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

Visiting Peruvian artist Alexandra Wendorff paints in a friend's studio at the Tacheles artists' collective on August 2, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.

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.

  • Pingback: Contemporary caribbean art : What do caribbean artists need? | Aica Caraïbe du Sud()

  • Ancel

    I need space and equipment. Space to work and store my art and equipment, like a potter’s wheel and kiln to continue my work effectively. I have a desire to teach people pottery on this tiny island in the sun, as a method of skill training in this difficult, economic season.

  • Janet Cook-Rutnik

    An income. How about an Artist’s Monthly Security check. Jobs, opportunities to make some cash money without huge project expenditures – like the WPA – there are lots of reasons to employ artists to benefit public spaces, buildings, schools, hospitals, etc. A public municipal program to fund the enhancement of the visual and humanistic life of a community would be most welcome and supportive.


Christian L. Frock

Christian L. Frock is an independent writer, curator and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work focuses on the intersection of art and public space. Invisible Venue, the curatorial enterprise founded and directed by Frock since 2005, collaborates with artists to present art in unexpected settings. Frock's writing has been featured in art ltd, Art Practical, Art&Education, Daily Serving, FillipSan Francisco Arts MonthlySFMOMA Open Space, and, among other publications.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor