The Artists At Work program in Chattanooga, TN

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Photo by Kelly L. via Pexels

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Art has the ability to create impactful social change. Locally, it’s been done time + again. Just look at:

Now, the Artists At Work program (AAW) in Chattanooga will use art as a means to engage in climate resilience, while providing artists with meaningful work + pay.

🎨 What is Artists At Work?

A product of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program began in Massachusetts back in 2020. New York-based arts organization The Office piloted a program inspired by the Works Progress Administration, in which local artists were given the opportunity to make a living wage (during a time when it was difficult for many artists to find work) while engaging with a social impact initiative.

Now, the program is making its debut in Chattanooga. For the first time in AAW’s history, all of the artists selected for the program will be working on the same social impact initiativeclimate resilience.

🎨 How does it work?

  • Each artist — all of whom work in different mediumspartners with a local organization to take on the social impact initiative together.
  • The program lasts a year (March 2022-23), but has no hard deadlines. Artists can work on their own timeline + create as many or as few projects as they’d like during that time.
  • ArtsBuild will serve as a “culture hub” for all of the artists — a home base for the artistic community + spot to have meetings.
  • AAW participants will also be given professional development workshops to help them continue their creative careers after the program.

🎨 I need examples

Where? Massachusetts. Who? Naia Kete. What?

Kete worked with young people who had experienced early trauma to co-write songs, which served as a catalyst for healing in a way that clinical approaches were unable to.

Where? Chattanooga. Who? 2$0N The Prince, aka Kourtney Brown. What?

Brown is working with the Trust for Public Land, whose Community Strategies Creative Advisor Daniela Peterson says is excited to bring an artistic perspective to the org’s work. According to Peterson, it is the process of community and artistic engagement in these placemaking projects that is most important — not the product.

🎨 Meet the local artists:

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