Giving Tuesday Artist Spotlights: 2022 Endurance Grant Recipients

Published: November 29, 2022

Categories: Artist Stories | Fall Campaign | Featured | Spotlight



Giving Tuesday is a global day of generosity. This Giving Tuesday we’re sharing stories from some of the 2022 Artist Trust Endurance Grant Recipients 

Through our COVID-19 relief work the last two years, we supported hundreds of artists across the state with emergency funding. As those final dollars were granted, we continued to hear from artists that the need for emergency support is not over and continues to be the community’s biggest need. The Endurance Grants are a direct result of that feedback, representing our continued commitment to support Washington State artists at all stages of their careers. Give today to support this work! 

We spoke with artists and 2022 Endurance Grant Recipients Olivia Evans, Ai-Chun Huang, and Signy Svee 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 below and make your Giving Tuesday gift today! 

Olivia Evans

Olivia Evans is a grant-awarded, multidisciplinary visual artist and producer based in Spokane, WA. Working in video, photography, drawing, film, and beadwork, her work is heavily influenced by motherhood, nature, the subconscious, and personal experiences – intertwining traditional and digital media to create narratives of the self. All these influences echo her eclectic cultural background of growing up as a Black, Italian, and Native woman. She boasts a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art, and a minor in Film, and graduated with the Dean’s Excellence Award. As a producer and social media manager for the Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, an arts non-profit, she continues to elevate marginalized communities in film & art through Social Media posts, workshops, and Documentary Film events. Her work has been featured in several exhibitions, for instance, Spokane Art’s SATURATE, Terrain 12 & 13, INT’L All Media Exhibition 2022, Carl Maxey Center’s Our Stories Our Visions exhibit, The Kress Gallery, Land Acknowledgement exhibition, The Gonzaga Family Haven (Feat. Artist), and as a co-curator at the GU Urban Arts Center for “Home: Imagining the Irrevocable.” She has also been featured on KXLY. Today, she continues to expand her art practice in many facets, such as grant reviewing, grant writing, gallery exhibiting, youth/ adult media projects, and film festival panels. 

How has moving through the pandemic impacted your work? 

I feel like I’ve had a unique journey throughout the pandemic, personally and artistically. In 2020, I became pregnant with my second child (son), and through the pregnancy I found myself too sick to work due to having Hyperemesis gravidarum and high-risk for premature labor (same as my first child, daughter). But on the days I felt semi-okay, I tried my hardest to work on something, usually beading on my loom.

As the threat and stress of COVID impacted my family and friends, and took my mother-in-law too soon, I found myself in a funk I couldn’t get out of until having my second child in January 2021. Once I had him it was like a control switch was initiated, and I was able to “give” myself the permission to create again for my sanity. This made me fight not only to make art, but to keep the creativity flowing to obtain a sense of normality. I persist and continue to make work to this day that I feel is true to who I am, and have been inspired by other mediums, artistic processes, artists and innovators, and opportunities. Overall, the pandemic’s shadow has influenced my way of working on projects by reminding myself what matters most, what art processes matter most to me, and what artwork do people need to see right now that can help them get through at least one day of the crazy new norm.

What did the support from Artist Trust mean to you? 

The support from Artist Trust gave me a moment to breathe in more ways than one. With the support, I have been able to print artwork consistently, buy frames/beading supplies/tools needed, paid for gallery submissions, and a month on my mortgage. Having the assistance to balance my life in this way, while also having time to not stress about money to focus on my family, work, and passions is priceless. I appreciate the support and belief in my goals, beyond words. Thank you!

What support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future? 

Observing artists I’ve interacted with over the years, I have heard many opinions on this subject but it all comes down to the common factor – the ability to have continuous financial sustainability to be able to work on projects to stay present in the “art scene,” and for their sanity. Access to learning tools are also needed, for example, workshops, online or in-person classes, grants for supplies, etc.

Why is it important to support individual artists right now?

As we dive into the, for the most part, unknown future ahead of us, morale among the art community is really important. Although having financial assistance is crucial, so is giving artists support on a spiritual level by making them feel seen. To be able to create, share, and hold conversation in a safe space is what all of us creatives need more than anything, no matter the demographic.

Ai-Chun Huang

Ai-Chun Huang is a digital artist and an animation director roaming around the world between different media such as hand drawing, installation, digital animation, and design. Her artworks focus on life limitations and social expectations from an Asian immigrant woman’s perspective and use metaphors from her Asian cultural icons.

Ai-Chun Huang, Nomad Chaos, 2021, Media/2D animation.

How has moving through the pandemic impacted your work?

Because of the uncertainty under the pandemic, I needed to cancel my exhibition. I also tried to find different media to show my artworks through digital platforms. It really raised the expense of making art. However, looking back these two years, those big changes in time and space gave us a big impact on our physical and mental states, which also transformed into other inspirations and energy to make more artworks. I made a short animation about the story of a long-distance relationship under a pandemic because I want to make some contribution to this historical moment. It is our collective memory about how we fight with COVID-19 and show humans’ resilience. Thanks to my digital media skills, I can still move on with my art project with little changes. I still stay positive to face all kinds of uncertainty and challenges in our life, because life always teaches us something and makes us stronger.

What did the support from Artist Trust mean to you?

I am sincerely grateful for the Artist Trust Endurance Grant putting local artists’ needs in first place, even in this difficult moment. This grant not only physically supports us with money but also presents the key value of art existence in this society. It reminds us of how important it is to have all kinds of artworks enriching our life. This grant can help artists concentrate on their art practice rather than fighting with reality.

Ai-Chun Huang, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN NO.6/7/8, 2018, Media/marker and Acrylic paint on canvas.

What support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future?

I would like to have more social media networks to connect with people, and more collaboration projects with different artists with new-tech skill support. It will help all kinds of artists adjust to different platforms and have new opportunities to share our thoughts in a new way.

Why is it important to support individual artists right now?

Just like Artist Trust’s core value, “We build stronger relationships with artists by respecting their voice, elevating their expertise, and creating systems that positively impact their development and success. We exist because of artists.”

Artists use our artistic language to record human lives and stories, to convey the important value of existence. Artists enrich our world with so many creative looks, and they are so priceless and irreplaceable.

Ai-Chun Huang, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, 2018, Media/2d animation.

Signy Svee

My name is Signy, I am a 33-year-old queer and non-binary artist working in any medium that strikes my fancy. I’m largely self- and community-taught. Over the years I’ve created works of poetic prose, whimsical ink comics about crushes, nature inspired embroidery, and much more. Most recently I have been learning to carve and sculpt wood. I’ve never felt committed to a particular medium and love the opportunity to explore and play with whatever medium I feel inspired by at the time. I love the satisfaction of transforming materials and creating something with my hands, and I think that is innate in all humans. I firmly reject the notion that art must be good, and artists must be talentedI believe all people are intrinsically artistic and all artistic practice is inherently of worth.

How has moving through the pandemic impacted your work?

Moving through the pandemic has greatly impacted my work. In the first year of the pandemic, I became so petrified with fear for humanity that I wasn’t able to make art. Suddenly my silly drawings felt trivial, it seemed like there was no place for them in this greater tragedy. As time progressed, I came to realize that for me, other people’s art was providing solace, a resting place amongst all of the fear and chaos. I had to find a way back to making art, which ultimately led to me delving into a new medium and beginning a different sort of practice with woodworking. I am still exploring and discovering what my ultimate relationship with this medium will look like, but it has been a vital and important process. 

What did the support from Artist Trust mean to you?

The support I received from Artist Trust has been a lifesaver this fall. The money came right at the perfect time, as I ended up having unexpected car troubles, and animal emergencies with my dog. Though I had hoped that this grant money would give me something extra to play with and buy art supplies, instead it kept me from draining my emergency savings and allowed me to take care of these urgent expenses without scrambling for the extra funds. Receiving this financial boost from Artist Trust made me feel seen and valued as an artist living in our society.

What support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future?

I think artists could use a lot more of this sort of funding based on need rather than artistic merit. As an artist, if you aren’t producing work and getting that work viewed and sold, it’s hard to feel you deserve funds set aside for artists. What many people don’t realize is that without financial stability and even flexibility, it can become impossible for many artists to find time, energy, and financial resources to make their art. With more grants available to a wider array of artists, we may get a chance to see a lot of beautiful work which would never come into existence otherwise. In the future I would love to see another round of grants similar to the Endurance Grant, and I think it would be amazing to see non-merit-based fellowships offered. I really wanted to apply for a Fellowship, but I didn’t feel that I was accomplished enough in my art to qualify. To me, this is an obvious catch 22, as I would be much more likely to succeed in my art if I wasn’t always primarily hustling to meet my basic needs.

Why is it important to support individual artists right now?

Living in times as precarious as we are, with an ongoing pandemic looming, and climate crisis quickly accelerating, it could be easy to see art as a frivolous thing that may not feel important to support. Who needs pretty things to look at when masses are struggling to survive floods, fires, and illnesses? But the truth is that even and especially in the darkest times, art breathes life and vitality into our psyches and communities. Artists often promote, support and uplift other important causes. Directly supporting individual artists gives an opportunity to immediately improve that individuals’ circumstances and allows folks with more financial resources to participate in breathing that life back into local, national, and global communities.

We hope you will join us in supporting Washington State artists! To make your tax-deductible donation this Giving Tuesday, visit 

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