Since 1986, Artist Trust is proud to have forged long, meaningful relationships with artists throughout their careers, strengthening Washington State’s creative community together. This fall, we are proud to spotlight just a few of the thousands of artists who have become a vital part of the Artist Trust community—as grant recipients, workshop participants, teachers, mentors and panelists.
After meeting Artist Trust through our partnership with the Make Art Work festival in Twisp, writer and editor Leslee Goodman received a Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) award in 2017 to support her work as an emerging filmmaker on the documentary Twisp: The Power of Community. We caught up with Leslee to hear how funding from Artist Trust has impacted her career, and her experience as an artist working in a rural community.
When you support our fall fund drive before December 31, you ensure that artists like Leslee have what they need to take risks, fuel change, and lead Washington State’s creative community bravely into the future. Give now!
How did you first hear about/get involved with Artist Trust?
Other artists in the Methow Valley told me about Artist Trust and suggested that I keep abreast of funding and other opportunities they make available. Originally I was interested in funding for my online magazine, The MOON; then sought a GAP grant for my documentary, Twisp: The Power of Community.
You’ve connected with Artist Trust in multiple ways as a workshop participant through our partnership with Make Art Work and a grant recipient. What keeps you coming back to Artist Trust?
Artist Trust’s understanding of the challenges that artists face, its connection to grantmakers, and willingness to serve as a hub for bringing makers and supporters of the arts together are invaluable. Living in rural Washington, I’m not able to participate in most of the Seattle-based offerings, but I nevertheless feel part of the Artist Trust community through its collaborations with our local arts organizations like the Confluence Gallery. I never feel isolated or “out of touch,” which is quite remarkable, considering that I live in a valley of fewer than 6,000 full-time residents.
How has Artist Trust impacted your experience as an artist since receiving a GAP award in 2017?
The GAP grant that I received legitimized my project. Artist Trust’s faith in the concept, backed by dollars, transformed my documentary from a dream into a work-in-progress. Their investment also gave me a deadline, forcing a cascade of decisions that gave shape to the project and ensuring that the project would be completed—despite a month-long period of technical difficulties that might have caused me to give up had there not been an interested third-party I didn’t want to disappoint. As a first-time filmmaker, Artist Trust’s endorsement helped me to raise funds from other sponsors. Perhaps most important, though, it inspired me to take myself seriously as a documentary filmmaker.
What specific benefits or drawbacks are there to being a working artist in rural Washington State, and how has Artist Trust supported you in that work?
I love living in rural Washington. The beauty, wide-open spaces, and lower cost of living are the primary reasons we moved here. However, the reason we chose the Methow Valley was because of its engaged creative community. This is one of the major attributes I explore in my film: art’s ability to keep a community alive, encouraging self-expression, cultivating diversity of thought, and stimulating a healthy exchange of ideas. Through its support of individual artists, Artist Trust is definitely a part of that. Even if I hadn’t received a grant myself, the fact that this resource is available to help other artists helps to sustain an artistic community. It is difficult for artists to thrive alone; we thrive in community.
Why do you think folks should support individual artists?
In times of polarization, the arts can succeed where protest, argument, and rhetoric fail. When ideologies have become fixed, the arts can break through the silos, employing humor, pathos, music, or the power of story to foster empathy rather than rigidity. How much did Roots advance white Americans’ understanding of slavery? What role did music play in inspiring the Civil Rights and peace movements? How might Twisp: The Power of Community encourage others to build and sustain community where they live? Imagination is the first step in the work of creation. Artists advance our collective imagining of a world that works for everyone. I hope generous people of means will continue to support them.