Katherine is the featured artist of the month for January 2011 on the Skagit Artists Together website. SAT is a local artist organization whose mission is to create collaborative opportunities to connect citizens of Skagit County with the visual arts. The group has more than 65 members, and Katherine has been a member for more than three years now. In July, SAT sponsors an annual studio tour which gives people a nice opportunity to meet artists, see some working studios, and tour our beautiful valley. Webmaster Ron King puts together these monthly artist features from info provided by the artist. Katherine’s includes 10 photos of her work, an artist statement, list of selected exhibits, awards, and publications. Check out Katherine’s page.
This past weekend was the sixth annual juried Skagit Artists Together studio tour. This is the second year that Katherine has participated. The tour is kind of an open farm day for us at Dunbar Gardens. Since Katherine actually works on the second floor of our old farmhouse, we display the baskets in our barn and Katherine demonstrates basketry outside. The nice thing for visitors is that they can see the connection between the craft and the materials. We invite people to walk out to see the willow fields. We can explain the process of growing, harvesting, drying, sorting, soaking, and finally weaving of the willows.
We had a beautiful two days for the tour. Traffic and sales were less than last year, but that was not surprising given the down economy. We hope folks enjoyed their visit. We were still selling some fresh produce from our garden like we do every weekend, so some people just stopped by for the vegies!
This past Sunday we went to a grant writing workshop sponsored by Skagit Artists Together. Katherine is a member of SAT and had suggested awhile back a workshop on grant applications which she agreed to organize. Fortunately there is an outstanding organization called Artist Trust which is dedicated to supporting Washington State artists that offers workshops. Monica Miller, Director of Programs, agreed to come up to Skagit County to present a two hour program on building a strong grant application.
One of the reasons Katherine dragged me along was to take a few photos to include with an article for the SAT newsletter. But that didn’t work out too well. I’ll blame it on the black walls and dark gallery space. Hopefully I can take better photos of Katherine’s work! One of the take home messages was the importance of the images submitted for any grant, or juried show for that matter. Grants administered by Artist Trust request ten images of an applicant’s work. These images are shown to the jurors two at a time for about four seconds during the first screening. Those first four images (two sets) are very important in capturing the interest of the people saying yea or nay. It is important to have a neutral background that doesn’t distract from the work, and to present a cohesive set of images that depict current work. While the images or work samples are most important in determining recipients, the panel’s perception of the artist’s ability to complete the grant project is also critical. It helps to have a concise project description with a catchy title. As to those artist statements that everyone struggles with, avoid the “artspeak”. Be simple, concise, and direct. Monica suggested an exercise of writing down twenty adjectives to describe your work; then picking out three of them to use that are desciptive and unique to your work. Artist Trust has a wealth of information for artists on funding, business, portfolio, marketing, legal, and more. Their website is a great resource.
The workshop was hosted at an eclectic arts venue and coffee shop called The Conway Muse in Conway in the south end of Skagit County. SAT holds its monthly meetings here. Check out their website for a calendar of events.