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Beyond the Studio: What Do Artists/Writers/Curators Need?

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Visiting Peruvian artist Alexandra Wendorff paints in a friend's studio at the Tacheles artists' collective on August 2, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Recently, as an experiment, I posted a very basic question to artists, writers, and curators among my friends and followers on Facebook: What do you need? I deliberately avoided elaboration and left my question open-ended, specifically for the purpose of allowing people to answer however they’d like. To my thinking, they would respond with their most pressing need, as opposed to offering a kind of pie-in-the-sky wish list.

The answers, some seventy or so in total, were surprisingly direct and, for the most part, relatively modest in scope. No one said they needed a million dollars, for example — in fact, several talked about the desire to simply break even. “Time” was the most frequent answer, something that most everyone can relate to, whether or not they are creative. There were also repeated calls for community, mentorship, and inclusiveness, as well innovative new ideas about how to leverage support for artists. The resulting compilation offers a composite view of the answers I received.

If you care about living in a community with art and creativity, prioritize the needs of artists, which incidentally often reflect the most basic needs of a healthy community. Figuring out what artists need isn’t complicated — start by listening.

What do you need to make your work, Reader? Add your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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