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Everything you need to know about Katy Hannigan in 5 Minutes (or less)

Aaron Jin

Communications Intern

Today we sat down with Katy Hannigan (and her trusty pup, Peppercorn) to learn as much as we could about her and the business of art.

Who are you?
Katy Hannigan, Program Manager at Artist Trust

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Driven, goofy, and direct

Where are you from?
Born and raised in San Jose, CA, but the Boston area holds a special place in my heart.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Moving out to Seattle a little over four years ago on more-or-less a whim. I had never followed my instinct in that way and am so glad to have found a home here.

How do you balance work and life?
Working on AT’s statewide programming takes me to many corners of Washington, mostly on evenings or weekends. That can be a lot, so I try to make mini-vacations out of the trips as often as I can - bringing my boyfriend and dog with me to see art all around the state helps keep me grounded to my personal life, even on the road!

Did you have a mentor? Who? What did they do for you?
One of my most important mentors is Kellen Braddock, who I used to work with at Shunpike and who now works at Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. Although we are very close in age, she carries wisdom beyond her years and always challenges me to get uncomfortable and stand up for what matters. Thanks for this reminder - I need to call her!

What are your three favorite tv shows?
I’m not going to list three shows, but have you EVEN SEEN Masterchef Junior? I’ve never been more invested in the fortunes of knife-wielding eight year olds than I am when I cue that up on Hulu. No shame here about that!

Are you an artist?
I used to be a theatre artist, but stopped making work a few years back. I just finished grad school, however, and am looking to try something new. I’ve never been good with my hands and want to challenge myself to work in sculpture or fibers in the near future.

What are your tips to format and tailor your work for success?
Be critical about what you choose to submit. For example: artists whose work is best showcased with video samples should be tight with their editing - don’t waste precious seconds on intro! Panelists should be hooked from the first glance at your work.

“You didn’t get a grant? That’s okay. How can we work together to make your next application even better?”- Katy Hannigan



What makes a strong work sample?
A strong work sample showcases the work as it is intended to be viewed - or at least as close as you can get digitally. The most effective samples capture size, scale, and detail in equal measure.

What doesn’t make a strong work sample?
Not following the instructions in the guidelines. No matter what you’re applying for, be sure to follow those guidelines!

How does the selection process work?
Our panelists look over each application on their own at home and then come together for a whirlwind day of in-person discussion about the applicants. These conversations always surprise me with their depth and I delight in watching panelists approach each application with warmth, generosity, and constructive critique.

Why is professional development important for artists?
There are always ways we can improve in everything we do – whether it’s looking at solving a business problem in your practice or thinking more broadly about long-term goal setting, there’s always room to learn and grow.

Any networking events you recommend for artists?
AT Artist Mentorship Nights are a really good time! Opening nights for performances and gallery shows are always a good way to get out and meet people.

Where do you see the arts/culture sector Seattle in 10 years?
We’re facing a lot of change right now and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I envision the “Seattle art scene” expanding further into Washington state, particularly as folks discover the amazing art scenes growing in various corners of the state and find homes, both physical and artistic, in those areas.

What are you looking forward to?
I’m usually pretty excited about happy hour, personally, and that is certainly the case today! Professionally, I’m really excited to work more deeply with some of our partner organizations in 2018 - Washington is full of amazing groups that support artists of all backgrounds, geographies, and perspectives and we are lucky to work directly with many of them through our programming.

What advice do you give artists who are giving up on applying for funding?
I have have applied for funding in the past, as an individual and for a collective, and I never got any of the funding. It always feels like a punch in the gut. Being at AT is an amazing opportunity to change the narrative and that experience for applying artists. You didn’t get a grant? That’s okay. How can we work together to make your next application even better?

Katy Hannigan is leading two workshops next month. Don’t miss the chance to learn about Crafting Your Elevator Speech in Vashon on November 4 and Artist Statements in Auburn November 8!

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Aaron Jin is the Artist Trust communications intern. He was an Intiman Emerging Artist in 2016 and loves to think about his Facebook statuses. He will join artEquity’s national cohort after attending their facilitator training this fall. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.