Thursday, October 6, 2011

Events, National Call for Artists, Grant/Training Opportunities

Arte by Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes- download free images, view/buy their posters at 

As we witness a rising tide of protests against corporate greed and social inequities, I pass along the following events and information as a reflection of my hopes for the movimiento: for us to share resources and support each other, to make connections across communities and disciplines, and for artists, as Toni Cade Bambara once said, "to make the revolution irresistible".

-The Illinois Humanities Council is accepting applications for project, media, tech-assistance, and general support grants up to $5,000. I appreciate them explicitly stating their interest in supporting projects that reach out to historically neglected communities. Now, it’s up to us to take advantage of this opportunity. Eligibility guidelines are available here. Deadline to apply is October 15.

-The Emerging Leaders Network of Chicago will be hosting their second discussion group event on Monday, Oct. 17. The evening’s discussion will focus on creating collaborations among arts organizations and artists, so a great opportunity to share your work to a wide array of folks eager to connect with you. It will be hosted at 6pm at the TGI Friday's on Erie Street, so stop by and help make that Monday evening feel a bit like Friday.

-Chicago is blessed to be a hot destination for national conferences, especially those with the arts as a focus. Another one coming in a couple of weeks is the Alliance of Artists Communities' (AAC) annual conference, taking place October 19-22, in Chicago’s downtown Loop. As the national association of artist residency programs, the AAC states the conference’s theme will be to “examine the relevance of place in art-making and arts organizations and will challenge us to develop artist-centered approaches to engaging our communities and developing healthy organizations.” They have some great workshops and speakers, including personal favorites, performer Robert Farid Karimi and author Luis Alberto Urrea, and also Alex Kotlowitz, co-director of the amazing documentary, The Interruptors.

-The Illinois Arts Council is currently accepting applications for its annual Individual Artist Support (IAS) Initiative, which offers Illinois artists a chance to as they say, “realize a career goal, take advantage of a professional opportunity, or for the production and presentation of an artistic project”. This grant is a great opportunity to receive funding to attend a conference or workshop (perhaps this is a good time to get funding for next year’s NALAC Leadership Institute?), or produce that exhibit, performance or cultural gathering you have always wanted to do. Details are here, and the deadline to apply is October 27.

-Rockwood, a progressive leadership training organization based in the Bay Area, is accepting applications for their National Fellowship for Leaders in Arts and Culture. As they mention, the fellowship is “designed  for leaders engaged in cultural work, film, dance, visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, multidisciplinary arts, etc. to elevate the societal impact of their work as critical agents of change.”  Most of the training is subsidized, meaning it would be worthwhile to consider getting nominated and completing the application by October 26 and taking advantage of this great opportunity.  More information on the link above. 

-Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, a.k.a, MACLA, one of my favorite arts spaces in my hometown of San José, California, is making a national call for artists for their 4th Chicana/o Biennial, an “exhibition and public forum conceived to take inventory of and invite reflection every two years on the continuously emergent energy, critical edge, and aesthetic interventions within contemporary Chicano art.” It is a great chance to build your resume/portfolio, expose your work to new audiences, and establish a relationship with a great arts space in the Bay Area.

And to get even more personal, I must also invite my thousands of loyal followers to events that I am volunteering for; mark your calendars for Pilsen’s Open Studios (Oct. 15-16, and the Little Village Arts Festival is also that weekend), Pros Arts Studios Muertos de la Risa (Nov. 2) and Pozolada (Dec. 3).

With Chicago Artist Month going on now, I am sure there are a number of events that you may know of. I am particularly interested in other ethnic arts events and opportunities. I would like to make this blog as diverse as possible. Please send me info, and would be glad to post it out in a future blog post!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Job Listing Sites, plus Call Outs for Art Submissions, Articles

Pablo Serrano's "Visiones Nuevas" Mural in Pilsen, Chicago; seeing it being painted is a fond memory of my first few months in Chicago.

So for the last few weeks, employment has been a big topic amongst my friends and colleagues. Folks unhappy with their jobs, job openings, and people looking for jobs or a new career. I also have been reminiscing on my now one-year time here in Chicago, especially those first four months of looking for a job. As a veterano of the job-searching scene, I wanted to pass on some helpful sites that may help those unemployed or those interested in a new opportunity in the arts.

Idealist:  The most well known of all. Great search tools to narrow down the position you are seeking. They also have a blog, which recently posted some great tips on how to maximize your job search activities, including organizing templates, and using RSS feeds to eliminate the need to search the same website everyday.

Chicago Artists Resource: I hope this website is more known to you than Idealist. A very well-rounded site that not only lists any and all arts-related job postings, but also lists events and grant opportunities.

League of Chicago Theatres: This may be narrowing it down a bit too much for you all not interested in theater, but hey, I had a business degree and somehow ended up working 7 years for a theater company. Worth a look. A great no-frills job search site focusing strictly on Illinois/Chicagoland openings in the non-profit sector. Mostly social-service listings, but occasional arts-related positions go up. Where I found the job I eventually got!

University Websites: Searching local university websites are a gold mine for listings and opportunities. It seems many of these schools rarely use job search engines/sites, or don't post all their listings elsewhere. As I am writing this blog, I just got emailed two arts-related job openings at the University of Chicago, a Community-Arts Partnership Manager and Assistant for Arts and Events Management

Emerging Leader Groups: I have posted links to their sites before, but wanted to again recommend people join the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network (YNPN) and the Chicago Emerging Leaders’ Network on facebook. Both regularly email and post job-listings and many more related articles.

Another strategy is to be very vocal about your job search. Don’t be embarrassed to tell your friends or even new people about your search, it’s a great way to recruit additional look-outs for you. Networking events are a great way to accomplish this—if you fear the thought of networking, review this earlier post of mine.

Many of these sites link not only full-time but part-time, temporary, and volunteer positions, so even if you are happy with your job but have an inkling to try something new, it would be worth to check out, both for personal growth and future employment opportunities.

Before I peace out, I wanted to share a news ticker of a few call outs for art submissiona and articles that have come my way and that you might want to read or take advantage of:

Pilsen/Chicago-based Cobalt Studio has issued a call out for submissions for their next exhibit Action Figures! Deadline is September 1…. La Calaca Press has issued a call out for submissions for their International Print Exchange and Exhibition, with the theme of CALACAS. The prints will be exhibited in Oak Park, IL., and travel to Nicaragua and Florida. Deadline is September 15….The Chi-town based Cloud Cakes Project, which brings together artists worldwide to create a coloring book whose ensuing profits will be donated to a deserving individual/organization, has issued a call for submissions. Deadline is September 30…. Clayton Lord, an old colleague from the Bay Area, wrote a great blog post on next-generational “whining”, or the much-talked about tension between the new and veterano generations. Some great thoughts on positive ways to overcome it….another Bay Area colleague, Ebony Mckinney, was a guest blogger on the Americans for the Arts blog, and wrote an engaging article on emerging ideas on the future of the arts, that include ensuring employment in the non-profit field is accessible to all and not an exclusive, privileged, domain. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Joining a Board the Right Thing For You?


Pros Arts Studio's 6th Annual youth-produced We Are Hip-Hop Festival takes place Aug. 13 at Dvorak Park in Pilsen 

This past weekend, I was thrilled to have been accepted into the board of Pros Arts Studios, a wonderful, Pilsen-based, non-profit, offering arts programs and events for Chicago youth and the community. It’s the first board that I will be a part of.

I also was glad to hear that writer/visual artist Emmanuel Garcia also was invited to be a board member. It’s inspiring to see the new generation of arts leaders becoming involved in the development of our established arts institutions. If you are not already on a board, and are an artist or supporter of the arts, I hope you'll consider it.

Why join a board? Well, I made the commitment for three reasons: I was eager to support an organization whose mission and work was truly in line with my personal values; I wanted to become more aware of the financial and strategic planning that goes into running an organization; and to reiterate my previous paragraph, I feel more folks of my generation should be involved in the development of our organizations.

In these tough economic times, our art centers and organizations are counting on its most ardent supporters more than ever. Regardless of our feelings on the non-profit industrial complex, the framework of the non-profit isn’t going anywhere soon. New strategies and innovations brought forth from a new generation, though, would surely help strengthen organizations and better prepare them for the future. 

The amazing Jan Masaoka, editor of the non-profit blog Blue Avocado, wrote a great piece on why and what you should look into in regards to joining a board. I like her emphasis on getting from the experience as much as you are giving in, and to consider it a step towards future leadership. For those of you already on boards, their archives are also a great resource. Some of my faves of Jan’s points:

Questions to ask yourself:

Is this the right cause for me? Think first about the cause or issue, rather than about a particular organization. Are end-of-life issues important to you? Are you furious about tax policies and want to change them? Do you feel that the history of your Armenian community is being lost?

What do I want to learn, accomplish, or gain from board service? You might want to seek out an organization where you can involve your young children in volunteer work. Or you might want to re-connect with your ethnic community, or get to be backstage helping on a stage production. Don't be embarrassed about what you want to gain: these "benefits" are part of what will keep you committed, including building skills and experience in communications, finance, or group leadership.

- What do I need to make certain I do while on the board? ….If you don't have a finance background but want to learn, ask to be on the finance committee. If one of your reasons for joining was to meet new people, be sure you volunteer for the annual luncheon or staff a table at the street fair. In short: don't volunteer at the pool without ever jumping into the water.

Finding a board to join

- Ask your friends and fellow board members. Instead of waiting for them to ask you, ask them: "Are you on any nonprofit boards? Tell me about them."

Ask about board opportunities where you already volunteer.

- Post your availability on your Facebook page.

...Take the small amount of time needed to guide your community career as you have your work career. Invest your time and your heart in meaningful work.

Another article from Board Source looks at questions you should ask once you choose the right organization.

You ready? The Young Non-Profit Professionals network recently announced they are looking for new board members. Here is the link, applications are due by August 5. 

And if you have any other links or insight in helping me on my new journey with Pros Arts, please drop me a line!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Long-awaited Links and Resources update....

To my thousands of loyal, eager readers, I apologize for the rather long gap between this and my last post. It’s been a learning, perhaps humbling, experience on the consistency needed by bloggers (and any other writer) to hold themselves to consistently write and maintain a blog. I will hold myself accountable to more consistent posts, although as a fabulous Chicago summer approaches, it’ll be tough….

Rather than a long article, I wanted to pass on a list of interesting articles, information and resources that have come my way and that I would like to pass on.

The recently held One State Illinois Arts Conference did a great deed for those of us unfortunate to miss it: all the speaker presentations from the conference are now available to view online. Have only had a chance to view a couple of the videos (the Albany Park Theater Project is interesting), but looking at the bios of the speakers gives you a bit of an idea of what videos might pertain or interest you……Another interesting conference coming up is the Allied Media Conference, which aims to share tools and tactics for transforming communities through media-based organizing; it will take place June 23-26 in Detroit....... For those of you on facebook, please consider joining the Emerging Leaders Network of Chicago group, which regularly posts some great articles that are relevant to emerging artists and administrators, even job listings. They recently posted this great article about taking risks that, although placed in the context of museum leadership, can be applied to your career as an artist, gallery-owner, or community organizer.…..the University of Chicago is running a series of discussions on the future of the city; the one held recently was on the arts and the future of Chicago; a simple to read, yet comprehensive summary of the discussion is here; I love how it brought together (and clearly explained their connectedness) a diverse network of people- economists, policy analysts, and artists together- and discussed making accessible cultural assets/resources to all members of the community…….in a previous post I mentioned the National Museum of Mexican Arts’ Crescendo Cultural, a gathering of emerging Latino arts leaders that they will be hosting July 15-16. They recently released the list of people who will be gathering in the windy city; among the participants will be Chicago’s own Tanya Saracho. I urge you to view their impressive bios, consider contacting them, inviting them to your performance or opening, letting them know of events that will take place during their time here, or simply inviting them for dinner or a drink. I’m sure they would appreciate the welcoming, and would be a great way to expand your network. I will check in with the museum about any public mixers they might have that we can attend.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tips on networking

networking_professionals handshake.jpg
There aren’t many things that make me as uncomfortable as having to go and network. As a self-proclaimed introvert, the ‘networking’ portion of an event usually is the part I just missed or can’t stick around for. But thanks to many classes, workshops, and more importantly, just going out and doing it, I can network with the best of ‘em (on a good day).

Artists can also be shy, lonely creatures in person, and when one hasn’t been trained as to why and how they should network, their ability to or interest in it can diminish.

There are at least two reasons why I believe we, as artists or arts administrators of color, need to make the effort to expand our network through attending events with the goal of doing so.

One, it is a great way to build your career. Meeting new people can yield sales of your work, business resources and partnerships, grant or funding opportunities, and artistic inspiration. If you are trying to generate visits to your website, trying to build your email list for promoting your next exhibit/event, or simply finding out how to use an email list, a conference or networking event can be a great opportunity to do so.

Two, having a visible presence at events affirms our presence among the larger arts community and is a platform for our voices to be heard. We shouldn’t be content with just showing our work to the same people, or sharing our experiences only within our communities.

I stumbled upon this helpful article from the New York Times that provides tips for those of us who cringe at the thought of networking.

I can appreciate the writer’s advice to have an objective before going to an event where you will be networking; is your goal to add five people to your mailing list? To meet the rep. from the local arts space you are looking to show or perform at? At conferences, I like to review and highlight the attendee list of people attending that I would like to meet, and then do the best I can to meet them. I also can appreciate the advice to not try to be someone you aren’t. 

Below, are a number of events you can use as opportunities to practice, practice, practice, and benefit from. I found out about these were all passed on to me thanks to the magic of networking.

Chicago Foundation for Women: Board Boot Camp- Training for Women interested in joining nonprofit boards- June 8-10-  Link 

National Latino Writers Conference- May 18-21 in Albuquerque, NM- A great article on why you should attend the conference by Proyecto Latina-  Link

NALAC Leadership Institute- July 11-16 in San Antonio, TX- The deadline to apply has been extended to Wednesday, April 27. - Link

Illinois Arts Council's One State Together in the Arts Conference- May 23-24 in Bloomington-Normal, IL- Great opportunity to meet artists and arts organizations from all over Illinois- Link

The Arts and Culture In Action- April 27, at the Goodman Theatre in downtown Chicago- Take part in a discussion that will feature National Endowment of the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman. - Link

2011 Making Media Connections Conference- June 8-9, at Columbia College Chicago Film- Learn how to reach out to the media, manage a website, and use social networking towards your career- Link

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Funding available for Illinois artists/orgs accepted to NALAC Leadership Institute

In my last post, I mentioned I would be searching for opportunities to subsidize the cost of the NALAC Leadership Institute. I have some good news!

The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) will have funds available to offer partial support for eligible Illinois applicants who are accepted to attend the week-long Institute in San Antonio this summer.

Applicants can be not-for-profit organizations incorporated in Illinois or an individual at least 18 years old and a legal resident of Illinois for at least twelve months prior to applying.  Given the state’s financial troubles, you should expect the IAC to reimburse you for the costs, rather than pay you in advance of the training.

Nonetheless, this support makes the training very affordable for an individual or small organization, and further compounds the rationale for having an Illinois representative this year.

Props to Eliud Hernandez, Deputy Director at the Illinois Arts Council who helped make this happen. Feel free to contact him for more information on this funding or any other questions on IAC support.

It is my goal to get as many people from Illinois to apply. I know some have expressed doubt as to whether this training can help an independent artist, or is only meant to those who work for an arts organization. I contacted my fellow 2007 alumni for their rebuttal of this type of thinking, and here is what they said:
Gerardo Quetzatl Garcia: “I've survived as an independent tattoo artist for almost 3 years..Many of the ways I've kept myself and my wife going are directly related to the connections I made as a result of the leadership Institute. Through the Institute , I was introduced to an entire community of like-minded artists who's positivity and support have been an immense help over the past few years. I've shown work in California, made new friends in San Francisco, and made some decent money the whole way by tattooing any and every potential client I've met. My wife Cardee and I are actually heading to San Diego this month for Chicano Park day, where we'll share a vending booth selling t-shirts and books of our artwork, not to mention tattooing all the clients that have been waiting since our last visit in Aug, 2010.”

Celeste De Luna: “I can tell you that the Institute was beneficial for me as an artist because I learned about taking my own work more seriously and being professional. What you learn from the Leadership Institute is how to manage not just the creative side of art, but the business side as well. NALaC can give you models to follow, with buena gente you can relate to.”

Lizbeth Ortiz: "I can say that NALAC helped me view the bigger picture of the art scene, not only point A where I stand but the universal bird's eye view of the community."

Do it: Apply Here. Deadline is Friday, April 15

P.S.: If question #2 in section B of the application troubles you,  describe your artistic career as your 'organization'. Are you part of a collective? Run an art gallery? Produce shows? That is your 'organization' as well, and you do admin work when you apply for grants, do outreach and handle all the tasks of producing a show. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

NALAC Leadership Institute- an alumni's experience and plea for YOU to apply

2007 Nalaqueros por vida

I'd like to urge everyone to become aware of and apply for the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s (NALAC) upcoming Leadership Institute, taking place this July in San Antonio, Tejas. The deadline to apply is April 15.

For 20+ years, NALAC has been dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. Based in San Anto, NALAC’s core work are grants for artists, regional training workshops, a national conference (last held 2010 in sanjo), outreach/communications, and their annual Leadership Institute.

For seven wonderful years I was part of the Teatro Visión team out in my hometown of San José, California. As one of the most chingon teatros in the country, Teatro Visión has shown a commitment to helping the next generation of leaders grow and hone their craft, whether it be on the stage, behind the desk, or out in the community. Through them, I was able to be part of the 2007 Leadership Institute, joining the now four Teatro Visión alumni of the week-long training.

Aside from gaining a better understanding of administrative basics like grant writing, budgeting, and strategic planning, the most important thing I took away was viewing my work in a broader context. How crucial it was for me to make connections with artists and individuals beyond my sphere and across the country, both for collaborations, sharing of resources, and advocacy. With ever decreasing resources for artists, even less for artists of color, banding together to support our work is the only way to survive and grow stronger as a community.

In a safe, comfortable space we shared our work, ideas, gripes, successes, and goals, and developed lasting relationships which I know have led to exhibitions, performances, collaborations, positive energy, and couches to crash on across the country. I also appreciated that the workshops benefited both artists and arts administrators; it went a long way in making me feel comfortable amongst the arts community without having any artistic talent. 

Some of the presenters included legends and respected individuals of the arts field, like the eloquent Dr. Maribel Alvarez (whom I developed an academic crush on), Dr. Tomas Ybarra Frausto, and Jesse Borrego. And you can’t help but fall in love with the city of San Anto and their motley crew of artistas, musicos, lovers, fighters, and dramaticos (not mutually exclusive descriptions), who seem to gravitate towards the participants and are wonderful hosts to the city they are so proud of.

As our veterano artists pass on the torch of leadership to the new generation, it is our responsibility to carry on their legacy, while strengthening the foundation of the Latino arts community for those to come. In the 11 years and nearly 200 alumni of the institute, only four Chicagoans have ever taken it. Obviously there are many ways to grow your network and your leadership skills and many of you are already leaps and bounds ahead, but joining the NALAC family is an opportunity not to pass up. As for funding to pay for travel and housing costs (NALAC does pay for ½ of travel, housing and provides breakfast and lunches), an idea would be a fundraiser, or local professional development grants, which I will research on as well… Details and apply here, the deadline is April 15. 

Still not motivated? Here is a great video, and testimonials...