Arts and Entertainment

Artist Trust provides support for ‘starving artists’

Bremerton-based dance artist Kasuko Yamakazi was recently awarded and Artist Trust Fellowship Grant for her work in preserving traditional Japanese dance. - Courtesy Photo/Artist Trust
Bremerton-based dance artist Kasuko Yamakazi was recently awarded and Artist Trust Fellowship Grant for her work in preserving traditional Japanese dance.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Artist Trust

Miguel Guillen of the Artist Trust comes to Kitsap Saturday with resources for working artists.

In 1987, a group of the quote-unquote “starving artists” from around Washington State banded together to form a collective focused on the needs of individuals trying make a living as artists.

At that time, under the Reagan Administration, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal institution tasked with supporting the nation’s artists and arts organizations, had stopped grants to individual artists.

To fill the void, the Washington State Artist Trust was created.

Two decades later, with a new Presidential Administration pegged as being the most art-friendly administration in years, the Artist Trust still alive and well, with a staff of 10 supporting a census of about 20,000 working artists across Washington state, Information Services Manager Miguel Guillen said.

“The same struggles exist,” Guillen said. “The same issues are there for artists that have always been there. (Financial support, definition of success, health care). Those same sort of questions exist and some of the same sort of solutions exist.”

The Artist Trust reaches out across the state to connect artists to those solutions, through workshops like the one Guillen will be leading from noon-2 p.m. March 28 at Collective Visions Gallery in Bremerton.

While Guillen said they are looking forward to what the new administration may mean for the arts in the future, for now, the Trust is still a saving grace for working artists across the state, through both merit-based Fellowship Grants and special project funding, Grants for Artist Projects (GAP).

“What Artist Trust Fellowships and Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) have done for me over and over again is to give me just that extra margin of financial freedom,” Washington author and college professor David Shields writes in support of the Artist Trust.

For Shields the Artist Trust grants he’s recieved over the years have given him the financial freedom to step away from his job teaching students for a quarter here and there, allowing time to complete and publish his novels.

During this past year’s grant cycle, Bremerton-based artist Kazuko Yamazaki was awarded a $7,500 Fellowship Grant for her work in preserving traditional Japanese dance.

In addition to giving more than $3.4 million to more than 1,500 artists over the years, the Trust also hosts a bevy of artist resources on everything from networking to presenting work to using the internet for promotion without it becoming too intrusive into an artist’s studio time.

Miguel Guillen of the Artist Trust will be giving a workshop on resources for individual artists from noon-2 p.m. March 28 at Collective Visions Gallery, 331 Pacific Ave. in Bremerton. There is no cost, but registration is required. Info: Call (206) 467-8734 ext. 11 or e-mail miguel@artisttrust.org.

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