“2020 has taught me a lot about the importance of being in community.”

Published: November 17, 2020

Categories: Fall Campaign | Featured

From now through December 31st as part of our end of year campaign, you’ll hear from Artist Trust staff & board about their work, the lessons they’ve learned this year, what they hope for in 2021, and their vision for a stronger Artist Trust.

Sarah Traver, Director of Traver Gallery and an Artist Trust board member, shared her thoughts with us. Read her interview below and support Artist Trust at artisttrust.org/donate.


What is your role at Artist Trust, and what do you enjoy about it? 

My current role at Artist Trust is as Immediate Past President. It is my 9th year as a board member here; apparently, I can’t get enough! I love the community – the artists, the staff, the board. I love that Artist Trust introduces me to so many diverse artists from around our state, including poets, performance artists, artists working with traditional crafts, and artists working in totally non-traditional ways.

How are you involved in the arts?

My life is centered around the arts here in the Pacific Northwest. I am the director at Traver Gallery and Vetri, both of which are family businesses. So, I quite literally came of age in the gallery and the Seattle art scene. I think of my role in the arts as being like connective tissue. My job is to connect artists to audience and vice versa, and to that end, I see the gallery as a theater for the visual arts. A huge part of my work is to help create a stable system of support for the artists I work with; to sell their work, develop a broad audience, and introduce them to collectors, curators, and the community. Likewise, my work at Artist Trust is all about supporting artists and ensuring that artists in Washington have the resources that they need to thrive.

What has 2020 taught you both personally and professionally? 

I’m not sure I can articulate all the lessons this year has taught me yet. I think there are too many to count. But I know at the core, 2020 has taught me a lot about the importance of being in community. Whether through the trials of running a small business during a pandemic, delving deeply into issues of equity, leadership, and communication at Artist Trust, or going through a personal journey of discovery during the civic unrest this year, I feel that the one constant lesson has been to center community; to listen carefully to each other’s stories, to seek out community collaborators, friends, critics and co-conspirators, and through it all, to learn from one another.

How will you carry those lessons into 2021?

I hope to continue to keep focused on community, and plan to actively work to ensure artists’ voices are part of the community dialog and that their work is visible and accessible.

What excites you about what you’ve learned/the changes Artist Trust has made or will make? 

I am excited about the work we are doing to become a more equitable organization. The staff team at Artist Trust is incredibly smart, capable, and committed. Over the past year, they have each stepped up into essential leadership roles and are working passionately to improve the organization; likewise, I am inspired by my fellow board members’ engagement and commitment to change. The alignment between board and staff and the shared dedication to do this vital equity work makes me excited for the future of Artist Trust.

What is your vision for a stronger Artist Trust? 

I am excited to see Artist Trust reconnect deeply with the artists we serve. I look forward to their voices being central to our work this next year, particularly as we look at leadership roles and structures and examine how we can better serve Washington State artists moving forward.