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New ‘U’: Artists U offers new podcast series

Tools and tips for #SCartists keep coming

Headphones lying on laptop on armchair. Hygge minimalist home room indoor apartment interior decoration. Cozy room in natural tone

The same value-filled workshops #SCartists have grown accustomed to getting from Artists U are now available in a new medium anytime, anywhere.

To broaden reach, Artists U founder/director/guru Andrew Simonet is now offering a podcast series of conversations with artists across media. It's called Artlife on Blast, and it's the result of a partnership that includes 701 Center for Contemporary Art and the South Carolina Arts Commission. Michaela Pilar Brown, executive director of 701 CCA and a notable artist in her own right, joins Simonet to talk with featured artists.
Here's a little more from Artists U:
  • We talked with South Carolina artists about making art, making a life, and making a living.
  • How do we nourish our practice and feed ourselves?
  • And how much money could you make selling your CDs out of your trunk in the 1990s? (a lot, turns out)

We spoke with artists about things artists don’t always discuss publicly.

FatRat Da Czar has been building a life in hip hop and the artist community to nourish that work for three decades. Camela Guevara turns waste streams into art and her day job into her studio. Malik Greene is building a life as a self-taught artist and the first professional artist in his family. Cedric Umoja got honest with a community and told them the mural he was painting would probably be a gentrifying force (and the conversation that developed was profound). Ed Rice carefully managed his expenses to live off his painting for fifty years. Fifty. Years.

While editing, I got to listen to the conversations many times, and I gotta say: these artists are fascinating. In each episode, we also share some Artists U prompts and tools, ways artists are building sustainable lives.

Artists U made "Art Life on Blast"available on artistsu.org on these common platforms: The series was created and is produced by Michaela Pilar Brown and Simonet (who edits, as you read above). Production support comes from Omme-Salma Rahemtullah. Music is from Sheldon Wright and Jamil Byron. Funding support comes by way of a partnership grant from the SCAC (/mic drop). Go have a listen!

Jason Rapp

Online intensive planned for Artists U

Sustaining Through + Beyond the Pandemic

The transitions out of lockdown offer big opportunities and challenges for artists.

This online workshop brings the fundamentals of Artists U (planning, finances, time management, mission) to this complex moment. Now is a powerful moment to imagine and plan what is next for our work, our lives, and our communities. This June, plan to meet on Zoom three Wednesdays in a row. We will take breaks, we will breathe. We will build a positive, rigorous conversation about building balanced and sustainable lives as artists. You will get assignments between each session. Plan on an hour or two each week. Here’s the schedule:
  • Wednesday, June 9, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 16, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 23, 12-1:30 p.m.
Who is eligible to participate? Any South Carolina artist. Do you have to attend all three sessions? Yes. And we will give you brief assignments (1-2 hours) for each session. How much does it cost? It’s free, thanks to support from the South Carolina Arts Commission. How do I register? You can sign up here.

Submitted material

‘Holy grief’ discussion at next Artists U conversation

'Back Together, Not Back to Normal'

If we're honest, "normal" is a long way off.

Sure, we are seeing semblances of it here and there. According to Andrew Simonet from Artists U (an ongoing partner of the S.C. Arts Commission), "there is a lot up for grabs in the next 12 months." In an essay, he says:

Many of us have an understandable urge: Can’t we just go back to how things were in 2019? No, we can’t. Too much has shifted in our culture and economy and world. What comes next will be built, in part, by artists. We have sacred, essential skills for this moment: We look clear-eyed at what is and fearlessly imagine what could be.

And so "Back Together, Not Back to Normal" was born, giving artists a place to converse about the abundant twists and turns of navigating the transition away from lockdowns. [caption id="attachment_46863" align="alignright" width="200"]Devynn Emory Devynn Emory (image from LinkedIn)[/caption] #SCartists can register now for an April 22 conversation with Brooklyn-based Devynn Emory, who will lead a conversation with the thesis, "our grief can be holy if we let it." Emory is a mixed Lenape/Blackfoot transgender choreographer, dance artist, bodyworker, ceremonial guide and acute care and hospice nurse who spent the pandemic along the front lines in the later roles. Artists U invites artists to join Devynn's conversation about:
  • grief and mourning what has been lost
  • the traumas and truths of the past year, how they impact our bodies and breath
  • how artists can resist the “get back to normal” narrative, reinventing rather than rebuilding
  • how artists are useful to our communities and beloveds through these complex transitions
  • grief and mourning what has been lost
  • the traumas and truths of the past year, how they impact our bodies and breath
  • how artists can resist the "get back to normal" narrative, reinventing rather than rebuilding
  • how artists are useful to our communities and beloveds through these complex traditions.
That's Thursday, April 22 at noon ET, and you can register here.

Jason Rapp

Wednesday’s SHIFT/SC features artist Sherae Rimpsey

Artists U SHIFT Wednesday at noon

JUST IN: The Hub got a quick dispatch from Andrew Simonet at Artists U South Carolina this morning.

Multidisciplinary artist Sherae Rimpsey will share her work and process at a Wednesday lunch Zoom session. We'll talk about her art, working across disciplines and boundaries, and doing it all during lockdown. You can see some of her video work here and her most recent film here. SHIFT/SC
This is part of a recurring series you've read here before about artists helping artists through the pandemic.

Jason Rapp

Artists U presents next ‘SHIFT’ session this week

Meet two artists; add to your toolkit

shift key on a laptop keyboard

Artists U/South Carolina is again offering SHIFT, monthly artist talks and conversations about sustaining through and beyond the pandemic.

On the first Wednesday of each month:

  • two artists will do short presentations about their work and process.
  • we’ll share specific Artists U tools and conversations for building sustainability.

Let’s not do this alone. Artists build amazing community, but our networks are often limited. We want to introduce you to two artists making powerful work, and we want to share real talk and real tools for sustaining through uncertainty. SHIFT/SC: First Wednesday of the month, 12-1 p.m.: 2020: Oct. 7 | Nov. 4 | Dec. 2 2021: Jan. 6 | Feb. 3 | March 3 | April 7 | May 5 | June 2

  • Do I have to attend every month? No. Register and come whenever you like.
  • Will you record the sessions in case I can’t be there? Yup.
  • How much does it cost? SHIFT is free, thanks to S.C. Arts Commission grant funding
Click here to get registered now!

Jason Rapp

Artists U/South Carolina launches Big Projects Club

Free program for ambitious artists with ambitious projects

Applications deadline: Thursday, October 1, 2020 man looking at a planning board
Big Projects Club provides eight months of support, community, and accountability for South Carolina artists pursuing ambitious goals. It is for artists who want to start (or transition) a major project or venture. Times of uncertainty and instability can be powerful moments to start something new. Rather than retreating to the familiar, hoping our old ways of working will sustain us, we can be visionary builders of our practice, and our communities, and our future. Let’s walk together. Big Projects Club is a community of practice for ambitious artists and ambitious projects. We move our own projects forward, and we actively propel each other’s work with support, brainstorming, and accountability. Do it on your terms. We have no opinion on what you should do. You’re an artist; you’re a genius at envisioning and manifesting. Your ambitions and definitions of success are your own.  BPC is here to move you forward on your terms.


12 artists, by application (applications due October 1, 2020). Artists will be selected by a panel of AU/SC facilitators.


Eight monthly group sessions (ninety minutes on Zoom) and up to three one-on-ones with an AU/SC facilitator. The commitment + Attend all eight sessions, no exceptions. + Share your insights and ideas to help propel other artists’ projects. + Do the work. This is for artists who can devote at least eight hours a week to manifesting their Big Projects. Read more and apply here!

Jason Rapp

Hub follow-up: Artists U ‘shifts’ to Zoom

Free artist working groups start tomorrow

shift key on a laptop keyboard
Artists U is starting SHIFT/South Carolina to get artists talking and working together in a time of crisis so they're ready when the crisis is over. Last week The Hub promoted the informational sessions. (Miss those? Catch up with a recorded version.) With the preliminary stuff completed, Artists U is diving in, and SHIFT/South Carolina starts tomorrow at noon with "Artists in a Time of Crisis."
You can do SHIFT on your own. You can form a working group in your community. You can request to join an existing working group (there’s a place on the signup form for that.) However you choose to participate, Artists U does ask that you sign up for the community and dialogue. There is no cost to participate.
Registered participants get:
  • access to 10 weekly Zoom workshops (live and recorded) on different topics
  • the in-the-works SHIFT workbook
  • regular updates on local and national resources for artists
"I know you will get a lot from our conversations and have ideas and resources to contribute," Andrew Simonet of Artists U said. "And please spread the word. SHIFT is for all South Carolina artists, not just Artists U alums."

Session dates

All live sessions begin at noon on the following dates:
  • April 8, 2020
  • April 15, 2020
  • April 22, 2020
  • April 29, 2020
  • May 6, 2020
  • May 13, 2020
  • May 20, 2020
  • May 27, 2020
  • June 3, 2020
  • June 10, 2020
Did we mention it's free? Here's that sign-up link again.
The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with Artists U on its artist development work and provides operating support to it via grant funding.

Jason Rapp

Artists U introducing new working groups for artists

Addressing shifts by shifting together

Artists U is launching a new platform for artists during this ongoing crisis: SHIFT Working Groups. These launch first in South Carolina with two SHIFT Intros this week. During a one-hour Zoom conversation, Artists U will introduce the program and answer questions. First, here's a bit more from Artists U about this new initiative and how it can help artists.

SHIFT Working Groups: artists working together in a time of crisis

Our world is shifting rapidly. We need to shift. We at Artists U want to work through these shifts together. We want to build positive, rigorous conversations about surviving and thriving during—and beyond—this time of uncertainty. Standing together allows us to share resources and ideas, but is not merely transactional; it is transformational. It is a model for how to live once this pandemic passes. Artists have so much to contribute at this moment of crisis. By stabilizing our lives, we can activate our skills as artists to create things in our community and our world: new art, structures, connections, and futures. Let us do what artists have always done: use what we have to build what we need.

What is a SHIFT Working Group?

A SHIFT working group is a group of 2-12 artists who commit to meeting online once a week and attending weekly online SHIFT workshops. You organize your group; Artists U provides the structure, prompts, and workshops. Together, we build solutions and support to stabilize the present and create what is next. We will:
  • Stabilize our physical health, mental health, and financial health, and the health of those around us. This is our first priority. We cannot create or contribute well until we are stable.
  • Clarify and strengthen our roles in our communities and culture. Once we are secure, we can make things, build things. In this crisis, that could take many forms: art that comforts or heals or pushes or fights, collective structures for resource and care, practices to grieve and mourn, tools for staying connected and nourished.
  • Imagine, plan, and build the new and needed structures, ways of working, economies, and paradigms. This moment is full of possibility. Artists can help conceptualize and create what is next in our communities, art worlds, and economies.

What is the commitment?

  • form a group of 2-12 artists
  • meet weekly online with your group
  • attend online one-hour workshops once a week with the larger SHIFT community (you can attend these live or recorded)
  • do the writing prompts
  • listen generously and sharing openly

Register here to learn more

Interested? Here are the dates and times of the information sessions (on Zoom):

Jason Rapp

Artists U grantwriting workshop moves online

Still happening. Still free.

Register ASAP; it's this Friday.

You heard about it on The Hub last month. A lot's happened since. Though many things are postponing or canceling, our partner organization is still presenting this invaluable resource for artists. Online. Register today. Made possible by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, Artists U South Carolina's Andrew Simonet is set to introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants. You'll read some short proposals and act as a panel, scoring and discussing them. No bull, no fancy PowerPoints, just real-world tools for artists who write (or want to write) grants. From Andrew:

I didn't sign up to be a grantwriter. I wanted to be a choreographer. I discovered that, to make my work, I needed to find support. So I embarked on a painful learning process of trial and error, making every possible grant writing mistake. Eventually, I secured grants from funders like Creative Capital, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Rockefeller Foundation, and residencies from Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and Ucross.

I want to share with you everything I've learned. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, I will introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 6-9 p.m. ONLINE You'll receive a link to the meeting once you register. Do that here.

Jason Rapp

Artists U offers artist learning opportunities this March

Hey there, #SCartists. Our friends and frequent collaborators at Artists U have two great FREE learning opportunities in Columbia next month. Both will take place in the centrally-located Congaree Vista in the centrally-located city. Here's info on each. - Ed.

Grant Writing For Artists (FREE workshop)

Friday, March 20, 6-9 p.m. If Art Gallery | 1223 Lincoln St., Columbia (29201)

Based on 25 years of grant writing and art making, Artists U's Andrew Simonet will introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants. You'll read some short proposals and act as a panel, scoring and discussing them. No bull, no fancy powerpoints, just real-world tools for artists who write (or want to write) grants. Get more info and register for "Grant Writing for Artists" here.

Presenting Your Art

ENROLLMENT IS LIMITED AND BY APPLICATION Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If Art Gallery | 1223 Lincoln St., Columbia (29201)

In this workshop, we will take a hands-on look at each artist’s toolkit: work samples, artist statement, elevator pitch, and presentations. We will build a positive and rigorous conversation around the challenge of representing our art. In Artists U, we have sat on many panels and juries, and we will tell you: Most artists fail to convey the power of their work in their applications. Too many artists submit muddled images and convoluted writing and fail to connect the two. A huge barrier to getting new opportunities is how we represent our work in words and images.  We owe it to our work to represent it well in images and language.
  • Each artist will prepare a four-minute presentation about their work.
  • Artists in this workshop must also attend Grant Writing for Artists workshop on Friday, March 20 (see above).
Get more info and register for "Presenting Your Art" here.