Ryan Nourai

Ryan Nourai had an idea to fund struggling artists through the Teton Artlab, where he is the outreach coordinator.

The paradigm of the starving artist exists for a reason.

Even for an established artist, it can be hard to always make ends meet in a career where money comes in fits, and the market fluctuates based on how much expendable income is available in a community.

The COVID-19 crisis has slowed art acquisition all over the world as buyers hunker down for the impending depths of what may become the next economic recession.

But art is an important life-affirming form of human expression in dark times.

“We need you to show us how to morph fear into novel & inspiring creation. Something we are all capable of doing,” Travis Walker, founder of the Teton Artlab, wrote in an email to local nonprofits.

With this purpose in mind, Teton Artlab has created a fund that they are calling the “creativity cache,” which will be available to local artists that want to continue making art but have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

It’s sort of like a need-based fellowship.

“It’s really a work program,"Ryan Nourai, the outreach coordinator at the Artlab said. "Can you agree to be producing pieces and working, and in exchange we'll give to you what we typically give to a non-visiting artist?”

Nourai said that the ideal candidate is someone who might also be eligible for financial relief from One22 or unemployment. The Artlab wants to pay them to do the job of being a working artist in the local community.

For the time being, the money that is going toward the fund is coming from the resources that would normally be used to pay visiting artists in residence.

“We’re committing to not having visiting resident artists in the foreseeable future,” Nourai said.

As of now the Artlab’s studio space can only accommodate one or two artists because of social distancing guidelines. The organization is looking for more studio space to accommodate artists who receive funding and don’t have their own space.

To apply for the “Creativity Cache,” artists must respond to the following questions in an email to info@tetonartlab.com

1 - Has your employment changed in the past three weeks?

2 - Has your employment changed as a result of the onset of COVID-19?

3 - Do you declare “dependents” / supply your family with an income?

4 - Are you represented by an (art) gallery?

5 - Have you sought economic relief from another organization only to not meet their criteria?

6 - Do you have a studio/workspace you can utilize in the next 90 days?

Contact Gabe Allen at 732-7062 or entertainment@jhnewsandguide.com.

Scene Editor Gabe Allen fell in love with the Tetons after spending a season guiding backpacking trips in Jackson Hole. When he is not working, he can be found rock climbing, backcountry skiing or playing music with his aspiring psychedelic pop outfit.

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