Photo credit: Ann Borja

Welcome to another exciting Art of Hustle podcast episode! This time around, we hear from Olivia Malabuyo Tablante, Grants Administrative Manager for The Gerbode Foundation. From writer and comedic performer to arts administrator, she knows her business and gives us a view from both sides of the fence. Olivia shares her indispensable insights about:

  • Applying For Grants
  • Defining Yourself As an Artist
  • Making the Leap from Artist to Arts Administrator
  • Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose

Organizations mentioned in this episode:

Artists mentioned in this episode:

Blog posts mentioned in this episode:

Download this from iTunes now for free! Please rate the series and leave a comment to join in the conversation. Thanks!



Anthem: Hello everyone and welcome. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Olivia Malabuyo Tablante, and here is her bio: she is currently the Administrative Manager at the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation where she also manages the arts commissioning awards program in partnership with William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Prior to joining as Gerbode Foundation’s Program Assistant in 2006, Olivia had served as Los Cenzontles Mexican Art Center’s Administrative Manager and the Production Manager for its PBS series Cultures of Mexico in California, from 2004 to 2006. She was also a Managing Director of San Francisco’s black box theater, Bindlestiff Studio, and worked over five years with tenants and owners, development corporation in senior and affordable housing development. Olivia has also been a video instructor for San Francisco’s Oasis for Girls and China Town’s Beacon Center, and a performer with comedy troupe Tongue in a Mood. Olivia, thank you for being here and welcome.

Olivia: Thank you Anthem, and thank you to all you listening to the program, today, tonight, this evening.

Anthem: Wherever in the world you are. Maybe we can begin with hearing more about your current position. For the folks who are new to what Gerbode Foundation is all about and what you do there, maybe you can hip us to that chunk of philanthropy and clue us into what’s happening over there.

“I’m In Philanthropy”

Olivia: Sure. You know, when I get I asked what I do, I know that by answering “I’m in philanthropy”, it’s just kind of like a bunch of question marks that bubble up above someone’s head most of the time. And what it is that I do is I work at a really small family foundation based in San Francisco. The funds are really from a family that is rooted in Hawaii, so in terms of our areas, we fund in San Francisco and Hawaii. And it’s easy to go to our website and find out a little bit more about the foundation but I think for this program I can talk specifically about the program that I manage, which is our special awards program. Started in 1987 and it really was founded because in the ’80s while there was the hotel tax fund in San Francisco to fund organizations that were presenting arts to tourists and people visiting California, I mean really San Francisco specific organizations. Folks in the 80s were really trying to address the issue for artists who were trying to support themselves and there really wasn’t a lot of funds available in the 80s where the funds were going directly in the pocket of the artists. And so this program was started to address that need because this funds organizations that are going to present an artist’s work. And so now that we’re partnered with the Hewlett Foundation the grants have been offered every year and it rotates in dance, theater and music. And so that’s kind of the summary of that program.

Anthem: And what would be some artists that you funded in recent years that some people in my audience might be familiar with?

Olivia: So the first one that comes to mind is actually Erika Chong Shuch who received our 2006 emerging playwright round, no excuse me sorry. She received our 2005 emerging chorographer round. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Gerbode and Hewlett did a specific initiative to put a call out for these commission grounds. They’re $50,000 grounds. Half goes to the organization, half goes directly to the artist. And for those three years we did a specific initiative for emerging artists. And that was defined really by being 35 or under and having less public performance pieces that have gone up to stage. And so Erika was a winner of the 2005 round. And her show was presented by Intersection for the Arts. Marc Bamuthi Joseph has also been a recipient of this special awards program who is now just named the Director of Arts at Yerba Buena Center. Sean San Jose of Intersection for the Arts has also received this award to work as a playwright. So those are some artists that have received this award. Bigger names and extremely established artists have been Alonzo King who has his own LINES Ballet Company and Joanna Haigood, those are all past recipients as well.

How does one define “emerging artist”?

Anthem: Fantastic and I would love to find out more about what you began to talk about which is how does one define emerging artists? And the reason I bring it up is having attended just a few theater conferences, there seems to be a sense from what I’ve gathered that emerging artists can last well beyond 35 and that you’re not even considered a veteran in the theater field anyways until you’re maybe 60. And so it’s just interesting to hear that according to your guidelines are 35 and under. So what constitutes an emerging artist?

Olivia: You know I came in to Gerbode in 2006, so it was already in the second year of this emerging initiative and I kind of asked the same questions too. It’s like well what’s really emerging because if they happen to be 36 and I remember an interested artist wanting to apply who literally was turning 36 the week after our deadline. And I had to confer and actually push the guidelines. “Unfortunately you will be ineligible to apply because the guideline is and because we were going with this strict age requirement of 35 and under.” So that was part of this idea of what emerging was. I mean we learned some things after that and found out that what happens to someone like a mid-career artist who really has done some significant work in their craft, dance, theater, writing, but haven’t received the accolades and the money, like someone like Alonzo or Joanna. And so really what I see with emerging is the folks that are unable to really compete for funding at the same scale that some of these more established artists are. So I think we have a hard time like in the funding side of trying to define all of these terms in the field and sometimes it’s really from philanthropy, from the foundations that are kind of creating these terms. But from what I’m seeing emerging is really not an age specific, you know there really isn’t a specific age that’s attached to that. I think it’s really about someone who is still discovering their art form, still defining their art form, and trying to match a way to support that art that they’re making but haven’t really received much for the art that they’re making but they continue to do their work. That to me is generally emerging, so most of the artists that we know and that we are maybe emerging forever because we’re thinking about emerging in terms of dollars. I think that’s really one definition that we kind of had that lens when we think about someone whose established, that’s really like, “Oh well what awards have they received? What commissions have they gotten?” So when you think about it in funding terms it’s a lot of artists that are going to stay emerging because there’s so little funding available for individual artists.

Anthem: And that seems to speak to one’s resume, one’s professional history. Okay, so you’re naming like Marc Bamuthi Joseph, like you said recently named I think Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena, Sean San Jose, Erika Chong Shuch. Depending on where an individual is in the whole arts ecology, those people might be considered heavy weights right? And so I guess my question now is if those guys are considered emerging, not having enough experience or enough funding previously, what then would be the qualifying factors that would allow them to pursue a grant opportunity at Gerbode?

Grants at Gerbode: What does it take?

Olivia: So I’ll take Erika specifically because I remember having a conversation with Erika after her premiere happened, I think it was 2007, so it was two years after she had received the award, that 51208 was actually produced at Intersection. And we had a long conversation and she actually revealed that this particular grant opportunity catapulted her. I mean imagine this was 2006 that she had received the award and a lot of what has happened to her as an individual artist but then yet also becoming an arts administrator for her own program at San Francisco’s local Intersection for the Arts. So her program, her kind of way of thinking and teaching has now become a resident program at this organization. But in 2006 she was just establishing herself in that organization as an artist in residence. And so a lot has happened for her in the last six years as well. So I’m sad to see that our grant opportunity at that time emerging, meaning 35 and under, that we are not one repeating that initiative again because I think it’s boundless, like how many artists are really at a point in their career where they’ve been doing their work, they’ve got a following, an audience, they’re working with organizations to help professionalize their work. They have people who are critiquing it and they’re doing something outside of themselves, right? It’s sad for me to say you know a lot of artists that I know and that I admire their work I know would not really even begin to compete at the special awards program at Gerbode and Hewlett because we have such specific guidelines. Like you have to have three public performances of your fully produced piece, so if you’re a chorographer, you have to have produced three complete works at public performances, you know at different venues. Our fund specifically funds California artists so if you’re out of state or you’re even out of the local San Francisco area, some of these artists and names may not be particular but you can link them to artists in your particular state or to your area. We fund only California artists so that’s why the artists that I’m mentioning are mostly in the state of California. But it’s difficult to talk amongst my peers because I know that there’s a certain history that has had to have happened before I will possibly even see an application that includes their name.

Anthem: Let’s talk about that. You mentioned three public produced performances.

Olivia: Yeah right, it’s like really? To be eligible for a grant opportunity, that’ll possibly get $25,000 in your pocket and then $25,000 in the org that’s going to produce you.

Anthem: Right.

Olivia: Right and produce your work.

Anthem: And so what else then in addition to that? What are the other guidelines that someone would need to meet?

Workin’ the Work Samples and Reimaginin’ the Reviews

Olivia: Other guidelines in terms of the artists themselves really good work samples and a lot of it is video samples that are submitted, especially now days, I mean HD cameras, videos cameras are so, I mean they’re on our phones, but when you’re producing, when artists are producing their work, and again we’re only talking about performing artists, right? We’re leaving out a whole other weight of other kinds of artists. We just happen to fund only in specifically performing arts. So work samples are really key and while print and media is diminishing in newspaper form, reviews —

Anthem: Still count.

Olivia: — are so important. And now are reviews from bloggers and online media are just as — they weight just as heavily as someone who is waiting for a review from someone from The Chronicle or from the Seattle Times wherever you’re located. It’s just difficult to even get an art critic to come out to see the work because those departments may not even exist in those print media forms. So now, yeah I think online media bloggers, get those people to come out to your shows and write about it.

Anthem: And does it have to be a reputable blog?

Olivia: You know I think in general it’s important to maybe have one of those, but I think the quality of writing about the work is what’s really important. And I was surprised by that you know because on the other side of this position I’ve been at the arts organizations where we were where I was part of the fundraising team or accidentally the fundraiser. And so now that I’m on this side it’s like oh wow, okay so someone’s article written by a local blogger, because it was written really well was taken very seriously? But no one went to find out about the blogger. You know it was just finding good writers. So I would suggest, for performing artists anyway, or even visual artist and artist who need to be doing and producing other kinds of work and looking to support that, get the people who write really well. If you like their work, have them come out and see your show and write a piece about your work. That’s what’s key.

The collaborating artist: Where do they fit in? Do they even fit in at all?

Anthem: And when you say performing arts, you’re also being pretty specific about genres and categories. And this is a conversation too that seems to be happening amongst certain theater people that make their work in an ensemble fashion, they have a hard time applying at say I’m just a playwright or I’m just a this type of artist or that type of artist when you work very collaboratively which is happening a lot right now. Where do they fit in or do they not?

Olivia: And they don’t. You know when you talk about an ensemble theater I’ve had lengthy conversations with a particular organization. You know one of the writers will call and say, “Well there’s six of us in our troupe and we all write and we all actually do a lot of improv to get to a final product.” Robert Karimi works in that fashion right? He and I have had long conversations because he hasn’t been eligible because he doesn’t define himself as a playwright. And I hope I have permission to talk about conversations I’ve had with Robert Karimi, but his work is really interactive. So I will say one, stepping away from the Gerbode hat. Our particular grant award is really specific. It’s really for individual artists that have arrived at a certain part of their career. But there is new talk; it’s not new for the ensemble theaters. I mean I was part of a comedy troupe and we were an ensemble theater. We all were writers, we were all performers. We all directed at some point, maybe not all directed, we all did every part of the production. We made our costumes. We bought our costumes, put our own money you know, so. Ensemble theaters have a particular list of needs. And I have to say those are finally being addressed like in the foundation world where it’s like what do and how do we fund and support ensemble theaters, because ensemble theaters just simply don’t fit in a lot of grant opportunities because there isn’t a singular artist to name. So there’s different networks now that are networks of ensemble theaters across the nation. And so those folks are able to find out how many ensemble theaters there are across their nation and there are over hundreds of them, right? And they are able to organize and bring their list of needs to the foundation, the philanthropy side of the world. And philanthropy is responding to it.

Anthem: That’s encouraging.

The Multidisciplinarian: Living in Artistic Title Limbo

Olivia: Yeah and then you get individual artists who are also multidisciplinary and are experts in so many different genres that when a grant opportunity is available for a particular discipline like dance, theater and you may not call yourself a playwright. What if you are a literary artist who may or may not write plays, you may or may not write poetry, you may or may not blog and you’ve got all these different kind of outlets of the written form. And so then there’s all these grant opportunities that get passed up too.

Anthem: I think you just described me, so.

Olivia: Oh yeah, yeah I think I know someone like that.

Anthem: Yeah, no I mean that’s always been something that I struggled with when I was trying to think about avenues for my career to take. So with not being able to categorize myself as a particular type of writer or following a particular function or tradition, so it is —

Olivia: Like do you remember a grant opportunity where like, “Oh, but I can’t apply because –” Like was there something like that?

Anthem: There wasn’t one in particular I just never felt like — I always just felt so nomadic that I didn’t know how I would land on any piece of paper related to that process. And so the few things I’ve applied for were just way more open and smaller kinds of funds. Nothing to necessarily pay rent with but I’d be happy in any scenario. But that’s interesting to know and I’m glad to know that the field is changing slowly to accommodate different ways of working and different ways that artist are beginning to self identify these days. So that’s fantastic. In your line of work you might have seen some people like really skyrocket and some people stall out. And I don’t know if you would qualify yourself to be able to answer that kind of question but do you feel like there are certain things that would enable someone to continue moving forward at a pretty good momentum versus not?

Quality vs Quantity

Olivia: Well now for thinking about someone to make a living off of the art that they produce, is that really what you are, what we’re talking about?

Anthem: Yes, I mean I’m looking at an emerging artist who let’s say they get it. They know what’s required of them. They’re like all right, I got to get these shows. They’ve got to get produced. I’ve got to start applying for stuff. I’ve got to get my name out there. I’ve got to get reviews. They’re doing all the things you’re supposed to do and they’re producing good work, let’s not forget that the quality of work is really important.

Olivia: Yeah I didn’t mention that. Quality of work is really important and finding people who will write about that work well is important too. But there’s a blog you had on Art of Hustle, it was a link you had to one of your guest bloggers and I recently just started reading her blog because it’s the “Mama’ Just Let Your Children Be Artist”, right?

Anthem: Yes.

Your Life’s Purpose Then, Now, and What May Come: Give it full-on support

Olivia: And I think about how, my mom will still tell this story of, “You know when you were nine, you know what you said to me? You should be supporting me mom. You should support if I want to be in theater and do musicals. You should be supporting me because you’re my mom and I’m your daughter.” And I think about that and that’s just kind of sums up who I am and who I’ve always been. And I think that for folks who that are listening who are kind of like, “Okay, what is it going to take for me to be an artist?” You know I still feel like I’m an artist even though I work at a foundation, I have a nine to five. Something I will never change from when I used to write poetry and perform poetry and be part of live performances of written work that I used to do, right? This was when I was entering college and I needed a venue to express what it was in life that I was still figuring out. And I think that’s really what art is. It’s a venue in a way to express ourselves and to kind of translate what our experiences have been or at least tell our story. You know whether it’s a book that someone’s written or a play that they’ve written or a performance monologue that an actor or actress has actually put on, you kind of use life experience right to tell, and you want to tell your story. So I think artists are a particular breed of people, which I think I’m part of that breed. But then I think of someone who has a natural talent to be, let’s say, a pianist or a singer and they’re able to get work continuously doing that craft. I wasn’t that kind of artist. You know I wasn’t the kind of writer that anyone was coming to say, “Can I commission you to write a play?” I may have written a one-act piece for the comedy troupe but I wasn’t that kind of artist. I wanted to be and I was around lots of folks who have that inspiration. There was a point in my performing the comedy troop and writing poetry and doing performances and wanting to do all of that work that I realized that shit, I’m not getting any money to pay apartment bills from this. If anything I’m paying out of pocket to make sure I have my costume for that particular piece that we’re doing. And so I thought the next level was at least in the work that I do I can feel that same — is the work that’s employing me, you know when I got hired by Oasis for Girls or Chinatown Beacon Center, it was like can I say that were I work is kind of part of what would tell my story? You know that’s kind what and why I’m even where I’m at now. I was lucky enough to get to where I’m at where I work at a place that actually provides funding to individual artist and so the little tiny influence I may have in just some of the discussions we’re thinking about what our programs are, because I work with senior program officers who dedicate their life into the field and researching what’s needed out there. But I’m really someone who’s experienced it so I can at least talk about it what the needs may really be on the ground.

Anthem: Right. Would it be fair to say that you have a wider impact now on the philanthropy side than you would have if you were on stage? I don’t know if that’s a fair question to ask, but it just makes me curious about, when you think about impact and effecting people, do you feel like this is where your life’s purpose would be more than —

Olivia: Right now?

Anthem: Yeah.

Olivia: Yeah I mean life’s purpose was also in ’95, ’96 when I produced my first one-woman piece that was a piece about my grandmother. Like I felt that that was my calling was to do that as well. And now that I’m at where I’m at now it’s like yeah, I think this part of what I need to do because I have access now. Like, I have this other side access where a lot of the on the ground folks can’t say, “I work at a foundation and we provide funding for artists.” I mean I’m really seeing a different side of this mysterious kind of entity. It’s like damn, how come I can’t get any of this funding and for myself I’m glad that I got to a point where I had chosen to make sure that the work that I have is expressing myself. That it’s still part of how I would express myself if I was still producing art. But I got to a point for myself where reality sunk in. The art that I was wanting to make and performing wasn’t actually paying my bills. So I had to get to a place where I was at least working amongst artists, like when I was working at Bindlestiff Studio and actually producing the art that I believed through making sure the management, the systems were all tight, you know.

The Business of Arts and the Art of Business: Learn As You Go

Anthem: Yeah let’s talk about that, you went from — I mean and I remember the very first show you invited me to I believe was “The Mole”. And that was one of the first times I’d seen you on stage. And a short while later, and by short while later a mean a couple of years later, you were managing this space. And what was that transition like, professional development wise, growing pains wise, and all around from being the person wanting to be on stage to taking care of everybody who wants to be on stage?

Olivia: Yeah you know I think there’s a particular breed of us in the world that are artists that are people that need to express ourselves. And then too, there’s a part of those same people that might be administrators that are able to, like for me it was natural to kind of make sure all our reservations were on top, that we had confirmed everybody on that list, that we knew exactly where our numbers were for our box office at the end of each night. There was a kind of business side to all of this really fun, energizing, really expressive thing we were doing. There was a few of us who at the end of the night after having a lot of fun performing would go, “Okay, did we cash in? Did we count what our box should be and does it balance out?” And so it started there. So I felt like I was the box office manager and I always joked at that time that I went from being box office manager to the accidental managing director. You know it was all volunteer. No one was getting paid to be a performer, to help run this space but I just had a natural kind of want to help run and make this place run like a business. You know there was a business sense that I think some of us artists have. Some artist really are naturally artist and should not be running the business side of their work, straight up. And then some of us just have a natural talent to be an artist administrator, but we happen to be artists as well.

Anthem: Yeah.

Olivia: I think that alone, there’s listeners out there going, “Yeah I’m that one. Or that’s not me.” But for those of you that are like, “Yeah I’m that one,” if you just happen to be someone that kind of makes things happen, that’s who I was and I decided to take the opportunity when the folks that were volunteering ahead of us were like, “We’re tired. We don’t want to do this anymore.” It was like, “I’ll take it on. Sure I’ll take it on. I did box office really well, why can’t I figure out the rest really well?” And then you learn as you go.

Anthem: Yeah and that’s totally sensible. And it’s something that I’ve learned, definitely over the years to be super grateful for is when those people who have that talent to be more business minded are around the art because they’re very seldom appreciated for their full talent in my opinion. A lot of times when a show goes really well, you want to thank the director, you want to thank the actor, and then no one really realizes that the executive team and the managing team, they make it happen. They realize it from concept to completion and so there’s something to be celebrated for the folks that really hold it all up so that’s awesome. And going back to your point about certain artists who don’t have those skills shouldn’t be running things, I can see that where that would be a total danger. But I think more than anything, it would be dangerous when you don’t realize the limitation of your skill. And in general I would encourage artist to learn those skills, not to take them on before they’re ready but definitely I think every artist should have a business sense about themselves so that they could get to the point like we talked about earlier to apply for bigger money, you can’t not have that business savvy I don’t think. You can’t be all artist and not have business savvy to be able to apply for bigger and bigger money.

A Key to Living Everyday Life

Olivia: Yeah you know I think that’s why your blog kind of is the equal sign to our conversation and many conversations we will have and have had offline is where art meets entrepreneurship. I think there’s a specific kind of work and organizations that we run or even those of us who are artists at heart and who find expression is just a key to living everyday life, might be a software engineer, might be working and creating online games. But I think there’s a certain kind of work ethic that artists who are trying to make it need to have or need to find that business partner that’s going to think about that side. I think it’s important for artists to recognize when their craft is developing and they’re the ones who have the vision. And if you’re not that person to make it happen, find that person who will work with you and just do the business side because I had to be okay with, I literally had to kind of put the Olivia, the performer Olivia, the writer, the Olivia you who told her mom at nine years old she should support me because I really wanted to do musical theater. I never made it to the cast of Glee but I’m happy I got to a point for myself when I had to say it’s going to be okay for me if I don’t do the form of art that I have enjoyed for some time. I made a decision. I made a decision to take that kind of unrecognized role so that I could be part of helping artists do their work and have that experience. I felt that I had gotten some kind of that experience and I wanted to see others experience it too. And so I decided that there’s a lot of artists, but there’s not a lot of artist administrators. So I decided to join the breed of people who are artist administrators —

Anthem: Right, we’re all on the same side at the end —

Olivia: — the business side.

Anthem: — of it all.

Olivia: Yeah, the business side.

Anthem: We’re all pushing the art forward. And I feel like I came to a similar conclusion in my own journey that obviously I’ll just be an artist forever in some capacity but there was something about recognizing a gap in professional development with artist particularly when it comes to marketing and self promotion that a lot of people just didn’t have that I saw was a total detriment to their ability to advance and I feel super fulfilled being in this position and being able to help people out in that capacity. And I’ve been able to stay in the field and I think for me that counts. I’m in the arts field. I am practicing my art in this new way, so yeah I totally agree with that.

Artist to Arts Administrator: Sharing With the Community in a New Way

Olivia: Yeah, so maybe we’re speaking to that artist, you know budding to be an artist administrator. We, Anthem and I had a previous conversation and I left that last, first draft of our interview with going, “Oh man, I think the sum up should be artists, there’s artists and there’s artist administrators.” You know what in reality there really isn’t a lot of funding for individual artists. Its true there isn’t a lot of direct support for individual artists so I hate to end it so glum when we’re talking about artists and trying to make a career out of doing their work.

Anthem: You know but I think the bright side is to say that there are actually when you look at it in this new way, when you recognize how every individual has the capability to adapt that there are so many more avenues than we dreamed of to begin with. You don’t necessarily have to be the star on stage. You can be supporting the star on stage. You could be funding that star on stage. There’s so many things that are equally fulfilling that won’t necessarily get you on a cover of a newspaper, you might miss out on all the ego trips but they’re still super valuable to the field you know?

Olivia: Yeah I feel like that what’s I kind of left off. It was like we ended with this kind of, “Oh well at the end of the day while I’m in funding and I know a little bit more than I did six years ago, that yeah there isn’t a lot of funding for individual artists, I really forgot about where I am today.” It’s like at one point I really wanted to be a published poet. And then at one point I really wanted to be a performing comedian with the troupe and I thought that would be what I wanted to do for the rest of my life but I didn’t realize that all of that was going to inform me getting to Los Cenzontles Mexican Art Center, an Art Organization where I’d be surrounded by Mexican folklore, music and dance but yet be writing grants. And knowing that everything that I had brought with me was one, I had the sensibility of an artist but at the same time I had the college education and the expertise to be able to write these grants to make sure the artists all around me were able to do what they did. And they were teaching classes to elementary and grade school children. So it was just like, “Damn, okay so here I am writing this grant but really this is going to be a change for this whole neighborhood because we’re going to have children ages four through fourteen learning music and dance of possibly their ethnic culture and they wouldn’t be out in the streets of Richmond, California.” So I found work that was just as giving to me, but even more giving to an audience the may not even know who I was. And I got to that point where I was like, “I’m okay with this.” And it just continues to feed me the way doing a one-woman performance piece fed me or the way an audience used to laugh and I could be a part of that, “Oh we made them laugh. They got it. They got that joke.” So it’s all come together really nicely. And most of the folks that I used to be so scared of because they were the same folks I was submitting grant applications to, I’ve come to find out that most of them are artists too. And most of them have run organizations for some time so I felt like oh. So maybe I’m not the most nationally well known poet, but I’m part of —

Anthem: A community.

Olivia: — what funds, some California artist putting on some really great work.

Anthem: Yeah.

Find a job that pays, stay passionate, and enjoy being human

Olivia: So I’m glad that I found that fit. So if you’re an artist that really wants to make a living off being an art, just make sure you have a job that pays you first and it all really comes together. I think if we just stay that passionate person that wants to do the art, it’s going to continue to be your anthem you know.

Anthem: Yeah and be prepared to grow along with your journey.

Olivia: So I’ll take the burn out I’ve been through when I’ve worked at organizations. I’ll take the work that was working with housing development that wasn’t really anything related to the arts, but I was able to do that work and still go to rehearsals at that time. So it all has come together really nicely.

Anthem: That’s great.

Olivia: Yeah.

Anthem: And I think that’s a great moment of inspiration and we can close.

Olivia: Oh we like that.

Anthem: Yeah we do like that. We can close there. Do you have websites, resources that you would recommend for artists to visit?

Olivia: You know and maybe I can speak to a few of those, I’m at that weird cusp where I’m a little bit older than all the folks that I talk to that are up on blogs, so I mean Art of Hustle is definitely one of them. But Blue Avocado is actually a really good one for artist administrators.

Anthem: I love that you mentioned that because I’ve actually been following some of their stuff.

Olivia: Yes so something like Blue Avocado and that’s started by an expert in the non-profit field. So if you’re kind of wondering about how to be an artist administrator or what that really means, I mean really at the end of the day, yes you can have a full time job with a non-profit organization and feel good about the work that you do. So Blue Avocado is definitely like a blog online newsletter that I follow. One thing that I do love to talk about and I don’t have to talk about in the full but I love reading fiction, the book, any book that I can get my hand on when I’m commuting to work is just a great escape because I find that me still kind of having a venue to kind of escape is really important for me.

Anthem: Well that’s awesome. You’re still supporting art by buying paper books.

Olivia: So I may not be a blog reader but I am still a big fan of fiction and story telling and that keeps me inspired. Even though I may not have some direct advice or intellectual meat to address anything that I’m thinking about, but it gives me a chance to escape. So that’s what keeps me going.

Anthem: Yeah and its art so it’s good.

Olivia: Sometimes it’s about vampires.

Anthem: Totally, well we are all human too. We are allowed to like vampires and popular culture things. It doesn’t always have to be all heady and brainy all the time. So thank you for sharing the human element of being in this field. It’s good stuff. Thank you so much Olivia.

Olivia: Thank you Anthem and thank you again to all of you listening. I hope we’ve spoken to at least five folks out there and had some ah ha moments.


As always, THANK YOU. Sometimes, it can feel as if there’s a veil between artists and funders. I hope this podcast episode has helped you get a better understanding of philanthropy and arts administration and how your career may connect with each. I’d love to hear your reaction. Please feel welcome to leave a comment below. If you have colleagues who’d love to listen to this talk, go ahead and use the convenient share buttons below to pass this along!