Artadia Celebrates 20 Years of Supporting Artists

Simone Sutnick

web Summer_Wheat_Biting_Nails_Courtesy_of_the_artist_and_Shulamit_Nazarian_Los_Angeles
Summer Wheat's Biting Nails. Courtesy of the artist and Shulamit Nazarian Los Angeles.

For Artadia, access is the name of the game. This year, the organization is celebrating 20 years of supporting artists, which has taken shape in the opportunities it creates for those artists to connect with the commercial art world, fairs, institutions and curators. “My ability to be here is entirely related to getting grants,” explains artist and filmmaker Terence Nance. “Being in that process of making artwork and being able to be supported by institutions like Artadia is super important for people like me to get to the place where we have the capacity to make stuff that is directly representative of what we want to do, and is only about that.”

Executive Director Carolyn Ramo emphasizes how this endeavor to seek out artists for Artadia to engage with functions as an important tool for expanding the horizons of the cultural climate: “Our mission has never been more transformational or imperative as artistic voices become a vital reflection of our culture and the opportunities for artists to flourish in their cities become more challenging.”

Artadia’s impact goes beyond grants—over the course of its two-decade life, the weight of awardee status has only increased in the art world and market as well as for artists themselves. “It is a very powerful feeling of affirmation to receive the Artadia Award; to know that even outside my close community, a national organization sees and cares for what I am making and thinking about,” describes Hadi Fallahpisheh. “The fact that it is unrestricted solidifies that faith in me and my work. In so many ways, this grant has reassured trust in myself, my future, and the future of those around me.”

Hadi Fallahpisheh’s America. Courtesy of the artist.

With a diverse group of artists and a board of curators from around the country, awardees are brought into an invested community of creatives that seek to build relationships within and beyond that network. Studio visits with curators and collectors become regular occurrences. Partnerships have even come about between awardees, as exemplified by Eamon Ore-Giron and Julio Cesar Morales, who formed the collaborative Los Jaichakers. As Summer Wheat puts it, “The Artadia Award is not just a piece of paper, but rather an invitation to join this amazing community of people and forge meaningful relationships.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Artadia partnered with Artsy and Phillips for two auctions benefiting the organization’s mission. The Artsy silent auction features works by 37 Artadia Awardees from across the country, including Trevor Paglen, Patricia Treib, Rocio Rodriguez, Amy Blakemore and Sadie Barnette. With a range of price points leaning towards more accessibility, the silent auction is an avenue for new collectors to  discover work.

The capsule auction for Phillips’s Contemporary Afternoon Session features 15 lots by notable artists like Roe Ethridge, Sarah Crowner, Shara Hughes, Angel Otero, Jonas Wood and Caitlin Keogh, who created a new work specifically for the auction. “Phillips has a fantastic team and the works we received are right in line with their strengths,” says Ramo. “They have wonderfully recognized the importance of our mission and we are thankful to this platform to raise the crucial funds we will provide to artists.”  

The future is bright for Artadia. When asked what it might look like as this milestone arrives, Ramo emphasizes the dedication to Artadia’s core mission with an eye on expansion: “More support for artists. More funds for deserving artist in our existing cities. We are considering more cities to expand our Artadia Award program. Expansion of our new fellowship program that supports immigrant artists. We’d love to work more closely with other grant makers and foundations, as we do find that provides even more support for artists when we work together. Our partnership with the Marciano Art Foundation for a $25,000 grant for an LA based-artist is an example of what we’d like to do more and has a tremendous impact.” There’s no doubt that Artadia’s sensitivity to artists with potential to shape the future will lead us to great places.