Art Insider March 31: Artist interviews on Instagram Live, virtual museum visits, what the stimulus bill means for artists

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Art by Wes Sam-Bruce. Courtesy of Wes Sam-Bruce.

A museum offers a virtual tour. More artists are doing interviews on Instagram. The stimulus bill addresses the arts. Plus, I offer another art project to do at home.

Carla’s “Art in Isolation Happy Hour”


Carla is hosting an “Art in Isolation Happy Hour” three times a week on Instagram Live. Credit: Carla

Aside from KCRW’s Art Insider, I run an art magazine and podcast called Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (Carla). As our art community continues to adapt to social isolation, last week I started an interview series on Carla’s Instagram Live

Each interview is a way to check in with the community in real-time to discuss the challenges each artist is facing, and solutions each one is working towards. 

One woman has dedicated her studio to sewing masks for doctors. Another has been staying in bed and focusing on self-care. Another has been teaching online and learning to garden. 

The interviews are transcribed and posted to our website. Tune in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m. PST. 

Check out last week’s interviews

Virtual walkthroughs of ICA LA’s exhibitions


ICA LA’s virtual walkthrough.Credit: ICA LA. 

As museums and galleries offer digital access to their exhibitions, the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (ICA LA) launched a virtual 360-degree tour of their two exhibitions on Ree Morton and Ann Greene Kelly. Using your computer or smartphone, you can peruse the exhibition, zoom in for details, and learn more.  

Take a virtual tour of the ICA LA exhibitions

What the stimulus bill means for artists and freelancers


Artwork of dollar bills. Credit: Pixabay

The federal government’s new stimulus plan includes roughly $200 million for arts organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts. But critics say this may not be enough. 

Chris Anagnos, Executive Director of the American Association of Museum Directors, says in a Hyperallergic article, “Museums, theaters, performing arts venues, and other arts organizations are collectively major employers. Without additional financial relief, they cannot continue to employ people during this crisis. Just as importantly, these organizations foster vibrant communities — something that we will all need, wherever we are, once the pandemic is finished.”

Many artists freelance or are self-employed. They typically are not eligible for unemployment. Under the new stimulus bill, freelancers can now apply for unemployment, which varies depending on their incomes, and includes an additional $600 per week. 

The bill also enables federally guaranteed loans to small businesses that pledge not to lay off workers. That assistance is available to nonprofits as well as for-profit companies.

Art project: Make a “Banner of Being”


Children at Express Yourself art center. Image courtesy of Wes Sam-Bruce.

This week’s art project was created by artist and educator Wes Sam-Bruce, who has made multi-sensory interactive installations at children’s museums around the U.S. He has been hosting a daily Instagram Live series that includes meditations, jokes, and art projects, all catered around a central theme.

As Sam-Bruce explains in this video, “The language that you use with yourself can turn into reality. The things you use your imagination for can shape who you are.”

Instructions for Wes Sam-Bruce’s “Banner of Being”

  1. On a piece of paper, write three “BE ________” lines that are important to you right now. Example: BE PATIENT, BE ADAPTABLE, BE HOPEFUL (you can also print out a template).
  2. Cut out three pieces of fabric (paper will work too).
  3. Use a pencil to sketch out your “BE ________” words on the fabric/paper.
  4. Paint around the words in a way that makes your “BE ________” come alive! You can use dots, dashes, splatters. You can be abstract, or you can literally draw the things that come to mind with your BE words. The more personal, the better.
  5. Let them dry, and then hang them up on your wall as a reminder of who you want to be.
  6. Do this as many times as you want, and choose new BE words each time. You’ll begin to grow a list of them. 

Check out more resources on Sam-Bruce’s website