Artists Up has developed and conducted a variety of programs over its history, continually experimenting and refining based on artists' needs. Here are a few highlights:
In 2018 and 2019 Artists Up presented Career Up, a series of free, informal, moderated discussions by and for artists. These events came about after meeting with and listening to artists to find out what they need, outside of other available training opportunities, to expand their professional practice. These events were held in local community and artist centers.
artists with disabilities mixer
In 2018, Artists Up hosted a social mixer for artists with disabilities to connect with peer artists, share resources, learn about opportunities, and celebrate difference and diversity. The event had a special performance by Nic Masangkay, a Seattle-based spoken word poet, music producer, and singer-songwriter.
In 2017, Artists Up held an informational roundtable about Pacific Northwest artist residencies. Attendees had the opportunity to meet residency staff who answered questions about their respective opportunities for artists. Featured residencies included: Mineral School, Rockland Residency, Centrum Residencies, Bloedel Reserve, MadArt, Recology Cleanscapes, Artsmith, and the Laboratory Residency. Additionally, local artists including Romson Bustillo, Mary Coss, Brent Watanabe, and Jane Wong shared their experience and the benefits they gained.
The 2016 Grant Lab funding program responded to input from 400+ artists of color with a common request for more equitable and accessible grant-making frameworks and practices. Grant Lab offered cash awards of $3,000 to 18 Washington State artists working in all disciplines to enhance their creative process. Funded artists offered a public presentation (exhibit, installation, performance, reading, or screening). This experimental application was simplified and numerous methods of selection panels were tested.
Outcomes from Grant Lab and applicant surveys resulted in major modifications of applications and processes, new funding programs and peer coaching opportunities. Our offices rely on collected input that continues to inform our work through a racial equity lens. The majority of Grant Lab applicants and panelists were from underrepresented communities.
building with artists
At the end of 2015, the Artists Up team brought together a group of artists of color to assist us in rethinking, reworking and revolutionizing the peer-panel review process. The takeaways from this effort were used as the basis for our 2016 Grant Lab program.
learning from artists
In addition to large networking and resource events for artists, between 2013-2015, we held focus groups so that we could hear candid feedback and ideas for change. We started with four broadly defined communities of color including:
Asian-American, Asian and Pacific Islander;
African-American, African and Black; and
Each focus group had between 8–12 artists who represented diverse creative disciplines. They met with a professional facilitator and responded to the same set of questions about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of funding agencies and their processes.
Responses from the four facilitated groups were collected in a final report, Learning from Artists: Four Focus Groups Conducted for Artists Up. Three of the five most prominent issues and recommendations common to all groups defined as Areas of Action framed the next phase of work in 2016.