Notes from SFAI’s January Creative Capital Workshops

On January 20-23rd, the Santa Fe Art Institute, with support from the Kresge Foundation, brought the Creative Capital Professional Development Program to Santa Fe for two workshops: The Internet for Artists (IFA) Weekend Workshop, and a one-day Verbal Communications (VC) Workshop.

IFA Team Leader Brad Lichtenstein and workshop participants

The artists who participated in the workshops were selected from a pool of applications by a committee of local artists, curators, writers, and educators. The result was a group of artists at varying stages of their careers driven by the common goals of connecting to other artists and building up the foundations of their art practices with professional development training.

The weekend opened with Internet for Artists’ Friday Night introductions. In the Core Weekend workshop, each artist has 5 minutes to show slides and talk about his/her own work to the group. The Internet for Artists workshop puts its own spin on this by assigning each artist another participant to research on the Internet prior to the session, and then giving each artist 2 ½ minutes to present the artist they researched. It is a fast way to make it very clear that the management of your web presence must be a high priority in your professional practice and was a great way to bring the group together as a community of practicing artists.

IFA Team Leader Dread Scott in a breakout session

What followed was a weekend of learning, fun, bonding, and community building. We’d seen it before when we had a PDP Core Weekend here in 2006. The participants not only benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge the workshop leaders bring, but coalesce as a community of artists who continue to grow and learn together in their artistic and professional practices. The IFA leaders, Brad Lichtenstein, Dread Scott, Carla Lynne Hall, and Blithe Riley, were fun, funny, knowledgeable, and approachable. Their varied artistic practices (from performance art, to filmmaking, to music) brought a diversity that made their examples applicable to most every circumstance and gave the participants many models to follow.

"Mocktails" (left) and workshop participants mingling at the cocktail party exercise

On Monday, 17 of the 24 IFA participants stayed and were joined by 3 new folks, for the Verbal Communications workshop with Kirby Teppert. Kirby was lively and fun and his exercises brought out even the most shy and quiet of the participants. By the end of the day, at the “mocktail” party exercise, everyone was comfortable, social, and had gained a little more confidence in themselves and their ability to talk about their work. Watching the transformation was quite extraordinary!

The bulk of the workshop participants worked together, ate together, and chatted together for 3 ½ days, exploring their personal and professional lives, and learning how to work together to forward their professional art practices individually and as a group.

The IFA Workshop Participants and Leaders

As folks were leaving on Monday night, most of them stopped to hug me, and thank me for bringing Creative Capital to Santa Fe, and for enabling them to have what most considered a life changing experience.

The Santa Fe Art Institute is a community arts organization with a strong focus on supporting and presenting art as a positive social force. To offer the IFA and VC workshops to the Santa Fe artist community and to help sow the seeds of galvanizing that community is truly an honor. We will continue to offer lectures, workshops, exhibitions, residencies, and youth education and outreach to our Santa Fe community and beyond. Art has the power to touch the mind and the heart at the same time, giving audiences new insight to important social, cultural, and environmental issues here and around the world.

Thank you, Creative Capital and the Kresge Foundation for helping to give artists the tools they need to keep making work.

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