I meet Curtis Bowman several months ago and she shared with me that she was part of an international arts organization that is working to connect artist across the world. As she was explained their tag line, “Artists who work alone create art. Artists who work together create change” I was intrigued. This week Curtis and organizational founder and President Holly Million have been working to make those artist connections. I asked Curtis to share some more info with me about Artists United:
What exactly is Artists United?
Artists United (AU) is an artist led nonprofit organization, headquartered in Oakland, CA, working throughout the United States and in 25 countries worldwide to empower individual artists to create excellent art and to unite all artists to create social change. Artists United seeks to cross all disciplines, demographic lines, national borders and ages to build social cohesion by amplifying the collective voice and power of the worldwide artistic community.
What can local artists expect to gain from affiliation?
Artists United believes in the power of the network. Dayton has an impressive local network that made the events that are happening this week possible. Artist United will connect Dayton artists to Artists United members around the world. We’ll get to see some network interactions at events this week.
Sat, July 20 3-7pm Artists United Networking Event at Tend and Flourish
The Dayton Artists United event kicks off the 16 City Confluence Tour. The event will showcase Dayton artists, connect artists to artists in other Artists United cities and offer an opportunity to meet Artists United Executive Director Holly Million. Event features live music, gallery displays, and the 2019 Artists United Call for artists in all media reveal.
Sun, July 21st 11am-4pm Artists United at Third on Third
Artists United will joins other artists and artisans at the Third on Third Market. Stop by to talk to visiting film maker Holly Million, join Artists United, buy a t-shirt.
Mon, July 22nd 6-7:45pm Artists United Writers Forum at Downtown Dayton Metro Library
Audience Participatory discussion moderated by Furaha Henry-Jones.
Featured Writers: Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, C.L.Pauwels, Joyce Barnes, Fred Marion, M. Ruth Myers, Janet E. Irvin, Trudy Krisher, Meredith Doench, Albino Carrillo, and Tim Waggoner, and via video-conference from Tobago, Adele James.
This event, hosted by Artists United, brings Dayton writers and writers in other Artists United chapters together to discuss all aspects of the writers art, publishing, and promotion. Writers of all skill levels and genres are invited to participate.
These connections aren’t just event specific. The ability to tap the Artists United network is open to anyone who signs up as a member. The AU online platform connects people to share information, to collaborate, and to foster the creative spark. Artists United is here because Dayton’s creative community is vibrant and active. When Artists United hosts events in 15 other cities, Dayton artists will video in, to exchange information. Artists United believes that connecting their 35,000 members to the Dayton Artists community will be of immeasurable benefit to us and to them. I think Artists United has already been a huge gain to us. Planning the July events has strengthened our community.
What’s the goal of the July events?
To be truthful, my primary goal was to show off to the Executive Director of Artists United. When Holly started talking about Artists United 2 years ago, I started promoting Dayton as a place she needed to visit. When she agreed to come, I started looking for ways to show her how great we are. Now, the events have become something bigger, and they are all about the creative community here. I am thrilled that Holly gets to see some of what Dayton has to offer, but I am most thrilled that Dayton is already benefitting from the power of the network. My goal now is to sign up 1000 people to be members of Artists United in the week that Holly is here. The largest number of event driven member recruitment so far is 897. I want us to top that!
What else do you want to tell us?
One of the things I love about Artists United is that it unites people. It’s right there in the name, “united.” My experience planning these events with the creative community in Dayton has been incredibly positive. I reached out to our local artists and arts organizations. Lisa Hanson and Karen Maner at Culture Works, Jes McMillan of the Mosaic Institute, Lisa Grigsby of Film Dayton, and artist Megan Fiely responded right away. They introduced me to people, who introduced me to people. So many people have come onboard to donate space, their time, their expertise, a meal—and everyone so gracious, so excited to engage in dialogue about being an artist, film maker, writer, dancer, musician… across any barrier you name. I have so much gratitude and respect for the arts community in Dayton: Thank-you, all of you.