Meta-Practice

Notes on the Bronx Museum Artists in the Marketplace Program

Some reflections on the 13-week professional development AIM program.  

I gained tangible advice and tools.

For example, in the writing workshop led by Martha Schulman, we workshopped our artists’ statements. Martha shared great, mechanical advice for writing (focus on verbs and nouns, use an inverse pyramid model) and strategies for editing (print it out and cut it up, or highlight different things in different colors). My statement was due for an overhaul; have a look at the result.

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento’s legal and contract workshops were informative, interesting, and immediately useful—they helped me summon the courage to negotiate better terms in a contract. He’s a super engaging speaker and I recommend artists attend his workshops or art law performances anytime you have the chance.

In her funding workshops, Melissa Rachleff gave me great advice for in-kind donations for a project whose budget is only partially funded. She also organized group mock review panels using a criteria-based rating worksheet. It was terrifying yet effective to see proposals from this perspective.

There were other sessions that validated my existing or past practices, and others that my peers found beneficial.

A cohort. Having relocated to NYC in 2010, I wanted to be a part of AIM to gain a sense of community. In this regard, AIM has been a great gift.

This year’s cohort of 36 artists is pretty awesome, for two reasons. It’s diverse: in age, educational background, media, conceptual interests, and geography (recent international transplants, born-and-bred-New Yorkers, artists from across four boroughs, plus Jersey). (It’s also 2/3 women!)

At the same time, everyone is smart and interesting, and their studio practices are advanced.

This combination offers huge potential for rigorous dialogues and cross-pollination.

Though the cohort was split into a Winter and Spring session, we were encouraged to organize visits each other’s studios to get to know each other. This was an opportunity that I didn’t want to let pass, so I started organizing with the help of Maria and Margaret. Everyone was interested and flexible. The dialogues were thoughtful and engaging, and I really hope they continue into the future.

One of the first art world things I did when I moved here was to volunteer at Art in Odd Places. I met and “helped” BROLAB, a collaborative of AIM alumni. Their level of activity is inspiring. I’m eager to see what productive, alternative things can happen among our little group of like-minded, enthusiastic colleagues.

Thanks to Lia Zaloff and Sergio Bessa for their hard work and vision in realizing AIM, and to the Bronx Museum and its funders for making this opportunity possible. And thanks in advance to Hatuey Ramos Fermín and Laura Napier, curators of the Bronx Biennial, for the exhibition to come!

The application for AIM 2015 is now open. The deadline is September 5, 2014. The open call is competitive—good luck!

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