ICYMI: The Value of the “Anchor Artist”

"Just as no two artists are alike, every arts community is defined by a distinct matrix of identities, perspectives, histories, and economic conditions," said former GIA board chair Ted Russell, and Lu Zhang. "In order to be successful at any level, arts funding must respond to these conditions. This is why our organizations teamed up to create The Rainin Fellowship, a program tailored for the arts communities of San Francisco’s Bay Area (the home of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation), developed alongside United States Artists, which has supported artists across the country for nearly 20 years."

"By supporting anchor artists, the Rainin Fellowship aligns with and preserves this unique history, which is just another thing we risk losing if artists are not properly supported. At every moment in our history, the arts and artists have played an integral role in these social movements, including the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the American Indian Power Movement. But in a time of crisis, stoked by forces of displacement, gentrification, and inflation that are pushing out the constituents of these social movements, the urgency of our challenge becomes clear: How to preserve our communities, and culture, and how to do it swiftly, and sustainably? One answer, we have found, is to support the artists at the centers of these movements, allowing them to keep making work in their communities."

"From audience engagement to storytelling, institutional critique to social activism, the 2022 Fellows represent various ways that artists affect their communities far beyond what was once considered to be the role of art. This fellowship structure of direct support matched with additional stipends aimed at supporting artists holistically, works for the Bay Area community, but can also be replicated in other communities across the country. And that’s the moment this becomes a national model."

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