Introducing | New NYFA Board Member: Tiana Webb Evans
“First and foremost, stay true to your vision. Audiences are excited by a unique voice or perspective.”
Last week, The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) brought you an interview with new NYFA board member Howard Pyle. This week, we’re pleased to introduce another of NYFA’s newest board members, Tiana Webb Evans.
Webb Evans is founder and managing director of ESP Group, a public relations agency specializing in the strategic promotion of agents of culture with international clients spanning across the art, architecture, interior, and industrial design industries. Webb Evans’ experience includes branding, communications, strategic and event planning, and business development. Before launching ESP Group in 2014, Webb Evans served as Communications Director at Phillips Auctioneers; Vice President of the Hospitality and Real Estate group at Nadine Johnson & Associates; and Business Director of Studio Sofield. She shares her expertise by serving on NYFA’s Board and the boards of Project for Empty Space Gallery and the Female Design Council. Webb Evans is also a member of the Laundromat Project’s National Advisory Board.
NYFA: Why did you decide to join the NYFA board?
Tiana Webb Evans: I have been a member of New York’s creative community for over two decades and have witnessed the impact NYFA has on our industry. Whether through its grant programs, the access to opportunities via its inexhaustible classifieds, or the sharing of expertise through its professional development workshops, NYFA as a service institution plays an undeniably important role in the arts by helping to promote cultural production in New York and beyond.
The opportunity to be part of the stewardship of such an important institution, one that supports some of the greatest thinkers and creators of our time, was an exciting prospect. After meeting NYFA’s passionate executive team and nominating board members, there was no question that NYFA’s board was the right place to be. Although so much work has already been done, I was able to identify where I could add value, which to me is the most important reason for joining any board.
NYFA: What do you hope to bring to NYFA as a board member?
TWE: As a communications professional and an entrepreneur, I am keenly interested in matters of branding, messaging, strategy, and organizational development. NYFA has a vast and varied treasure trove of services that are available to artists. I’m most interested in the dissemination of this information as well as the cultivation and development of NYFA’s users.
NYFA: What advice do you have for emerging artists?
TWE: Most of the emerging artists I know have been on a fast-track to gallery representation or are actively entering the broader conversation through media. When you are just starting out it is easy to feel like an outsider, but the “Art World” is an ecosystem, and although it is a competitive, it also can be a supportive community if you understand how it all works.
First and foremost, stay true to your vision. Audiences are excited by a unique voice or perspective. Be present, go to openings, share your work, and make new friends (aka network), because social activity is at the core of this dynamic community and eventually leads to meeting curators, collectors, dealers, and writers—who are all components of a healthy art biome. Apply for residencies, apply for grants, just apply because you might be surprised by the response. This is part of the job of being an artist.
Take the time use and understand social media because is it a powerful tool where you can control the narrative and develop a supportive audience. Social media is also an avenue that you can use to interact with galleries, institutions, and artists. Being part of a community requires an exchange of support and ideas.
Last but not least, NYFA is a service organization designed to help you guide and grow your career. Please visit or reach out via phone or email, there is always someone available to help answer your questions.
– Interview conducted by Ryan Hudak, Executive Assistant
Image: Tiana Webb Evans, Courtesy of Tiana Webb Evans