Offering an array of programs and benefits, arts service organizations educate artists to become their own best advocates.
Back in March 2009, National Public Radio ran a feature on the Manhattan-based nonprofit Fractured Atlas, a national organization that provides services for working artists and arts organizations. Running just under four minutes on Morning Edition, Neda Ulaby’s “Fractured Atlas Puts ‘Biz’ In Show Business” in part addressed the challenges faced by working artists in an economic climate of declining funding for the arts.
“Although ‘showbiz’ generally relates to performing arts and film, our services help artists from all disciplines,” explains Adam Natale, director of membership and program development for Fractured Atlas. “The segment basically said that now, more than ever, artists are in need of the services we offer.”
Although Fractured Atlas maintains an office in Manhattan, the group is almost entirely virtual and has no satellite offices. Instead, its chief arm of outreach is its website, which provides its 8,500-plus members nationwide with the tools to become better advocates of their work and careers. “Our programs and services facilitate the creation of art by offering vital support to the artists who produce it,”
Fractured Atlas says in its mission statement. “We help artists and arts organizations function more effectively as businesses by providing access to funding, healthcare, education and more, all in a context that honors their individuality and independent spirit.”
Just a few miles away, in the offices of the Andy Warhol Foundation on Bleecker Street, Creative Capital is also serving the needs of artists, albeit with a venture capitalist twist. In just 10 years, the group has advanced the careers of 411 grant recipients and assisted 2,200 other artists through its professional development workshops nationwide.
“Our mission is for each artist to define success for herself,” says Ruby Lerner, president of Creative Capital. “We help the artist along that trajectory to build skills and make plans for the future.” Funding recipients are selected through an open submission policy, which allows Creative Capital to seek out the most qualified and worthy applicants. By helping those artists develop their facility for strategic planning, marketing, fundraising, networking and community building, the foundation helps in charting the course of their respective careers.
Artists need to be their own advocates more than ever before, but this requires that they know what resources are out there, and that’s where arts service organizations come in. All across America, dozens of these organizations—big and small alike—are doing their part to represent the interests of fine and performing artists, arts venues, theater companies, museums and craftspeople. Some art services organizations, such as Fractured Atlas and Creative Capital, are national in scope, while others have a more regional focus. The services rendered can vary from philanthropy to technical support, networking and general arts advocacy, among others.
This is an excerpt from “At Your Service,” an article in the November 2009 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.
To read the entire article and learn about other excellent organizations working hard to promote artists, artistic communities, and the value of the arts in America today, see the November 2009 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, available at NorthLightShop.com (click here).
Meredith E. Lewis is a freelance writer and editor working in Central Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and Haverford College.
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