4Culture, Artist Trust and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture are pleased to announce the findings of the first ARTISTS UP pilot program, a three-agency collaborative initiative to better serve all artists throughout Seattle, King County and Washington State. In 2013, ARTISTS UP launched a pilot program for Latina/o artists consisting of a two-part information series and a community focus group. The information sessions were designed to demystify funding programs and processes, share best-practices through peer learning and build connections between artists and funders. The focus group gathered more in-depth information about how the organizations’ funding programs could better serve Latina/o artists as well as other communities in the future.
Although Latinos make up 12% of Washington State’s population, 9% of King County’s population, and 7% of the City of Seattle’s, significantly fewer Latino artists apply for grants from the ARTISTS UP agencies.
The pilot ARTISTS UP information series reached close to 40 Latina/o potential new artist applicants; for most this was their first face-to-face meeting with a funder. Among the finding was the need for networking and mentorship opportunities and a “hub” that can serve to connect Latina/o artists. Personal connections with other artists, especially for newcomers to the area, are crucial for participation. The three funders have begun to respond to the report findings by making incremental improvements and removing barriers to access. The Office of Arts and Culture has started to provide childcare at workshops, 4Culture has revised their upcoming artists projects criteria to be more in line with how artists work, and all three organizations are planning a mixer event to follow up with the Latino/a community.
An executive summary and the complete report is available at http://artistsup.org/resources.
The ARTISTS Up initiative will continue in 2014 with two informal sessions for the Asian/Asian American and African/African American artist communities in late spring or early summer. These events will be led by peer artists ambassadors to provide networking and mentoring support. The gatherings will continue to reach artists with little to no history with the funding organizations. The goal of these sessions will be to provide artists with the information, tools and encouragement to apply for funding and to build relationships with the funders as well as establish stronger connections to fellow artists.
ARTISTS UP is a unique collaboration between two government agencies and a non-profit organization that share an interest in establishing a multi-year work plan to make their funding programs accessible to more artists and better serve the communities of Seattle, King County and Washington State.