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.

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 and 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

Making Time for All of the Aspects of Life

Debs Webster describes her learning curve to find balance between time for her large family, the business side of art, and her studio practice through scheduling as well as separating her home, work and creative space.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Practice

Valuing Your Personal Energy as a Resource

Tristan Hessing offers his perspective on the importance of considering your personal energy as a valuable, finite resource and carefully considering how much of it you want to give to each endeavor to maintain balance.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I am an Artist Artists Survive Practice

The Snowball Effect of Sharing

Ali Groves describes how small acts of generosity can snowball into more significant shifts in the ways artists work together, share opportunities, and enable each other to overcome obstacles.

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

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 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