Friday, 5 September 2014

Artists U: a Movement for sustainable art practice

Artists U is a grassroots, artist-run platform for changing the working conditions of artists.

Their manifesto reads:

Make art. Don’t starve.
We want to change the conversations artists have in our heads, with each other, and with the world.
We push artists to build lives that are balanced, productive, and sustainable.
We are skills-based, not need-based: we work to empower artists to create their lives and their art.
We don’t give advice. We don’t do things for you.
Everything we do is artist-to-artist and free for all participants.
We started in Philadelphia and now we work in Baltimore and South Carolina too (and sometimes in other places).
We have two tools: group meetings and one-on-one planning sessions.

We offer those tools in three different programs:


12 artists are nominated and selected for a year-long program. Artist meet eight times as a group to look at specific topics: artist statement, grant writing, communications, etc. Each artist also meets monthly one-on-one with an artist facilitator to do her/his own planning work. Artists leave with: a two-year personal strategic plan; a new artist statement; a financial plan including annual income goals and hour, day, and week rates; and an administrative plan including schedule and resources.


Open enrollment. Three 2-hour workshops spread over three weeks. We look at: strategic planning, artist statement, and time and money management.


Free one-on-one planning sessions with an artist facilitator. You bring in an issue, the facilitator asks you a lot of questions. Our goal: turn challenges and dreams in to to-do lists.

For more information, visit

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