When COVID-19 hit the globe, and eventually the United States, I took the time during Shelter in Place to reflect and see how I can best be of service in a time like this. So first, I’ll start with the news. Two things have happened which has made me reevaluate a few things: ______ 1. I was one of the recipients of the San Francisco Arts and Artists Relief Fund Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation (@cci_arts ). It allowed me to pay my studio rent for a month, and also pay for a few other operating costs (and buy food!). I am super grateful they believed in me and my abilities to grant this honor and major relief. The rest of the money I decided to use to bolster my community by launching… 2. The Astute Agency (@theastuteagency ). It is a not-for-profit community organization and consulting agency that showcases top talent in the Bay Area and abroad. These are individuals (some represented and some free agents) who are high-performing visionaries, creating important works, and who are often ahead of their time. In other words, they are the future of art and creativity. The purpose is to shine the spotlight on artists who should be hired right now, who are prepared to work safely, and are mindful of precautions necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It is also a wellspring resource for other artists and companies looking to hire creatives or those who have questions on how to move forward in the new world. We will have virtual events, utilize this blog to discuss art and artists, as well as up-to-date information on guidelines/set etiquette during this cautious time. We will offer consulting to those looking to hire and assist them on who, how, and where to find their artists, teams and spaces. We will do this by collaborating with other agencies and industry groups. Again, this is not-for-profit. I feel that once we focus on making money from the artists, we will lose sight of what is most important at this time; getting creatives back to work.
______ If you’re like what? That just like, appeared OVERNIGHT? Yes, you’re right. In fact the idea happened after spending a week or so vegged out on the couch feeling like a 100% true potato and was feeling totally hopeless and depressed. I had a conversation with my friend about her friend being an Astute Editor…and well it was a typo. A typo! I thought, that has to be the best freakin job title of all.
It made me think, well…aren’t artists Astute in some way or another? Yes. We dedicate our lives making beautiful and culturally relevant work, changing the landscape of what is possible, and our gravitation to carefully developed aesthetics. Do I know any Astute Photographers? Astute Stylists? Astute Artists? Yes!
I assessed what money I had left over from the CCI grant and got to work. I knew my friends are struggling– I’ve lost work, and if I’m having a hard time they have to be too (and for many it’s worse off than my current situation). I had to put that helpless feeling into something constructive. Whatever energy I was getting (negative, depressed or otherwise, it was still energy) and I ought not to waste it.
So here we are. And, here I am…just trying to be productive and keep my focus on what’s important.