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  • Writer's pictureTILA Studios

The Road To Art Basel: Our Journey Begins Here

TILA Studios is proud to announce that we’re heading to Art Basel and bringing a group of amazing Atlanta Black Women Artists along with us for the chance to further build and amplify their careers as artists.

We are so excited to launch this opportunity. To countdown the days until we depart for Miami, we will be hosting a series of events in support of our trek.

We kicked off #RoadtoArtBasel with our first activation, Portfolios and Pedis at IWI Fresh. We partnered with Founder and resident “Skincare Chef” Yolanda Owens who provided a fitting outdoor space for us to further map out our dreams and goals using our expressive talents.

TILA selected an incredible panel of Atlanta Art Industry experts to share knowledge on opportunities and resources provided by the city: Erika Smith with Invest Atlanta, Daricia Mia DeMarr with the Atlanta Airport and Kia Jackson Rodgers with the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Not to mention, we also delved into making a living as a creative.

Our talk was moderated by Grace Gardner, Curator at TILA Studios.

If you’re a black woman artist trying to make it in Atlanta, they offered up these gems.

First and foremost, the city actually gives out grants for commissioned artwork through Rodgers’ office. Among the five total awards,  there are two for individuals: the Grants to Artist Projects and Awards to Emerging Artists. The rules make it clear that you have to be a city of Atlanta resident. And priority is given to individuals for the emerging artist award if they’re 35 years of age or younger or have less than 5 years of experience.

Second, there are a number of arts community orgs for you to take advantage of. Two mentioned were Living Walls and WonderRoot. Living Walls gives out the Laura Patricia Calle Grant and WonderRoot has the Hughley Artist Fellowship. The former is open to anyone in the arts sphere (career artists, students, curators or curatorial teams) 18 years or older who also resides in the metro Atlanta area and the latter is a professional development program for artists at pivotal stages in their careers.

While having the support of the city or community orgs is ideal, DeMarr mentioned also creating your own way of displaying and presenting your art. With a group of artists you know, host your own art show out of a space that is easily accessible to you.

Further to that point, you can’t honestly rely on grants and awards alone. You have to think strategically if you want to treat what you do as your main or secondary source of income.

DeMarr made a very pivotal statement in this regard:

“Diversify your practice to make sense to your pockets.”

DeMarr said that as an artist, you’re always creating. But do you want to create work that sells or not? While a difficult question to tackle in the art space, it’s up to you to decide how you want to see your life as an artist and where you want it to take you.

Smith was very supportive of artists recognizing the true business potential. “It’s really important for artists to, first, recognize that they are a business and they are a brand and to be creative and strategic about connecting their art and their brand to other movements in the city,” she said. For example, part of the city’s efforts to attract outsiders for job opportunities and business headquarters include counting on artists to beautify buildings and such.

After the panel, there was more!

The women eagerly waited to get exclusive one on one time with Shanequa Gay, artist; Sheila Pree Bright, artist and photographer; and Lauren Jackson Harris, Gallery Manager of Zucot Gallery, for portfolio reviews. These women are award winners and groundbreakers in their specialities. Not only was feedback received, but cards were exchanged and connections made!

TILA Studios has built a platform and space around educating and enlightening black women artists. The arts incubator, co-working, and gallery space serve Black Women Artists and Creatives in the Metro Atlanta area. With an emphasis on community and sisterhood, TILA believes in expanding the possibilities for these women to be successful in their practice.

This is our journey and we want you to be a part of it! You can do so in two ways.

Our on-site activations will be accepting donations or you can also contribute online. They will go directly towards helping these women get to Miami and transcend their careers!

Next stop…We took over The Artist Village at ONE Musicfest on Saturday September 8th!

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