Mass Cultural Council is proud to support artists and creatives with direct funding. But monetary grants are just one of the ways an artist might receive support. Resources like space, professional development, personal/professional networks, and more can be deeply important to an artist’s work.
We periodically pose questions to artists about issues in their work and lives. We wanted to revisit a discussion we first explored in 2014, What kinds of support are most important to you, as an artist?
Liliana Folta, multidisciplinary artist
I imagine the non-monetary support as a door that connects the creator with the cultural institution for long-term, artistic and professional growth. I see this opportunity for a wider exposure as the tipping point of my artistic career.
Encouragement from family, friends and colleagues is vitally important. I had the great opportunity to get involved in multicultural environments living in different parts of the world: Puerto Rico, through the United States and Europe.
During my stay in Berlin Germany 2015 – 2019, I was able to present my environmental and social-political projects in international cultural platforms, such as Berlin Science Week at Humboldt University – Francois Schneider Foundation Contemporary Art Center, France – Gerichtshofen Art District, Berlin – Berlin Art Week, Germany.
Monetary support is also key to subsidize artist’s artworks, with materials/equipment, time and space to accomplish larger projects.
Cultural platforms to showcase the work of artists are essential to reach out and engage with a wider audience. Without the support of cultural organizations, independent and ambitious projects are rare to fulfill.
Cheryl Pappas, literary artist
I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my family and friends – both writers and non-writers – cheering me on. My boys are still young (10 and 12), but they understand that I need to spend time every week, on top of my full-time job, working on my novel. When I received the grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, something clicked with them. They called it my other job, and it’s true! That they respect the time I need means so much to me. The grant opened more doors professionally than I could have imagined: it was only after I announced the grant when an agent got in touch with me (and I am now her client). And in my application to MacDowell, I included receiving the grant as a recent writing accomplishment I was proud of. I’m happy to say that MacDowell offered me a residency for this year. The gift of two weeks to work on my novel, uninterrupted, is a dream. My family is pulling together to fill in childcare and dogcare to help make that happen. The support is all connected, and I am immensely grateful.
Joetta Maue, visual artist
Time and space are the most important aspects of sustaining an artistic practice.
Art cannot exist without the time to make and think and, for me, a dedicated space to make within. As an artist who needs works to be responding to each other, having a space allows me to leave things in a place of process, creating a dialogue with work, offering development and shifts in my work and practice.
Time and space are a result of support. A supportive environment, family, and job must exist to allow and make this possible. My family understands that prioritizing the time and space for my practice is essential to my sense of self as an artist and human, this is invaluable.
A supportive and dynamic community enhances the sustainability of practice. A community creates discourse, inspiration and growth. Community has become increasingly more significant as a form of support in my own practice.
Institutions can work to develop more opportunities for connection amongst the artist community, as well as opportunities that fit into the lives of parenting artists. Too often parents are excluded – there are creative and flexible models that could be offered and innovated.
What Kinds of Support Are Most Important? from 2014.
What is Your Greatest Need as an Artist?
Artists’ Advice for Gate-keepers
Liliana Folta is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has received support from the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Mass Cultural Council. Her current work explores environmental justice, and a project for the 1st Biennial of the Americas received financial support from the Museo de las Américas in Denver CO.
Joetta Maue‘s multifaceted art has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Corners Gallery in
Ithaca, NY, the Arts Complex Museum in Duxbury, San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, and San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, among others. She recently had a Wintertide Residency at the Milly Arts Colony and will be the textiles coordinator at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Pentaculum Residency and a Resident at Arts, Letters, and Numbers.
Cheryl Pappas‘ fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in Juked, Wigleaf, The Chattahoochee Review, Hobart, Ploughshares, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her story collection The Clarity of Hunger is published by word west press (2021). Cheryl received a Fiction/Creative Nonfiction grant from Mass Cultural Council in 2022, and this summer, she will have a Residency at the MacDowell Colony.
If you are interested in participating in a future artist discussion, please let us know.
Thanks for asking, I could appreciate affordable space to design art and practice trades.
I have an art studio. I only need a small space and I am the only tenant at the moment. It is in a huge, historical building that is being restored with state and local funding. It would be amazing if someone took an interest in assisting the owners in developing this space with artists in mind. This, with a view to keeping it affordable for all. I’m in a 450 sq foot space temporarily until the connected building gets occupancy. It has an elevator and updated electric etc. Yes it is prime downtown space and they could get more money for it. If artists could just band together I’m sure it could be an amazing artist space. Instead I’m in danger of being placed in the basement where it’s supposedly is going to be more affordable for me. Not ideal. Would love ideas!
Shirley Gerald Ware says
I love art it gives me a sense of belonging. It doesn’t take much to make me write. I am always gathering knowledge. My poetry is a perfect example how I feel about what I need to get my writers brain thinking. I think about my deceased parents, ancestors and all those that played a key role in my upbringing and that is all I need.
Janice Gadson Louissaint says
Support of family and friends is wonderful! Support from other supporters of your work is also vital to the creative process. Having a secure place to live and practice your art is essential to your stability, survival and well being. Food security is a necessity. All of these outside resources help keep the artist in a positive mindset that enables art to develop and flow. I need all of these things in addition to financial support.