Individual Artists Support Committee Report | July 2013

At this point in the year, our committee is engaged primarily in working with GIA staff to develop conference and preconference sessions that reflect the interests of our sector.


Our meeting began with an overview of the plans for the preconference, “Taking Stock,” co-chaired by Melissa Franklin and Esther Grimm. Melissa and Esther described the flow of the day, including the three main dialogues around which the day pivots: a conversation with funders who helped and still help to forge the field, a conversation with three funders who are breaking ground today, and a final conversation led by artists on the work that might shape our future. Intermixed with these sessions is a look at the national study on the support of individual artists that GIA launched this year and a lunch crafted by Conflict Kitchen. Presenters include Ted Berger, Frances Phillips, Cindy Gehrig, Holly Sidford, Ben Cameron, Carolyn Somers, Tony Grant, Ain Gordon, Anne Carlson, Dan Blacksberg—and more.

The preconference schedule will be updated on the GIA conference website as additional artists and presenters are identified.

We discussed the importance of adding informal time between the formal conversations to allow for spontaneous dialogue. It was noted that the preconference will be held at the Asian Arts Initiative, within walking distance of the conference hotel, and will include a culminating “happy hour” at The Fabric Workshop, where attendees will have the chance to relax and reflect on the day together.

We then considered the budget and the co-chairs asked the committee to consider contributing funds to support the costs, including honoraria for the presenting artists and a half-dozen others who will participate alongside the funders.

Idea Lab:

We discussed a new way that artists will be integral to the conference in short talks and video presentations during breakfast plenaries. Ben Cameron will emcee these presentations and we will hear from Claire Chase, Marshall Davis Jones, Byron Au Yong, Germaine Ingram, and other artists. These sessions replace the breakfast roundtables of conferences past, leading our committee to discuss at length how we might find other ways to incorporate the open dialogue of the roundtable gatherings at the upcoming conference. GIA staff noted that Monday evenings are not programmed, precisely to provide time for informal meetings.

Toolkit Committee:

The Funder Resources Subcommittee—Esther Grimm, Rose Parisi, Carolyn Somers, and Jayson Smart—gave a status report on the creation of an online toolkit on the subject of the processes of selecting artists in awards and grants programs. A nonprofit grantmaker, a family foundation, a private foundation, and a public funder will be featured in this first toolkit through narratives that candidly reveal how artists are selected in open application and nomination processes. Our hope is that funders who are interested in supporting individual artists might find this resource useful as they start their programs. The toolkit will be announced on the GIA web site in September.

Rose Parisi closed the meeting by noting that the next meeting of the year will be a discussion about membership and planning for 2014.