Poet and educator Brooke Matson is the Director of Programs for Spark Central in Spokane and the recipient of the 2016 Centrum Residency. Brooke received 2016 GAP funding to complete her second collection of poetry, Impossible Things. Read on to learn more about what Artist Trust’s support has meant for her, and power more programming and support for artists statewide here.
What has Artist Trust’s support meant for you, and why is the work that we do to support individual artists like yourself important right now?
When you work full time out of necessity, it is so difficult to find the means and time to produce your work. My writing practice is typically start-stop because of all my obligations, so it was wonderful to dive head-first into production and revision. I am very grateful to the Artist Trust GAP program which enabled me to push myself as a writer. Our time- and production-focused society rewards business (or busy-ness), but seldom rewards those who go deeper into themselves—a process that takes time and focus—in order to explore the creative process and experiment with process. We have to keep giving creatives the time and space to do that important work, as it’s where genius emerges.
What role do artists play in the Spokane community at large? What impact has Artist Trust’s work in Spokane has had on the creative community there and for you personally?
The Artist Trust has had more of a presence in Spokane over the past five years, and the impact shows. From small projects to organized endeavors, the artistic scene here is flourishing and I think is stronger than in big cities. Spokane artists and creators are very supportive, collaborative, and encouraging of one another, and the Artist Trust has added momentum to our growth by offering workshops and office hours where coaching takes place, as well as offering fiscal support for artists who would otherwise be unable to complete their projects. I remember years ago when support for the arts was very difficult to find in Spokane. Now we have a thriving scene for the arts that grows stronger each year with the support of the Artist Trust.
You just got back from Centrum! What was your experience like?
The Centrum Residency was so necessary for me to not only finish my manuscript, but connect to my writing practice and discover the arc in my work that I couldn’t see when I was in such a hurry. To wake up and write without having to worry about work or duties or distractions was something I had never experienced before. It freed something in me as a writer. I wrote with a natural focus I haven’t had since college, and the work surprised me with its intensity. I’m very excited about the body of work I produced.
Visit Brooke’s website to learn more about the work we are supporting at Artist Trust.