Call for proposals 4

Muse network: building collaborations to amplify diversity in the arts

Briefly introduce yourself.

We are an organization focused on supporting artists through fundraising and digital services. This is a partnership between Ricardo Martinez Herrera, a Mexican sculptor, and Caroline Kamm, a specialist in non-profit development. We address the challenges that artists—particularly those from diverse backgrounds—face when developing their networks and professionalizing their artistic practices.

What is diversity for you and which aspect(s) of it are you most concerned with?

When considering diversity in art, we see a sector that is broken into silos. In the largest silo, we find the traditional networks for funding, creating, and promoting art, which typically support artists from similar backgrounds. It is well understood how these networks exclude outside voices, which in our mind, led to a trend of creating additional silos to support outsider art. These silos may provide new markets for artists outside the Classical European tradition, but they have also marginalized those voices from the mainstream art sector. We aim to stimulate a diversity of thought and experience that runs through the heart of the art sector. We are concerned with intersecting forms of diversity, including but not limited to immigration background, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. We aim for a diversity of perspective that works discursively across artistic traditions, in which artists of all backgrounds can make meaningful contributions to the sector as a whole.

What is the idea, proposal or initiative you wish to propose?

We aim to create a digital platform to support safe and inclusive artist collaborations. The idea for the platform was born from a conversation with a live model and painter, who was finding it difficult to safely pursue new partnerships. As a woman in the art sector, working in a particularly vulnerable position, she often had to limit her work to those already in her network. On the platform, creative professionals would create profiles highlighting their perspectives, mediums, and future topics of interest. The “discovery” feature will be based on shared interests and geographic location, and designed to broaden an artist’s creative network. Crucially for the safety of users, particularly those from vulnerable groups, users who have worked with someone have the ability to recommend them or flag the user for unsafe behavior. Ultimately, the goal is to facilitate collaborations between artists with diverse life experiences, while prioritizing the safety of creatives to pursue their work.