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Five Ways to Connect for an Artist Employment Program Application

March 11, 2022

Many applicants have requested support in establishing artist-organization partnerships for CRNY’s Artist Employment Program. We know that creating these partnerships can be tricky, and we want to share some resources to help you with this process. Here are five paths CRNY has created to help you connect:

  1. Enter your information into the CRNY Collaboration Database. We will share a link to this database on our blog, through our Artist Outreach Corps, and via our Help Desk. Please note that your entries will be public.
  2. View the CRNY Collaboration Database to see a list of artists and organizations seeking a partnership in your area.
  3. Attend an online information session. During these sessions, you will learn about the goal of the collaborations and decide whether this program is right for you.
  4. Reach out to an Artist Outreach Corps member. These are artists across the state who know their regions/communities well and may be able to help you think through organizations and artists that best fit your needs and circumstances.
  5. Contact your Local Arts Council and ask for recommendations about artists or organizations in your area.

Goals of the Artist Employment Program

CRNY’s Artist Employment Program is for artists who have an established community-based practice and a desire to work with an organization whose mission resonates with their values.

Community-based organizations and local government entities are also important elements of the broader cultural ecosystem in New York State. Like artists, they were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. They wrestled with revenue losses, inability to retain staff, and the immense challenge of serving communities at a time when regulations for gatherings and in-person operations were paramount to fundamental safety.

Arts and non-arts organizations, large and small; local and regional government agencies; mutual aid and organizing groups; and many more community-based organizations have long engaged the expertise, creativity, and power of artists as agents of social change. The Artist Employment Program, then, was created to support both artists and organizations working collaboratively to serve communities.

As we worked with CRNY’s Think Tank to design the Artist Employment Program, we often cited the strength of mutual aid groups that share decision making while exchanging knowledge and resources. This program was designed with that same spirit in mind—artists and organizations making each other better, from Brooklyn to Buffalo! That’s why we created a joint application for artists and organizations to complete together, and why the values of mutuality and co-creation are key elements of the selection criteria.

Honoring Local Knowledge

CRNY is a small team working statewide, and our capacity is limited. More importantly, we know our place. We are not local to all New York State communities and likewise not always familiar with local or regional artists and organizations who are best suited to collaborate.

To bridge this gap, we hired the Artist Outreach Corps—a fantastic group of artist organizers from different regions across the state whose primary function is to build and foster relationships on the grassroots level. We encourage you to reach out to them for support. And we hope our Online Information Sessions can help you connect to each other, too.

All that said, we know these efforts are imperfect, and we acknowledge that many artists and organizations feel that finding collaborators is a burden. While only 300 artists (and even fewer organizations) will be funded through the Artist Employment Program, we hope that the conversations and relationships initiated at the local level will continue to grow and deepen long past CRNY’s tenure.