about an unsuccessful exhibition. Her exhibition had a nice opening, but the work wasn’t selling. I actually emailed her, “Tell me what you did to promote the show,” because I had learned over the years we can’t trust galleries to do that. And she emailed me back “Oh my god, I thought I had done more. I sent out one email and one social media post.”

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Struggle Communicating and Connecting

Times of Struggle Lead to New Opportunities

Artist Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova shares about times in his career when he struggled to balance artistic fulfillment and financial return, and also to balance community and family.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Struggle Communicating and Connecting

Rural Artist Using Social Media to Reach a Broader Community

Tessa Dallarosa from Laramie, Wyoming describes how, as an artist working in a rural setting, social media is one of her biggest resources for connecting with a broader community, and yet, how she struggles with the inherent challenges of social media as well.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Struggle Communicating and Connecting