Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What Is An Artist Statement and How Do I Write One?

In 2011 I collaborated with John Heino on an art exhibit in conjunction with Phantom Galleries - Superior called Red Interactive. Among other things the art show included works from all over the world, including 30 or so pieces from a Chinese elementary school where my daughter was teaching at the time. The highlight for me was an opening reception event in which all attendees participated in a collaborative red-themed sculpture. It was a memorable event.

The biggest challenge, though, was assembling an artist statement that would pass muster with the arts board making selections as regards who would be approved for the limited number of gallery spaces. Version one: fail. Version two: fail. With a little help from Erika Mock (Textiles for Body and Soul) we were able to produce satisfactory statements.

What I learned is that having an artist statement is an essential tool for emerging artists in the professional art world, much like a resume in the business world.

For this reason, the Duluth Art Institute is tonight hosting an Artist Statement Workshop at the DAI (Depot) from 5:30 to 7:30. Amber White will "discuss the importance and various functions of the artist statement while demystifying the writing and editing process. Instruction will include multiple approaches to writing an artist statement, Dos and Don’ts (and Whys), discussion surrounding the voice of the artist, and peer-to-peer review."

If you plan to attend, there's a $10 workshop cost, which I believe will undoubtedly be worth more than you are paying. You're encouraged to bring two printed copies of your artist statement as well as two to four images of current work.

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If you can't be there -- I myself intended to be -- there are other resources available on the web. Here are a few:

Your Artist Statement: Explaining the Unexplainable and this one from The Art League may be helpful. But there's nothing like a good teaching session in which you can ask questions and put your words under the microscope of a pro who knows what she is doing.


NEXT TUESDAY, February 7, get an extra dose of culture as you brush up your Italian Renaissance and Baroque art understanding with a gallery talk by Dr. Jennifer Webb, Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Fine Arts at UMD. Dr. Webb will lead the discussion based on works from the Tweed. Dr. Webb helped organize the exhibition, From the Beginning: Selections from the Original Alice Tweed Tuohy & George Tweed Collection, by selecting the Italian paintings and by providing the content for the introductory panel.

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As you make your way about the city this week, make note of all the places with local art on display. There's plenty to see. Just open your eyes.

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