Every day new arts articles can be found on line or in hard media discussing the state of the arts during the time of Coronavirus. We’re all shut down now, but the real question is what will we do to prepare for, and adjust to, the future? How will we sustain our own corner of the arts world? Just this morning a colleague shared a Vulture article that sizes up the writer’s personal prospects about Art’s future. The writer says he’s not a disasterist, but the article is fully predictive of disaster, save the window now afforded to independent artists. In our march to support small business, big business is being emotionally left behind (if it wasn’t already).
Too big to fail? You have to prove your worth. The art world focus is on smaller collectives, financial support via relief grants and channeling our diminished buying power to deserving destinations.
What’s a deserving destination? It should be an artist or non-profit that has demonstrated over an extended period of time that they are sustainable, using BEST practices, following guidelines, are generally forward-thinking, user-friendly inside and out, responsive, have dynamic boards and staff leadership, and a mission statement that is not only clear and specific….but that has been adhered to. We can no longer rely on support just because we exist.
We attended a recent Zoom webinar with two senior Artnews senior editors; the take away from our standpoint is that our arts community is phenomenal! We’re not only wildly creative, we are informed. Though Germany editor Kate Brown was thoughtful and probing in her remarks, her webinar partner Tim Schneider was not to be bothered with what he termed “nitty gritty” questions. Wanting to stay on message regarding his recent article about Germany’s and the United States’ response to artists in need, he was visibly uncomfortable whenever any of the attendees had a question about why he was focusing on politics, or when he was caught mistakenly identifying former diplomat Nikki Haley as a man. (The Jackson Hole Art Blog recorded the meeting; excerpts will appear in the next Blog, so stay tuned!)
It’s an epoch when our Fall Arts Festival can be reconsidered. Town of Jackson, let’s kick it off with the Quick Draw! Last summer’s tension over a new art fair (a fair that’s not returning) almost pales in comparison to what we’re feeling now. Even those with minds full of new ideas and projects are timid about sharing them….optimism is hard to work up when you’re locked inside.
Sharing is EXACTLY what we need to be doing, however—Instagram, Facebook, funky Zoom and other platforms are bursting with art!
Though she was working on this idea long before Coronavirus struck, photographer Delsa Allen’s new website for Wyoming artists, Wyoming Artists Collective, went live on April 1st. Artwork is not heavily juried, but you do need to be an artist working in Wyoming to participate. Artists can list works to be sold or simply list them for exposure. As the site is essentially an on-line gallery, artists need to make certain that their brick and mortar galleries approve of utilizing the site. An annual fee (for 2020) is $100, and beginning next year it’s possible that an application fee may be required; annual fees will increase to $250. Allen takes a 10% commission on any sales, in addition to processing fees imposed by credit card companies.
“Maybe it’s the wide open spaces and extra elbow room, or the slower pace that everyone (including the wildlife) seems to be set at [during this time]. I’m not sure what the reason for it is, but I love it! I’m so proud to call Wyoming home,” says Allen.
Newly approved artists have their pages go live at the beginning of the quarter following their application. Artists already on board across the state (at this writing) include Allen, David Klaren, Jenny Dowd, Karla Bird, Lora Donohue, Brad & Becks Watsabaugh, May Orm, Richard Burke, Robin Sruoginis and Stephanie Mummert. Contact Allen at [email protected] for a full outline of Wyoming Artists Collective requirements; it’s going to be exciting to discover new artists on line! www.wyomingartistscollective.com.
“The idea of remaining afloat spurred the concept for an exhibition focused on flight, who – or what – flies, flying during these difficult times, technology and its relationship to flight, and of course the fact that our non-human companions on this planet are likely oblivious to our plight,” writes the gallery. Gallery owner Mariam Diehl says the gallery will continue to bring in new work and calls particular attention to artist Monica Aiello’s mixed media painting of the Town of Jackson; featured studies of the National Elk Refuge and Blacktail Butte as seen from satellites in space offer a ‘unique and interesting perspective.’ https://www.artsy.net/diehl
The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s (NMWA) doors are temporarily closed, but its mission to illustrate the connection between Art and Nature is now online in the form of a virtual museum. NMWA wants you to help create a new weekly exhibit using a piece of their permanent exhibit as a keystone. Here’s how it works:
- You then paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, create anything that features that animal. Get creative!
- Share your work using the hashtag #WildlifeartJH or tag us, @WildlifeartJH
- We will share your work on our social media creating a new exhibition every week!
How about that? www.wildlifeart.org
And finally, the Art Association staff is working hard around the clock to firm up on line offerings and plan for Jackson’s usually crazy busy summer arts season. If you’re an aspiring artist and just need a few little tools to help spur your creativity, check out the Art Association’s “Adult Art To Go” kits! Offerings include a pocket-sized sketching book for your morning coffee artistic musings (you know who muses with her morning coffee? Patti Smith!), a charcoal sketch kit, watercolors and watercolor pencils—-even a postcard making kit! And clay! Play with clay! Here’s the link to buy your own kit!
We’ll hear from more artists next time. Stay safe, everyone! Email me at [email protected] with your Coronavirus updates.