Remelisa Cullitan (Spokane) is a diverse media visual artist focused on expressing narratives of womanhood. She is biracial and works in ceramic, fiber arts, mixed media sculptures, and paintings. Remelisa’s first solo exhibition in June 2018, “Working With,” discussed art history and the importance of highlighting women artists by citing the name of the artist she borrowed from.
She was a member of Saranac Art Projects, a contemporary artists’ co-op from 2017-2019, and has two public art pieces in Spokane. In 2016, she received her BFA in studio art and her BA in art history from Eastern Washington University.
We interviewed Remelisa about her relationship with risk and with Artist Trust, and her hopes for the future of Washington State artists. Learn more about Remelisa and her work.
How did you first find out about Artist Trust? What was compelling to you about the work of Artist Trust?
During my final year at Eastern Washington University, I had inquired where a budding artist could find art calls and art opportunities. My professor Jenny Hyde gave me a list of places to check out online and ArtistTrust.org was on that list. Out of all the other sites, I stuck with Artist Trust and checked out the website weekly. Alongside the opportunities section, I also looked through their resources and educational tools to help sharpen my practice. I also kept an eye out for workshops that would come to Spokane or they would post online. The nurturing is what keeps me coming back.
What has Artist Trust support meant to you? In addition to funding, how has the AT community been meaningful or beneficial to you, and to other Washington State artists?
As an artist, sometimes I get a bit solitary which is never good for anyone. Humans are social beings and we learn more through others than by ourselves. Having support from Artist Trust meant I am not alone. I am not at it by myself and not only is that comforting but incredibly encouraging. I have seen that reflected back in my art community. That interconnectedness throughout Washington State makes me proud of our community. Just because I am in Spokane, does not mean I or anyone here is at it alone. We are all working towards flooding our region with amazing and thought-provoking art.
This spring, we’re focusing on the role of risk in artistic practice. What has risk meant to you?
It means not knowing the outcome and at times that is terrifying. I am a planner and if I don’t know the outcome or the results are not guaranteed, it can be paralyzing.
What do you need to be able to take risks in your practice?
To have trust and faith in yourself and surround yourself with supportive people.
How does support from Artist Trust and other organizations/communities make risk possible for you?
They are certainly good at presenting risk. But when given the tools to manage, challenges become nothing. One challenge is the idea of what we, as artists, are competing against each other. And that sadly can’t be helped when there are grants or galleries with limited numbers of spaces.
However, it would be great if we instead looked at it as a chance to uplift each other. When I scroll through Artist Trust opportunities page and I see a call for a fiber artist, you better believe I email it to fiber artists I know. When I see public art calls, I send it to my muralist friends.
What are your hopes for the future of artists in Washington State?
I hope we can all stop looking at things as limited slices of pie. We can all have a slice of pie. I want to see more opportunities and people taking chances. I think they feel limited because they aren’t expanding beyond their front door.
What would you say to someone who is considering a gift to Artist Trust?
The Arts are a vital piece of humanity. We are not cold, steel machines. We feel things. The arts express these feelings and allow us to feel.
Washington State artists like Remelisa depend on taking risks, but making the jump requires a strong safety net. That’s where we can make a difference. Join our spring fundraising campaign now and support the future of artists across Washington State.