Creative Capital Workshops at the Santa Fe Art Institute

PDP Artist Leader Dread Scott (2001 Visual Arts grantee) leading the Internet for Artists workshop at Santa Fe Art Institute
On January 20-23, the Santa Fe Art Institute, with support from the Kresge Foundation, brought Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program (PDP) to Santa Fe for two workshops: the Internet for Artists (IFA) weekend workshop and a one-day Verbal Communications (VC) workshop.
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 the Internet for Artists Friday night introductions. In PDP’s Core Weekend workshops, each artist has five 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 two-and-a-half minutes to present the artist they researched. It’s 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.
What followed was a weekend of learning, fun, bonding and community building. We’d seen it before when we had a PDP Core Weekend workshop here in Santa Fe 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.
On Monday, 17 of the 24 IFA participants stayed and were joined by three 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 three-and-a-half days, exploring their personal and professional lives, and learning how to work together to forward their professional art practices individually and as a group.
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, 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.
Michelle Laflamme-Childs is the Deputy Director of Santa Fe Art Institute.

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