According to the Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc (SAQA) website, they are “a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications.”
According to me, they are an amazing organization where I can go to learn to be a better professional quilt maker. Through SAQA, I learn about the business side of being an artist, I meet collectors and like-minded makers, I have numerous opportunities to show my work both in traveling exhibitions and online, and I get to be part of this great story that is unfolding in real time. That is the story of the quilt maker–artists whose primary medium is the quilt–claiming their space in the larger world of art.
Last May, I spoke at the 2015 SAQA Conference in Portland, Oregon. The topic of my lecture was The Art of the Word: Getting Grants and Other Art Opportunities by Crafting a Well-Written Proposal. This subject matter was so exciting (NOT) that I had several attendees come up to me after the lecture to say that while they were really glad they showed up at 9AM on a Saturday morning to hear me talk, they seriously had to force themselves to do so. They are right.
It’s a boring topic. Who wants to learn about writing when we can all be in our studios stitching away. The sewing machine humming, the iron hissing, the scissors snipping, the ripper silent. The music of making. We love the zen benefits of stitching hour after hour.
Still the truth of the matter is–if we want to move forward as an art medium, we have got to learn how to put ourselves out there. And the process of doing that is what my talk was about. If this intrigues you, I have broken the lecture down into six sections, two of which I have written blog posts about.
And YES. there should be more posts to come. Someday when my sewing machine is broken, and it is below zero, but still warm in my“attic”office, I will write them.
With the help of the SAQA webinar team, we created an online version of the talk which is available to SAQA members.
During this talk I mentioned the Sustainable Arts Foundation. They are a small San Fransisco based non-profit that funds artists and writers who are in the thick of parenting while also trying to produce creative work. In the winter of 2011, I received an award from them to build a small off-the-grid sewing studio out in McCarthy, Alaska.
I was one of the first artists to receive an award from them. Since then, the competition and the prestige that go along with this award have gone through the roof. Twice a year, more than a thousand artists and writers with families submit proposals for funding. The competition is incredible. To catch the eye of a juror and move into the final rounds of review is nearly impossible. I don’t want to be all negative like, but it is a FEAT.
In the end, twenty artists and writers are recognized for their outstanding abilities. Despite these crazy odds, TWO of the artists–LISA KIJAK and AMY MEISSNER— selected for recognition this winter are quilt artists who are members of SAQA and heard about this funding opportunity through hearing me speak and/or reading my blog. Isn’t that fantastic?
Let me introduce these well-deserving artists.
In the words of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, “Lisa Kijak is a quilter with a contemporary, painterly aesthetic.
Lisa lives with her wife and two daughters in Laguna Hills, CA.”Fellow Alaskan artist and SAQA-AK co-rep, Amy Meissner, was also recognized for her work.
She writes an incredibly thoughtful blog that you should really check out.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I am truly grateful to be a part of this community of makers.
We are doing it, and it is AMAZING. But think about it, who can really stop a bunch of artists with sewing machines and scissors? I hope this story inspires all of you to get your grant on. Write on.
Happy Thanksgiving dear readers!