The Teacher

For this series, I occupy the persona of The Teacher/Co-Learner, one of the archetypes defined by Jungian scholar, Clifford Mayes. The teacher as Co-learner synthesizes the functions of The Sage and The Novitiate. For my project, I created a series of short documentaries that explored how artists of color in my community are making a living in art. I also created shorts exploring the supportive roles that municipal and non-profit institutions play in the lives of artists. Finally, I also created a class long documentary for use in the Seattle Public School system and in the Seattle Community Colleges system.

I scripted, directed, edited, and distributed these films for free, so that young creatives (Novitiates) can learn about the professional lives of PoC in the community who are thriving our cultural ecology. I took a substantial pay cut to go on sabbatical from September 2018 thru March 2019 to create these films because I very strongly believe that we need to shift the conversation away from disempowering narratives that paint PoC artists as perpetual outsiders, and unsuccessful. These narratives discourage young creatives from entering the field of art production.

Please click on the links below to stream the videos.

Artists of Color in Seattle, documentary shorts:

Humaira Abid, A Life in Art, 8m36s: Features the internationally renowned sculptor and installation artist talk about overcoming challenges and becoming a success right out of school. Abid just won the prestigious $25,000 WA Artists Innovator in Art from Artist Trust in 2019.

Lisa Edge, A Life In Art, 7m49s: The last dedicated journalist covering art in Seattle and the region. All other arts reporting in the city is done by INTERNS or journalists who cover everything, from finances, politics, sports, food, shoes, whatever. Not any specialized training! Can you believe it? Features the arts reporter discuss her trajectory from anchoring the news to writing art reviews and artist features. She specifically talks about where she discovers talent and who she chooses to highlight in features.

Aramis O. Hamer, A Life In Art, 8m03s:  Features the art entrepreneur and 2019 Neddy at Cornish $25,000 award winner discuss how she successfully left a career in nursing after matching her salary through art and the many creative income streams she cultivates. 

Philippe Hyojung Kim, A Life In Art, 7m37s:  Features the young artist during his residency at ReCology discussing how he makes connections to curators and critics, teaches, and motivates himself to make it happen.

Gabriel Marquez, A Life In Art, 7m11s: Features the young graphic designer and public artist/muralist discussing his successful careers and interrupting his studies to work after his daughter was born. He shares about his initial difficulties after moving to Seattle from Texas. Latinx artists still find it hard to make it happen in Seattle, and Marquez recently moved back to Texas with his young family. He is currently painting one mural after another.

Sarah Meranda, A Life in Art, 7m20s: A graduate from Seattle Colleges art programs. Features the young jewelry designer discuss taking classes, juggling bills, and doubling what she makes in her full-time corporate salary through her “side-hustle” art business. Since publishing this video, Sarah has become a full-time jewelry maker and hired more assistants.

George Rodriguez, A Life In Art,6m09s:  Features the well-known ceramicist thriving as a sculptor and teaching artist. From representation at blue-chip art galleries like Foster / White, to commissions from the Mexican Consulate, Rodriguez makes a Life In Art inevitable! He is currently living in Philadelphia.

Resources for artists in Seattle, documentary shorts:

Artist Trust, A Life in Art, 5m40s:  Features Brian McGuigan, AT Programs Director enumerating numerous training opportunities, resources, grants and fellowships open to all artists and steps the organization is taking to prioritize equity.

4Culture, A Life In Art, 9m21s: Features Executive Director Brian T. Carter discussing King County’s funding programs and his own career trajectory from founding curator of NAAM, to Burke Museum and finally to arts administration. Carter is bi-racial, didn’t see himself or his family reflected in the arts growing up, and comes to arts funding as a critic and catalyst for equity.

Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, A Life in Art, 5m23s:Features Director Randy Engstrom discussing the importance of building up the cultural ecology of our communities and the many different programs Seattle funds. He explores how specific programs are helping artists of color break into public art. The office has moved to the new King Street Station and is now more accessible than ever!

CoCA Seattle, A Life in Art, 8m27s: Features Nuura Ibrahim (who was a student at SCC not too long ago) and Judy Rayl discussing the Center on Contemporary Art’s commitment to all artists, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Class-long documentary:

Making It, A Life In Art, 54m40s:  
The narrative arc invites creatives to conceive of a career in the arts through studio visits and interviews. 4Culture’s Executive Director speaks about how broad the field is and invites the young creative to lend their voice to our culture. Participating artists share how they created plans to develop secure incomes in the arts, how they overcame resistance to their work and even personal losses. They share how to deal with rejections and prevail in their careers.