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.

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.

Rubric Spectrum Category
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.

Rubric Spectrum Category
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.

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

Inviting Artists to Create Our Agenda

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.

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

Artist-Designed Art Walk

About eight years ago we took over coordination and promotion for First Friday Art Walk downtown. When we did, we engaged with the artist community and asked for ways in which we could improve the event. And then we did so. And over the next few years, Art Walk kind of blew up. It became a major attraction, and the number of people downtown just went through the roof: there would be tens of thousands of people during the summer months swarming downtown. The result of that was that we heard from the business community that they really loved it, but some of the gallery owners and artists who worked in cooperative galleries and similar spaces struggled to keep up with the glut of people coming through. So we led a two year community conversation with local artists and with business owners of downtown to try to find ways in which we could make First Friday Art Walk more effective. That even meant finding ways to make it a little bit smaller. That process was successful because we were actually able to work with the downtown business alliance to take a major summer event and move it from Friday to Saturday. That way, it didn’t make First Fridays untenable in the terms of the numbers of crowd that was downtown, and it made the day more of an art event.

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