Art is so many things to so many people. For me, art is an interpretation of life and the moments within it. It’s how an artist creates it and tries to communicate something through their art. Music has always been the one art form I have had the pleasure of experiencing in my life, but I have a difficult time singing when I am sad, anxious, or just emotionally exhausted. Lauren Childs, owner of Fort Work Arts refers to an artist’s “headspace.” It’s the place where the artist has room to create from within themselves. If an artist can’t afford to create due to external issues, such as the coronavirus, it makes creating very difficult.
As many as “2/3 of the artists around the country are without an income due to the pandemic,” according to a recent survey. Community leaders have taken the admirable step of helping Fort Worth artists. “This is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to do. It’s amazing,” stated Lauren, one of the creators and spokespeople for the Fine Line Group New Artist Support Initiative that is scheduled to launch one of three cycles of application deadlines.
THE NEW NORMAL: An Artist’s Response to COVID-19 challenges local visual artists to create works that reflect their experience living through the pandemic as members of the Fort Worth area community.
According to Lauren, there are roughly 40 professional artists in Fort Worth proper that are struggling financially right now because of the coronavirus. The hope is that this artists competition will help them get back to their creative headspace now that may have the financial support. “We’ll be giving awards of $2,000 or $5000 to at least 40 artists. At that point, if we have more donations before the competition is over, then we could possibly give out more money. That is the hope.”
Led by a $50,000 gift from the Fine Line Group, and additional support from the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Donny Wiley Memorial Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation, and Kit and Charlie Moncrief, this innovative program is designed to support Fort Worth’s economic and emotional recovery through both service and art and will culminate in the creation of an important and profound body of work that interprets and documents the uniquely Fort Worth experience, during these uncertain, surreal, and often worrisome times.
A panel of eight influential leaders from Fort Worth’s most prestigious museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Sid Richardson Museum, will manage the selection process for this competition. Panelists will review candidate applications and provide awards of either $2,000 or $5,000 to Fort Worth artists based on the strength of their proposal, portfolio, and demonstrated financial need.
THE NEW NORMAL is administered by Gallery of Dreams, a Fort Worth nonprofit arts organization established by Lauren Childs of Fort Works Art.
THE NEW NORMAL initiative is the first of its kind in the U.S., aiming to jumpstart Fort Worth’s creative economy by providing a highly focused support structure that helps its artists get back to work, while also bringing the Fort Worth community together to share, process, and heal through art that truly speaks to what members of the community are experiencing.
“Throughout history, artists have responded to major catastrophes and provided the world with visual interpretations of a reality that captures and preserves the human experience of the time,” commented Sasha Bass, the initiative’s founder. “Ed and I, along with our partners, are thrilled to launch this program, which will provide much-needed income to our talented local artists and sustain the creative experiences essential to our communal spirit. Even in this age of social distancing, coming together through art is possible.”
“We always envisioned THE NEW NORMAL as an open-source model,” continued Mrs. Bass. “We believe this is a powerful antidote to the isolation, fear, and uncertainty communities may be experiencing during this time. Through the lens of the artist’s eye, we can heal together as one.”
THE NEW NORMAL model will be made available via open-source to any community interested in adopting it in support of their local artists. “We are already in discussions with leaders from three other cities who are working to implement a program like ours,” said Mrs. Bass. “All our efforts so far have been focused on getting THE NEW NORMAL up and running in Fort Worth as quickly as possible, because our artists need help now, but we expect to have a platform for information sharing up and running soon.” In the meantime, interested parties are welcome to reach out via phone or email.
Applicants are asked to submit a written proposal including a personal statement sharing their views on how this opportunity will help them create, an overview of the COVID-19-related work they intend to create, and an idea on how their art can support others in our city. Examples of the artist’s current work, along with a statement of need demonstrating loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis, are also required. The full application is available here. There is no fee to apply.