Allison maria rodriguez
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist working predominately in video installation and new media. She creates immersive experiential spaces that challenge conventional ways of knowing and understanding the world. Her work focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence.
In 2017, Allison was selected to participate in Assets for Artists’ Matched Savings Program. She attended the flagship financial bootcamp and two business sessions, and additionally received one-on-one career counseling sessions.
“A4A assisted me in thinking about my long term career objectives. Blair really pushed me to try to set goals I could set up a plan to reach, that would grant me access to more goals even further down the line. I can actually honestly say that I have reached almost every one of the goals we set together. For example, I wanted to get a solo show, and now I’ve had three.”
In her first two years after being awarded an Assets for Artists grant, Allison completed 5 residencies, received four grants and one fellowship that launched her into her 6th residency at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, working on their “Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge” project. She is a winner of the 2017 Creative Climate Awards sponsored by The Human Impacts Institute for her video installation “Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Galápagos.”
“Attending these workshops and discussing our particular challenges as artists in a safe space with others facing similar challenges was truly a remarkable experience. Due to the unique nature of the obstacles we face in our profession, it can be difficult to receive advice from family and friends. Meeting other artists facing similar struggles, and witnessing how they each work to build a life around their practices was truly inspiring.”
Tracy Baker-White is a Williamstown-based landscape painter. While continuing her practice as a painter, Baker-White spent twenty years working as a museum educator in California, Texas, and Washington D.C.
Despite this, Baker-White says, “I never really approached my own art making as a business until I got the A4A grant.” She had painted for many years without selling anything, so she simply paid for her materials and costs from her own household budget.
As she developed her own studio practice, she realized that she had to face the realities of paying taxes, the cost of materials, figuring out an inventory system, and how to handle credit card sales. She wanted to sit down and develop a business plan to focus on who her clients were and how to best reach them.
A 2019 A4A grant awardee, in her first six months after the A4A workshops, Tracy saw her cash flow up compared to that time last year, and she is hopeful that her final sales will be up by year’s end. Most important to her, though, is that she has taken steps to run her studio practice in a stricter business manner and that she gained confidence in promoting her business.
“Because of our society’s historic, romantic notions of the starving artist, we are taught that the money side of art is somehow sordid—as though the art will be more pure if it’s made without consideration of profit or cost. …Addressing the financial side of being an artist as a business proposition allows artists to view their own activities through a more realistic lens. Most artists still need support while developing their practice, but they shouldn’t have to be ashamed to treat their sales like any other business.”