As an artist, it has been tough lately. As I have said many times now, I am so thankful to still have my job with the Arts Council of Johnson County. My husband and I would definitely be struggling without it. I am fortunate enough to still be making a steady income which advocating for the arts in Johnson County, Kansas. Our two-person team (the Executive Director and myself, the Administrative Assistant) are working really hard to continue to support the arts through the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are connecting artists and arts organizations to resources and working to help them build a plan of recovery now that businesses are scheduled to open back up across the nation.
Working with the ACJC has absolutely opened my eyes wider to the world of art advocacy. I feel more strongly about my work of advocating for mental health support through the arts and that it can make a difference. I feel more connected to the arts than I have in my two and a half years of living here. I definitely feel like I'm doing something worthwhile (and worth getting an art degree for). The hardest thing over the last few years has been justifying why I got an art degree and now I feel like I don't have to.
My Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope project is still moving along. I had to extend my timeline and business plan because of the pandemic, but I'm making good progress! Recently I was invited to submit my artwork to an art consultant's platform. This consultant finds artwork to furnish new health facilities and nursing homes. Right now I am working on selling print reproductions to fund my project. All prints on my website are still half off.
I have also started a Pay What You Want sale on social media for Mental Health Awareness Month (which is May). I upload a new painting every day and whoever is the first person to message me with interest to buy gets the painting. The point of the sale is that they can pay what they want for the piece and that money goes into my fund for my SS:CH project.
On May 15th from 6-9pm Arts KC and KC Crew are hosting a Friday Night Arts event on Zoom to promote six local artists and their practice. I will be one of the six artists! Each artist gets 30 minutes to talk about themselves and their art to potential patrons and supporters. Tickets are $10 a person and you can also donate directly to the artists during the Zoom event. Here is the link to buy tickets: https://kccrew.com/events/friday-night-arts/
The event is to help support artists who aren't currently able to make an income from their artwork because of COVID-19 and to also allow artists to share about themselves and their work.
We are all doing what we can and hopefully we can get back out there and continue furthering our practices!
These last few weeks have been tough for a lot of people. Artists have lost their sources of income, people are losing their jobs or being furloughed. Being stuck in isolation has done a number on my mental health. I can feel myself slipping back into depression and I'm doing everything I can to prevent that. I know people out there are doing their best to help society right now. I see more fundraisers for people in need, donating to emergency shelters, neighbors uplifting each other, healthcare employees working around the clock to ensure our safety.
With everything that is going on, I still believe my project Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope has a place in the world. I think now more than ever people need something positive and a sense of hope. I have been reassessing my timeline for this project and have decided to make a few adjustments. Ultimately, I am just stretching the timeline. Everything that I have planned to happen will still happen, just over a longer period of time.
I'm excited to announce that I've been accepted into the Artist INC Advance program through Mid America Arts Alliance (headquartered in Kansas City, MO). I recently went through their 8 week Artist INC program in the spring of 2019. We met once a week and learned how to network, promote ourselves and our art, market, create a personal business/brand, and much more!
This time the program is a year long, ending in February of 2020. It is comprised of 20 artists who have gone through the Artist INC program over the last 10(ish) years. Each of us applied with a grant proposal that was then accepted into the Advance program. Next February, the 20 artists will present our project proposal and compete to win three different grants of $1,000 each!
My project, titled Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope, involves a body of work that inspires change in the way society thinks about mental illness. I would like to create ten 36”x48” paintings to permanently install in a psychiatric treatment institution/facility. I call my paintings Sacred Spaces because they are imagined environments that I created for myself to have a place of escape. They became sacred to me because painting them and reflecting in them helped my anxiety and depression. I’ve struggled previously with suicidal thoughts and am still struggling with depression and needed a way to cope with the outside world. Having these spaces to journey into and reflect in is helping me through my struggles. I would like my Sacred Spaces to help other people who also struggle to have the same sense of hope that I did. Creating these spaces gives people the opportunity to self-reflect and discover new things.
This project will have three phases to it. Phase one is the production of ten paintings, set to be done in January of 2021. Phase two will be to have a public exhibition showcasing these paintings along with writings, poems, and quotes I've gathered from survivors of suicide attempts, self-harm, eating disorders, depression, and more. Phase three will then be to permanently install the paintings at a Psychiatric Treatment Facility dedicated to helping people recover from the trauma of mental disorders.
Things I will need support with during the month of March: