Thinking of community as an action, rather than a group of people coming together, requires imagining it as an inherently creative task.
—poet Ken Chen
In a capitalist society, value is too often reduced to financial terms and delimited by barriers to access. And the art industry in particular is built on a framework of discrimination that historically excludes marginalized voices from the conversation.
The desire for equity in the arts is evidenced by, among other things, the growing number of creatives and activists who have begun to organize. Numerous museum employees have formed unions and gone on strike for fair wages. Demonstrators continually call for museums to reject financial support from corporate sponsors. And protesters have started ongoing campaigns to remove profiteering board members and highlight the complicity of arts institutions in state-sponsored violence and colonial interests.
The art world claims to diversify but in practice only reinforces traditional structures of power. And artists are both affected by and contribute to this widening gap in equality.
There is a growing desire for a critical response to capitalism’s affect on creativity in everyday life. To do my part, I build temporary gatherings where folks learn how to turn individual resources into collective action. Community spaces, residencies, and institutions can sponsor my one-on-one volunteer work by hosting my organizing.
I collaborate with community spaces, residencies, and institutions to build temporary gatherings where folks learn how to turn individual resources into collective action.
1. Language, Power & Reimagining Value in the Arts Industry
I create a space for artists and activists to gather in self-reflection and healing, grow in their practices, and learn from their community. They are a place where folks can bring their whole selves to listen, share stories and ideas, and be heard. In this way they can explore what justice would look like for all who are unfairly impacted by the arts industry, and how to work together to achieve a common purpose.
In this five-hour intensive, I teach artists, activists, collaborators, and organizers how to establish their role in their community, put their work in context, and define the overall meaning and value of what they make. By bringing together artists and activists in a focused environment, I hope to mobilize power and fight unfair labor practices, gentrification, and housing shortages and displacement.
Artists are capable of social reimagining, so how do we reorient ourselves to know together in alternative ways?
—artist Anthony Romero
2. Art & Labor Writing Workshop
This five-hour intensive teaches participants the value of their labor and helps them plan a formal creative project. After learning foundational writing skills we will discuss how to apply them to grant funding, an artist-residency program, or an open call for work. I teach the basics for putting together a solid application, the dos and don’ts when applying, and tips for documenting work.
My workshops are as much a space for coming together and sharing our gifts as they are an opportunity to learn how to express ourselves clearly. Participants are welcome to bring in a specific piece of writing for feedback, but the workshop teaches them the value of creative work and gives them the tools to put together any writing project confidently.