For artists, by an artist…
I start most of my presentations about SBMA with the primary thing that inspired me to move to Philadelphia. I moved to Philly on purpose, to be a part of what I believed was a thriving arts scene. I heard so much great music and artistic expression coming out of Philly, it made me wonder what magic must be in the water! That magic I soon found out, was the dedication and passion of the artists who lived and created in the city. I believe that Philadelphia has one of the nation’s most talented underground arts scenes and citywide arts and culture happenings.
When I moved to Philly in 2003 to attend graduate school at Temple University, I quickly looked for the nearest open mic to perform. Open mic performances turned into feature stints and connections with the creative community which laid the foundation for work on my first music poetry CD: Spoke Inward. I worked during the day as a college prep counselor and on evenings and weekends traveled, performed and used money from my job to pay for studio time and musicians. It was a humbling process and a lot of hard work managing my own career. I was fortunate to have a background in public relations with a bit of graphic design skills, so I could do some things myself. That experience introduced me to the the elements of the business of pursuing my art and connected me to a community of talented artists who were also navigating and managing their creative careers. This made me acutely aware of the challenges I, and my fellow artists faced working to thrive as independent artists.
Mighty Outreach for Mighty Artists…
Artists have a positive impact on our community through their work with with local arts organizations, businesses and non-profits. Not only do artists contribute to the arts landscape via their creative projects and performances, but artists are savvy program managers, passionate teaching artists and business-minded “Artrepreneurs”. Their talent and skills are sought out by both arts- and non-arts based organizations, companies and schools. As the city’s creative landscape grows and shifts, emerging artists continue to seek opportunities to thrive in their creative careers.
In 2012, Small But Mighty Arts received a Knight Arts Challenge award to provide artists with micro-grants to continue or complete a creative goal and serve as catalysts for future work. With this momentum, artists would be more prepared to advance their creative careers, including gaining access to additional funding and professional opportunities.
In addition to funding, artists expressed the need for connections to resources that would help them keep their creative momentum. In 2013, SBMA added programming and outreach focused on connecting artists to resource-based opportunities. In 2014 SBMA piloted our grant program and awarded five local artists with much needed funds to continue or complete creative projects. All of the artists utilized the funds within 2-3 months of being funded and three out of five artists were able to complete their projects within the year.
Resources + Connections = Thriving Artists…
Finding the necessary resources (most financial) and professional connections to make their art happen, can prove to be a daunting effort for emerging and established artists who juggle schedule demands of full- and part-time jobs, families, responsibilities associated with running the business of their art and balancing the financial obligations of living expenses and costs to pursue and produce their art.
The creative scene in Philadelphia is growing and expanding, and for continued growth, it becomes increasingly important to retain our existing creative talent while also attracting new talent to the city. SBMA is committed to connecting artists with existing resources throughout the city and exploring ongoing needs that exist in the artist community.
Our efforts recognize and respond to needs of artists who enhance the arts landscape of the city and are integral to building a stronger creative economy.
We couldn’t do this work without the amazing involvement of our donors, supporters, program partners, volunteers and local artists. If you are interested in partnering with us, we’d love to talk with you about your ideas. If you would like to make a donation, know that your contribution directly supports micro-grants and program outreach to artists living and creating in Philadelphia. SBMA is a fully volunteer-run organization and we have a number of opportunities for you to get involved.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to stay connected! Join our email list to be informed and contact us to inquire about how to participate in our program as an artist or volunteer.