Emerging artists on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket are encouraged to apply for an intensive capacity-building initiative through the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s (AFCC) Creative Exchange program.
Ten local artists will be selected to spend a little under a year focusing on their professional development to ensure the financial sustainability of their creative practices. The AFCC is partnering with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, which will be bringing its Assets for Artists program to the community cohort of Cape-based creatives.
Since 2008, Assets for Artists has provided direct support to over 500 artists in five states across the Northeast — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Maine — helping guide them to think about their businesses holistically.
Through the program, participants receive one-on-one financial coaching; are guided in creating a business plan; have access to a community cohort of creative peers; and receive a $1,000 working capital grant at the end of program completion. Participants will also attend several webinars, including “Making a Plan in a Time of Uncertainty,” taught by sculptor and artist Laura Baring-Gould; “The Basics of Building a Grant,” taught by poet, writer, and educator Yara Liceaga-Rojas; “Taxes and Money Management,” taught by artist Hannah Cole; and additional workshops as determined by the needs of the cohort.
Applications for the program will open on Monday, August 1st on the Arts Foundation’s website.
Artists of any medium who live on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is Thursday, September 15th. Awards will be announced at the end of October with onboarding beginning in November. The program will conclude with a graduation in September 2023.
“We have long wanted to work with MASS MoCA because of their stellar reputation in providing artist-to-artist mentoring that gives creatives the tools they need to elevate projects and turn their ideas into reality,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “This level of support is especially critical because the pandemic exposed a number of weaknesses in the arts sector. Now is the perfect time for Cape artists not only to learn new strategies, but to rethink ways to approach their creative practice so they can build the type of resiliency needed in today’s climate.”
While Assets for Artists has made significant inroads in empowering creatives throughout the Commonwealth, it has only had 13 artists from Cape Cod and the Islands take part in the program since its inception. “We’re excited to have this kind of focused attention in the region and a cohort that will deepen our connection with artists on the Cape,” said Molly Rideout, MASS MoCA’s communications and fundraising manager. “While we’re on the other side of the state, the Cape is very similar to our region in that we’re both tourism-based. Trying to bridge our two worlds is really exciting to us.”
The financial training that Assets for Artists offers is more critical than ever due to the impacts of the pandemic. In April, the Massachusetts Cultural Council released data which showed that 1,084 cultural organizations across the state reported $781 million in lost revenue, from March 2020 to March 2022. In that same time frame, 3,048 artists state-wide reported 74,152 lost or canceled gigs/jobs and nearly $32 million in lost personal income.
“There are some pretty harrowing statistics of how much artists lost due to the pandemic,” Rideout said, noting that Assets for Artists is geared to giving creatives the guidance to withstand future events not unlike what they have faced the past two years. “The program is really focused on helping artists gain the tools that art school doesn’t give you, specifically around how to think about money and how to think about yourself as a business and using marketing and grant writing and other ways to diversify your income.”
The capacity-building program is made possible thanks to a $400,000 injection of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the state and a $50,000 investment from the Cape Cod Foundation that the AFCC received at the end of last year. That funding has bolstered AFCC’s Creative Exchange program under which this initiative falls.
The Creative Exchange is open to all artists and cultural nonprofits across Cape Cod and the Islands. To learn more about becoming a Creative Exchange member click the button below.