The Kenneth Rainin Foundation co-hosted the pilot for a new series, “Let’s Talk,” in partnership with Bay Area artist Beatrice Thomas of Authentic Arts & Media in December. Over fifty artists, arts workers and funders joined us for our first event to examine the central question: what do artists need to thrive? Below I recap the talk and what we learned, and share upcoming session dates for 2023.
The goal of the “Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive” series is for the Foundation’s Arts Team to engage in meaningful dialogue and be more accessible and transparent, especially with artists who have historically been unacknowledged by or excluded from philanthropy. We will apply what we learn to improve how we advance equity and support diverse, visionary Bay Area artists.
With so many virtual offerings available, we wanted to design a series that was additive for the sector. This is why we are collaborating with Beatrice Thomas, an artist and trained facilitator, to develop, host and refine the series. As part of the planning for the pilot, we solicited discussion topics and questions from attendees during registration. We received 52 questions or approximately one question per attendee. This level of engagement speaks to both the creativity and dedication in the arts sector as well as the need for more transparent and equitable funding.
A Recap Of The “Let’s Talk” Pilot
Beatrice set a joyous stage for the first event, dancing while welcoming attendees by name as they entered the virtual room. Attendees were introduced to the Rainin Foundation’s Arts Program Team, the Authentic Arts & Media Team and guest panelists: Faiza Bukhari from the Elise and Walter Haas Fund and Margot Melcon from the Zellerbach Family Foundation. The second half of the session included panel and breakout room discussions focused on accessibility and equity in the grant application process. If you missed the live stream you can watch the recording here.
What We Learned
We were ambitious with the pilot session, trying to accomplish too much in a short amount of time. The Rainin Foundation and Authentic Arts & Media teams and the guest panelists spent more than half of the hour-long program on their responses to the questions submitted in advance, but this meant less time to open the floor directly to artists on the call. We heard this feedback in the survey too: funders took up too much space. We appreciate the candor. We will apply this crucial learning and other attendee feedback to the design of upcoming sessions to support the meaningful dialogue needed to address systems change together.
“We have the opportunity to flip the script now. We’re going to keep working on Let’s Talk until we get it right.”Beatrice Thomas, host and co-creator of Let’s Talk
“Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive” Series Dates for 2023
The next three sessions of “Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive” will uplift three historically excluded audiences: queer artists, artists with disabilities and Indigenous artists. These events will feature artist panels and question and answer sessions so we can hear directly from artists and those who work in the arts. We will incorporate as many of the attendee questions as time will allow. Based on attendee feedback about the program length, we are scheduling the first session for 90 minutes; the last 30 minutes will convene optional small group breakout rooms.
We hope you will join us on the following dates.
Click on the event title and date to register for upcoming sessions of “Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive.”
Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive | Tuesday, February 28 at 12–1:30 PM PT | Watch a recording of the event.
Artist and host Beatrice Thomas facilitated a conversation with queer artists discussing what they—and all artists—need to thrive in 2023 and beyond. Speakers included artists Snowflake Arizmendi-Calvert, Monique Jenkinson, Marilet Martinez, Jean Melesaine and Mama Celeste aka Grey Tartaglione, and funders Jaime Cortez, William + Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Olivia Malabuyo Tablante, Gerbode Foundation.
Let’s Talk: What Artists Need To Thrive | Thursday, April 6 at 12 PM PT | Watch a recording of the event.
Artist and host Beatrice Thomas will facilitate a conversation with artists with disabilities to discuss what they—and all artists—need to thrive in 2023 and beyond. Speakers include artists Antoine Hunter, Claudia Alick, Judith Smith and Laurel Lawson, and funders Lane Harwell, Ford Foundation; and Esther Grisham Grimm, 3Arts.
Let’s Talk: What Artists Need to Thrive | Friday, May 5 at 12 PM PT | Watch a recording of the event.
Artist and host Beatrice Thomas will facilitate a conversation with Indigenous artists to discuss what they—and all artists—need to thrive in 2023 and beyond. Speakers include artists Inez Hunter, Landa Lakes and Javier Stell-Fresquez, and funders Jonell Molina, San Francisco Arts Commission; and Reuben Roqueñi, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.
The following resources were shared in the Zoom chat during the pilot session. If you have a resource to share, let us know in the comments below.
- Native Land Digital
- Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts Program
- Access Intimacy
- “Resource Equity: Connecting culturally specific dance communities with grants funding” by Anne Huang (relevant to disciplines beyond dance.)