Artists in a COVID Economy
This artist-led conversation will address how artists can manage a self-sustaining practice amid uncertainty and rapidly changing economic conditions. Amy Smith will moderate the discussion featuring panelists Daniel Park, Kristina Wong, and Caroline Woolard. The conversation will explore ideas from cooperative principles and bartering networks to investment groups and entrepreneurship, and will offer space to imagine new forms in the face of COVID-19.
Daniel is a queer, bi-racial, theatre and performance artist based in Philadelphia, co-founder of the worker-cooperative Obvious Agency, and the Project Coordinator with the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2014 Daniel has become a leader for radical thought in the local creative ecosystem and has self-produced multiple major works, created commissions for institutions such as the Barnes Foundation and Moore College of Art and Design, taught anti-oppressive creation methodology at the University of the Arts, and collaborated with local companies including The Bearded Ladies, Orbiter 3, and Applied Mechanics. Deeply tied to his artistic practice, Daniel is also an activist and organizer, focusing on racial and labor justice in the cultural sector. He has provided his services as a facilitator and consultant nationally, and working with organizations such as The PA Governor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs, ArtPlace America, and Headlong Dance Theatre. Daniel also acts as the membership and engagement coordinator with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, a community group that brings together folks of pan-Asian descent involved in the performing arts.
The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives. Our mission is to build a thriving cooperative movement of stable, empowering jobs through worker-ownership. We advance worker-owned, -managed, and -governed workplaces through cooperative education, advocacy and development. Our Federation includes more than 200 business and organizational members representing 6,000 workers across the country. We organize through local cooperative networks while building power with national and international partners to advance an agenda for economic justice rooted in community-based, shared ownership.
Amy Smith is a dance and theater artist, educator, and facilitator. She works to dismantle oppressive structures in non-profit organizations and other groups so that artists and low income folks can achieve collective liberation. She does this through financial well-being workshops, one-on-one work with clients giving financial advice and doing tax preparation, consulting with arts organizations, co-facilitating anti-racism sessions with co-facilitators of color, and as a dance and theater educator. Amy co-founded, co-directed, and performed with Headlong, a dance theater non-profit that transformed into a community arts organization over 25 years. She left Headlong in 2019 to pursue her freelance work. She leads financial well-being workshops through Creative Capital, Assets for Artists, and in many other settings. She holds a BA from Wesleyan UnIversity and has been greatly affected by her learning as part of artEquity’s National Facilitator Training and other anti-oppression trainings.
Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian and elected representative of Koreatown Los Angeles. She received the Creative Capital Award in 2006 to create “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”– a show exploring the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women. Her national tour of “Kristina Wong for Public Office” about her run and win for local elected office was sidelined by the pandemic, she pivoted to touring “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Empire” on Zoom about how in ten days she went from out of work artist to the Factory Overlord of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a national network of people of all genders who have turned our living rooms into homemade mask sewing “sweatshops” because of the failure of the Federal Government to provide proper PPE to essential workers and vulnerable communities. In the “Before Times,” Kristina toured her award winning solo shows internationally, was a guest on late night television, and created the kids web series “Radical Cram School.” www.kristinawong.com
Caroline Woolard employs sculpture, immersive installation, and online networks to imagine and enact systems of collaboration and mutual aid. She has co-founded barter networks OurGoods.org and TradeSchool.coop (2009-2019), BFAMFAPhD.com (2014-present), and the Study Center for Group Work (2015-present) and her work has been commissioned by and exhibited in major national and international museums, including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and Creative Time.