Spring Campaign 2022 Featuring: Clyde Ford

Published: May 10, 2022

Categories: Spring Campaign

This Spring, we’re sharing how Washington State artists have charted a new course and embraced change during the pandemic. We spoke with 2021 Grants for Artists’ Progress (GAP) recipient, author of both fiction and nonfiction, and psychotherapist, Clyde Ford, as part of our Spring Fundraising Campaign. Clyde spoke with us about the books he has been working on, his hopes for the future of artists in Washington State, and more.

Our support for artists like Clyde depends on you! Your gift today, in any amount, will help us provide critical support and resources for artists. Donate here now– thank you for your support!

PC: Humanities Washington


Tell us a little about your work/artistic practice.  

I’m an author, and winner of the 2021 Washington State Book Award for my memoir, Think Black (HarperCollins, 2020) about my father, the first Black software engineer. My latest book, Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth (HarperCollins, 2022) charts the many ways, beginning in pre-colonial Africa, that people of African descent helped to create White power and wealth without receiving anything in return. 



What have the last two years been like for you and your artistic practice? How have you and/or your work changed in the pandemic?  

A blessing and a curse. A blessing because writing is such a solo practice, so I took the beginning months of the pandemic, when we were all in lockdown, to finish work on my book Think Black. But also because the climate catastrophe fueled not only the pandemic but also severe weather here in Washington State, my home was flooded in the fall of 2021. 


What are your hopes for the future of artists in Washington State? What would an ideal world look like for artists?  

My hope is that Washington State artists receive the recognition and financial support they need and deserve. In my ideal world, artists of all types are recognized for the tremendous contribution they make to society, not just in terms of entertainment but also in terms of critical thinking skills, intellectual development, and creative expression. 


What did the support from Artist Trust’s Grants for Artists’ Progress (GAP) mean to you? What did you do with the support?  

Support from the GAP program meant recognition of my value as a Washington State literary artist, and also what I bring to the state, and to the arts in general, as an artist of color. Unfortunately, I needed to spend the money on repairs to my home because of the severe flooding. 


How is Artist Trust’s work important to Washington State artists, especially at this moment in history? Why should people support Artist Trust as donors now? 

The pandemic has reduced the exposure of artists to the public, and therefore their opportunities for generating income from public events, whether they are a visual artist, who depends on in-person events like gallery showings to sell their work; a performance artist, who depends on ticket sales from in-person performances; or, a literary artist like me, who depends on in-person events related to my books to boost sales. Some of the inability to have live events can be made up by doing remote events but it’s not the same. In a remote event, an artist does not get the same feeling for their audience, or their readership. I am pleased that so many people recognize the challenge that the pandemic has posed to Washington State artists. I hope Artist Trust will continue to be able to support artists across the state through the generous donations of its sponsors. Art of all type thrills, inspires, and deepens the human experience.