Fall Campaign Spotlight: D.A. Navoti
As part of our end of year fundraising campaign we are sharing interviews with artists from across Washington State. We ask about what changes they are seeing in their work and community since the pandemic, and how we can best support artists now and in the future. Read more and make a gift today!
This week we spoke with artist D.A. Navoti. D.A. is a multidisciplinary storyteller, composer, and writer of the Gila River Indian Community. He is Seattle Rep’s 2022/23 Native-Artist-in-Residence, a 2022 Artist Trust Fellowship awardee, and a 2022 Artist Support Program resident with Jackstraw Cultural Center.
How has moving through the pandemic impacted your work?
The pandemic forced me and other artists to find new pathways to share our work, mostly online, when the public needed art the most: during an era of uncertainty. What I realized is that my art not only matters but it has to matter. I, therefore, had to deepen my artistic vision and widen its scope to serve the public’s needs during a chaotic period.
What’s possible for your work and community now that wasn’t before? What still needs to change?
The pandemic forced me to rise to the occasion by leading by example. In 2021, for instance, I founded and led three virtual reading series. I had never considered virtual readings and community building before, yet stories were what we needed. What still needs to change is access to technology, especially for rural and elderly populations. The pandemic surfaced disparities in technology across generations, communities, and geographic locations.
What did the support from Artist Trust’s Fellowship mean to you?
The Fellowship was a milestone in my artistic career. In my early days as a writer, I had always viewed the Artist Trust Fellowship for artists who “made it.” That is, these artists excelled to a level that seemed lifetimes away. When it was my turn to earn the Fellowship, I was surprised– had I really come this far as an artist? The Fellowship, therefore, humbled me. And nothing recharges my creativity like reflecting on the ups and downs of the past that, ultimately, helped me reach the heights I now scale, all thanks to Artist Trust.
What support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future?
I’ve accessed AT’s YouTube videos many times over the years, especially when I was building my artist identity. Since then, I’ve led artist business classes and I always recommend AT’s YouTube videos and website resources. What artists need, especially emerging talent, is to know these resources are available for them. Therefore, what’s needed in the future is a pathway for artists to access these resources—through word of mouth, marketing ads, social media campaigns, etc. The content already exists. The next step is clearing the pathway for artists to find these resources.
Why is it important to support individual artists right now?
The world is still hurting and healing from the pandemic and individuals recuperate at different levels and speeds. And there are many artists still struggling to meet their basic needs. All while, the cost of living soars to unreachable heights. Simply put: in order to maintain the regional art we love so dearly, the needs of local artists must be accommodated first. Which is why advocating for arts organizations like Artist Trust — whose sole mission is to invest in Washington state artists — is how our communities can support local artists and their work.
We hope you will join us in supporting Washington State artists! To make your tax-deductible donation today, visit artisttrust.org/donate.
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