Artist Spotlight: Jordan Chaney
Published: December 2, 2021
Categories: Fall Campaign
From now through December 31st as part of our end-of-year campaign, we’ll be sharing stories from artists from across Washington State about the ways they are taking care of themselves and their communities. We hope you will join us in making a gift in support of artists now! Make a gift at artisttrust.org/donate
Jordan Chaney (he/him)
How did you first find out about Artist Trust? What is your history with Artist Trust?
I first heard about Artist Trust through a friend. I had a children’s book that I wanted to publish and I asked my friend if they knew of anyone that could give me creative and/or legal advice before I began the project.
How has the Artist Trust community been meaningful or beneficial to you?
Anytime I receive an email from Artist Trust, it fills me with hope and inspiration because I’m reminded of the level of support they continually provide artists and the arts community in general. Everything from grant money and legal advice to artist features and project highlights, they really do show up for creatives and our work.
What has the last year and a half been like for you and your artistic practice?
The last year and a half started out incredibly challenging for all of us, for sure. Last February, I had a full calendar full of speaking engagements and workshops all the way from Seattle to New Mexico and then the pandemic canceled every single last one of them. It was alarming. I was at a loss for direction and motivation at first. But with an open calendar and a surplus of free time, I decided to lean into what I do best which is making do with what I have. I wrote a memoir in 2020 and then I got to work with a few friends and youth in my neighborhood to create what we call an “Art Dojo”. An Art Dojo is a space reclaimed and made into a creative space. It’s a passion project of mine and I’ve been able to create 2 of them since the pandemic has begun.
What has inspired you or brought you hope?
I’ve been inspired by community organizers, artists from all walks of life, but mostly the resiliency and light that I witness in our incarcerated youths. Even in their conditions they speak of dreams and possibilities.
How have you taken care of yourself and your community during this time?
The first year of the pandemic, I got a lot of movement in, whether it was hiking, walking, or doing little exercises at home. In this second year, I have been taking care of my spiritual and mental health by being selective of environments that I spend time in, filtering what and how much information/news I consume, and most importantly getting as much rest as possible. With community, I’ve stayed engaged through my art programming with incarcerated youths and through my speaking engagements and workshops.
At a time when there’s so much ongoing trauma and grief, what support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future? How can arts organizations be part of community healing?
Money. Resources. Spaces. Artists from all mediums could always use more of these three things. I believe it is becoming more commonplace for people to pay artists for their time, their talent, and their creative works. Arts Organizations can be a part of community healing by organizing to provide mental health services but on a grander scale, I think it would be a wise idea to create financial and medical safety nets or relief funds for artists. Nobody could have predicted what Covid would do to the gig economy that we artists rely on. The Pandemic exposed the dire need to have financial and mental health resources for artists.
Why is it important to support individual artists right now?
I think it is critical to support artists in these times because artists possess the unique ability to transmute grim times into light. Art saves lives and instills into society unquantifiable resiliency.
Why do you think it’s important for people to support Artist Trust as donors?
It’s important for people to support organizations like Artist Trust because there are so few organizations like Artist Trust that support artists in the numerous ways that they do. Supporting them will support artists like myself, and that support will directly impact the communities that I serve.