News / Press Releases

Artist Trust Names 2011 Creative Catalysts

For Immediate Release:

Artist Trust has honored the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Nancy Alvord and her late husband, Ellsworth C. (Buster) Alvord as recipients for the organization’s inaugural Creative Catalyst Awards in celebration of their steadfast and generous support of Artist Trust and the artists it helps flourish. The 2011 Creative Catalysts were honored at a private ceremony where they were presented with original works of art, commissioned specifically for the donors by two formative Artist Trust grant recipients.

Artist Trust, a Washington State nonprofit organization, has benefited from the generosity, good counsel and friendship of these magnanimous donors for over two decades. Creative Catalysts such as the Alvord family and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation have made it possible for artists across the state to help make our region into the cultural hotspot that it is, while enriching community life with their creative output.

“The generosity of these two great Northwest families exemplifies their vision, leadership and commitment to supporting generative artists. We are so grateful for their thoughtful investment in our community.” —Susan Wagner, President, Artist Trust Board of Directors.

In 1987, the Alvords catapulted Artist Trust into existence with a generous matching gift that became the cornerstone for the creation of its first Fellowships. Every year since then, Artist Trust grant programs have been infused with their contributions.

When establishing their family foundation, Paul Allen and his sister, Jo Lynn Allen, wanted to encourage and foster the creative spirit. Their investments in Artist Trust have consistently been strategic, driving significant initiatives that expanded Artist Trust’s capacity and program innovation such as the Washington Artist Health Insurance Project and the Creative Career Center.

“Individual artists are central to the health and vibrancy of our communities and Artist Trust is truly vital to their success. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is honored to receive the Creative Catalyst Award and to support the essential work of Artist Trust.” —Jim McDonald, Senior Program Officer, Arts and Culture, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

In honor of the recipients, poet Frances McCue composed and read a poem for Nancy Alvord and in memory of Buster Alvord, entitled Giving us Wings. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation were presented with a unique three-dimensional graphical score, created by sound artist and inventor, Trimpin. At the ceremony, Trimpin demonstrated how the score can be scanned by a video camera which sends a digital signal to a smart phone device, which in turn activated the mechanics of a toy piano to perform the composition.

Artist Trust has invested over $9 million dollars in Washington State artists since its founding in 1987. In 2011 alone, Artist Trust awarded a grand total of $284,000 to 85 artists through its five grant programs. In addition to grant making, Artist Trust provides a comprehensive suite of career training, professional development resources and counseling to help artists achieve their career goals.

A public awards ceremony honoring all the 2011 recipients of the Grants for Artist Projects, Arts Innovator Awards, Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Fellowships, and the Conductive Garboil Grant (in partnership with 4Culture), will take place at Fred Wildlife Refuge in Seattle on November 11, 2011.

About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at