Photo courtesy of Artist Trust
Ahamefule Oluo rallies guests to give generously during last yearGÇÖs GÇÿFund the ArtistsGÇÖ auction supporting the Artist Trust.
Photo courtesy of Artist Trust Ahamefule Oluo rallies guests to give generously during last yearGÇÖs GÇÿFund the ArtistsGÇÖ auction supporting the Artist Trust.
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By Anastasia Stepankowsky

"At the time, the funding atmosphere for individual artists was pretty dismal," said executive director Shannon Halberstadt. "But there were people who came together and started looking at how they could pull together some funding and structures to help artists and support art at its source."

Over the years, Artist Trust's membership has grown to include 726 people, and the organization continues to expand. In December 2015, with help from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Artist Trust added a program coordinator position in Spokane. The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation funds innovative projects that advance solutions to basic and enduring problems with a focus on art, environment and learning differences.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, Artist Trust is taking its "Artist Trust on Tour" program to five different cities around the state and will choose an artist from each city to present their art to the community. Halberstadt believes these presentations also will provide opportunities for artists to connect with one another.

"A lot of artists get this experience later on, so having that knowledge and expertise upon graduation is pretty exciting," Halberstadt said. 

Chihuly Foundation to give an Arts Innovator Award that grants two artists with $25,000. All grants currently accepting applications are posted on Artist Trust's website.

"It's like winning the lotto," McGuigan said of the experience. Speaking as the program director, he added, "It's incredibly rewarding to call someone and tell them they"ve been selected."

"I wanted to work with more than just writers. I wanted to work with other (people) in other disciplines," McGuigan said.

"Often organizations that do grant making and professional development, it's hard for people to understand how to access that. So we're working really hard to break down barriers, so that people can know who we are and feel comfortable accessing our resources," Halberstadt said.

"There has been a lot of conversation about how Capitol Hill and Seattle in general has become a more difficult space for artists to be because of affordability issues and access to space to live, work and create. As there is more need, we are looking at having more access to resources online so that people can tap into that from wherever they are," Halberstadt said.

For more information about Artist Trust, upcoming events (including its annual auction), grants and work opportunities, visit the organization's website at www.artisttrust.org.