The first APAP Artist Fellows project was a truly connecting experience. Everybody was very open and very honest about expectations and challenges.
These days , when many foundations in the art field – including the way we create, organize, program and sell – are going trough a big change, it’s really important to share new visions and discuss issues, as we seriously tried to do.
Some concepts emerged, based on the artist’s experiences and from the artist point of view. These ideas are important because almost all of us also work on the programing side as curators, owners of cultural centers, running foundations and also administrating our own projects.
1. Be small: Try to get out of the sickness of only thinking “grow.” That is: playing for big crowds, expecting always the big success. For most of us, small means the independent freedom of creation, of making choices regarding all stages of the process such as where to perform and how to present yourself, with whom connect, being honest, not trying to please possible facilitators, being critical when needed and knowing when not to be.
2. Real communities. The Artist Fellows shared some good histories about various initiatives in this field. On the programers side, the general idea was not to create dependence on big names, but to forge a strong concept and quality that can function as enough reason to make an audience come to the venue.
3. The identity of an artist. Our artists were from Haiti, to Cambodia, from Rwanda to Ethiopia, and yet most of them are living in U.S. Some concerns where focus on the usual expectations professionals and consequently audiences may have labeling their art and projects. Two of us who live outside U.S. — myself in Brazil and Alvaro Restrepo in Colombia.
Kudos also for the APAP team involved with the Artists Fellow program: Sandra Gibson, Claudia Norman, Bill Bragin, Cathy Zimmerman, Alicia Anstead.
And last but not least: Thanks the beautiful work of Meklit Hadero, who put in a lot of effort and good work, and made it happen. We’re at only the beginning.