DAA programs fight for the starving artists
by Courtney Warren
Jan 15, 2014 | 728 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The term "starving artist" is one that is used when it comes to new and emerging artists.

The Delta Arts Alliance is hoping to help those starving artists keep some food on the table with the "Artist Survival Skills Workshop."

"We launched the Artist Survival Skills Series in the fall. Our debut talk featured internationally recognized sculptor, DeeDee Morrison and focused on the resiliency an artist must have, tips to networking, and how to market yourself. We welcomed in about 10 young artists, including two from Arkansas. This upcoming workshop will be the second in a series of four. Its original date was postponed due to weather in December," said Rori Herbison, DAA executive director.

The program is funded by Mike and Nan Sanders and spearheaded by Michaela Merryday.

The first session of workshops will cover many different skills for artists such as how to present themselves as an artist, how to photograph their work, how to utilize the internet to promote their artwork, and how to apply for grants.

The series will continue on Saturday with a workshop on how to photograph artwork.

Herbison said, "The Delta Arts Alliance must continue to strive to present artists real, tangible opportunities to work, to improve their work and to make a living. Continuing to romanticize the notion of a 'starving artist' is a disservice to our artistically rich culture.

"It's heartbreaking to hear the stories of a talented or promising artist no longer pursuing their art because the part-time job waiting tables became a full-time job managing the restaurant, and soon there was no time to create and actively pursue their dream of becoming an artist.

"We have to move in a direction that discontinues this notion that art is not a business or viable way of life. We must move in a direction that recognizes artists as what they truly are - creative entrepreneurs. It does not bastardize the work or the creative process to put a price tag on the end product. It, rather, should be seen for what it is—a return on the artist's investment, a trade of goods for market value."

In a time where art might not be a priority, Herbison believes these artists do stand a chance in the Delta and plans to fight for their work.

"I have to believe an artist can survive in the Delta, and more than that, my position as executive director of the Delta Arts Alliance puts me on the front line fighting to keep those artists in the Delta producing. Our work, our mission, our organization's goals are linked to that viability," she said.

Herbison is looked forward to many aspects of the series but said, "I look forward to the growth of this series, to a day where we can be attracting more regional, national and internationally recognized artists that can not only speak to our aspiring artists, but also provide value to our established artists, as well.

"The professional development series has the potential to grow beyond career advice into portfolio critiques."

The series will be challenging and a new experience for artists, however, Herbison believes that will discipline and determination, these artists will succeed.

"The challenge for the artists comes in the application of what they are learning. Like anything in life, it takes time and discipline and passion and grit and determination to make it, to get better at your craft, to want to get better at your craft.

"Showing up is a wonderful first step, but the pay-off is truly in how you apply what you've learned," she said.

Adding to the programs offered at the DAA, there would also be an exhibit opening on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m.

The Antiquarian Photography Show, as curated by Euphus Ruth, featuring the work of 13 national photographers, including Ruth, S. Gayle Stevens, Judy Sherrod, Kevin Kline, Bruce Schultz, Quinn Jacobson, Sesthasik Boobchai, David Rodrique, Thomm Bennett, Ray Bidegan, Daniel Carrillo, Maude Schuyler Clay and Bill Steber. 

The show features examples of historical hand made photographic processes from the 19th century and traditional film/printing processes of the 20th century. 

"This exhibit features no digital marriage in anyway to the historical process. It is a pure analog, hand-made show featuring these processes by photographers who perform them from beginning to end, including from composition in the ground glass to the final plate or print," said Herbison.

For more information about this series or other programs, contact Herbison and the DAA at 662-843-3344.