Business of Art | How to Locate Creative Opportunities Workshops in Spanish Recap
Follow our best practices and strengthen your confidence in accessing the right resources to develop your arts career.
In the month of May, NYFA hosted two free workshops in Spanish led by Sébastien Sanz de Santamaría, co-founder of Rivet. The events provided step-by-step actions and best practices for efficiently finding and activating creative opportunities such as artistic residencies, scholarships, incubators, awards, and programs that provide time, space, and support to develop creative careers.
During the first workshop, artist Gabriela Galván shared success stories, as well as examples of challenges that she has faced from a professional artist’s perspective. Joanna Castro, Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), joined the second workshop, sharing stories about her participation on review panels and the importance of having a clear message. Read further for a Q&A with tips from our expert panelists.
NYFA: How can artists find opportunities?
Sébastien Sanz Santamaría: First through their inner creative circle. Seek out colleagues who have active practices and investigate what kind of professional opportunities they’ve had or received including grants, residencies, and extra training. Follow up by asking them for advice on specific programs or directions to take.
Then, look through available online resources like NYFA, Rivet, cultural councils, newsletters, and directories to find opportunities. You can also search social media hashtags like #opencall, #grants, or #residencies.
NYFA: What should artists keep in mind when applying for opportunities?
SSS: They should ask these four questions: What do I need to advance my creative practice? Does this opportunity (grant, residency, workshop, etc.) provide the resources and means for me to advance my practice? Do I have all the requirements necessary to apply? Have I reviewed all the details of the program entirely?
NYFA: What should artists keep in mind when searching for opportunities?
Gabriela Galván: I think to be successful you must select the right opportunity at the right time. After that, I think perseverance is very important. Normally, one successful experience takes you to the next one, in a process that is connected with your artwork.
Consistency is another aspect that will help you find success in your application process. Any application you submit is connected with your production at that particular moment, so both your application and the work has to be strong and clear. This connection will provide you the best materials to do a great application.
NYFA: What do you look for in an opportunity?
GG: There are many kinds of opportunities and for an artist, it’s important to be creative and open. Opportunities can provide different kind of benefits, time, funds and economic support, space, a network of colleagues and professionals, knowledge, concentration, inspiration, professional development, intellectual development, challenges, and new experiences.
For me, residencies are the best opportunities in which I have managed to be successful. As an artist, I find value in an environment that supports creativity and intellectual and professional growth. I also find inspiration in diverse artistic points of view and culture.
NYFA: How can artists access opportunities?
Joanna Castro: Create community by attending events and have your elevator pitch and business card ready. Be deliberate about your online presence. What do you want people to know about you and your work? Apply for programs. Give yourself plenty of time to review all materials and get someone to be your second set of eyes.
Sébastien Sanz de Santamaría
Sanz de Santamaría is a co-founder of Rivet, a new information platform dedicated to facilitating creative opportunities. Sanz de Santamaría has a decade of experience in the visual arts sector in New York City. In 2009, he co-founded Residency Unlimited, a residency program for visual artists based in Brooklyn, supporting the practices of more than 300 individuals from more than 40 countries across the globe.
Galván is an artist and art educator from Mexico City who is based in New York. Her work centers on creating situations that facilitate collective and individual experiences in exploring the concept of transformation. She works across disciplines—installation, public art, sculpture, video, drawing, design, and performance—with multicultural communities, including the public project Aquatic Random, at Staten Island Ferry Terminal, New York. She’s exhibited in venues including Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain; Zacheta National Gallery, Poland; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Germany; and in her native Mexico at Museo Tamayo, Museo de Arte Moderno, and Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico (in collaboration with the Centre George Pompidou), among others. She was artist-in-residence at Fundacion Casa Wabi, Mexico; OMI International Arts Center, New York; and the International Studio & Curatorial Program of New York. Galván Has received grants from the Fundacion Jumex Arte Contemporáneo and the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA) in the Programa de Residencias Artísticas and the Programa Jóvenes Creadores in Mexico.
Joanna E. Castro
Castro was born in New York City to a Venezuelan dad and an Irish-American mom, and grew-up fully bilingual in Caracas and Washington, D.C. She has a B.A. degree in Spanish and International Studies from Dickinson College. She lived and worked in Spain for seven years, and received her M.A. degree in Arts & Cultural Management from the Universidad Carlos III, Madrid. Castro has been selected to participate in leadership institutes offered by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, and the Hispanic Federation. Currently, she is the Executive Director at the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), an arts service organization that promotes, cultivates, and supports artists and arts organizations in northern Manhattan.
This article is part of the ConEdison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter #105. Subscribe to this free monthly e-mail for artist’s features, opportunities, and events.
– Alicia Ehni, Program Officer at NYFA Learning
Images: Gabriela Galván, Aquatic Random, marine plywood, buoys, boat fabricated by Boston Family Boat Building, exterior paint, recycled fabric, exterior varnish, metal, steel screws, aluminum, and rubber, 2013-2014; Photos: Gabriela Galván