GiveBIG 2020 Artist Spotlight: Johanna Stoberock

Published: May 6, 2020

Categories: Artist Stories | Artists | Featured

GiveBIG continues today! This GiveBIG and #GivingTuesdayNow, we’re sharing stories by artists who are supporting fellow artists during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope these #artistshelpingartists inspire you to join them in standing with WA State artists! 

Today’s story is from 2019 LaSalle Storyteller Award recipient Johanna Stoberock, author of Pigs (Red Hen Press) and City of Ghosts (W.W. Norton), and a COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund donor. Her most recent work Pigs uses a dystopian island as a setting to explore questions about environmental responsibility, group action, and the possibility of innocence – all themes that resonate during our current crisis. 

“Making art at any time is hard. So often it requires making choices that run counter to financial security—leaving full-time employment to dedicate time to creative work; trusting that payment attached to work done now will come through at a future date; living without health benefits; living without a steady paycheck; having faith that the work matters above all else. And we, consumers of art, come to it cheaply: we check a book out of the library and get days of story for free; we pay admission to a performance and, for its duration, receive transportation out of our individual lives; the purchase of a single song allows us to listen to it over and over. Part-time teaching gigs, jobs waiting tables, performances, residencies—so many ways that so many artists have found to support their creative lives have vanished overnight.

I want to support artists now for reasons at least as selfish as they are altruistic: it’s art that is consoling me during this awful time; it’s artists who will make meaning of this awful time when it, finally, is over. Artists need help right now in immediate and pressing ways, and we who can need to give whatever help we are able: the work that artists do is vital to the well-being of us all.”

Join Johanna with a gift in any amount this GiveBIG. Thank you for your support! Donate today