The Art Biz ep 118: Advocating for Artists in Their Communities with Louise Martorano

You are not alone.

It may seem like you are at times because you do so much work by yourself in the studio, but the art ecosystem is enormous. And you are not alone.

RedLine artist resident and alumni exhibition Chromatic Cogitations | on Art Biz Success
RedLine’s 2021-2022 Artist Resident Artist & Alumni exhibition Chromatic Cogitations: Rhythm Reboot. Image courtesy of Wes Magyar.

There are so many good people who are advocating on behalf of and supporting artists in their businesses and careers. I want you to know about these resources so that you can tap into them. They’re waiting for you.

My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is Louise Martorano, the Executive Director at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver, Colorado.

RedLine is a nonprofit whose mission is to foster “education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change.” In many ways, RedLine behaves like a traditional arts council. But they’re far from it.

Louise and I discuss their artist-in-residence program, affordable studio space, and how they collaborate with other art organizations in the U.S. and beyond.

There’s so much to glean from this conversation, but I encourage you to pay close attention near the end when Louise talks about the importance of auditing your relationships.

A quick note before you dive in.

While RedLine very much supports the local community of artists in Denver, there are similar organizations dotted around the U.S. and the rest of the globe. You need to know about the work that they’re doing. I hope this episode piques your interest enough to start your search.

resident artist RedLine Ana Maria Hernando working in studio with textile pieces | on Art Biz Success
Current Resident Resource Artist Ana María Hernando working in her studio at RedLine. Photo courtesy of RedLine Contemporary Art Center.

Highlights

  • The history and mission of RedLine Contemporary Art Center. (1:45)
  • The local and global need for artist career support. (7:46)
  • Visual arts coalitions fill in the gaps of an artist’s career. (11:23)
  • The staff, budget, and $22 million re-granting programs at RedLine. (19:15)
  • Details on residencies, applications, and juried interviews. (25:18)
  • Open studio doors increase opportunities for artists. (32:03)
  • Commission opportunities, stipends, and other program benefits. (33:58)
  • How to find artist support programs in your community. (37:19)
  • Group meetings and other expectations of resident artists. (41:01)
  • Auditing relationships and leveraging your community. (45:45)
RedLine Contemporary art education coordinator with students school | on Art Biz Success
RedLine’s Art Education Coordinator Shaunie Berry engaging with art students at a local Five Points school. Photo courtesy of RedLine Contemporary Art Center.

Mentioned

Adri Norris speaks at exhibition reception RedLine Contemporary | on Art Biz Success
Artist Adri Norris speaking at the opening reception for Chromatic Cogitations: Rhythm Reboot exhibition. Photo by James Rowe with Snap Shots Photography. [Listen to my episode with Adri]

Louise Martorano Quotes

  • “Artists are really expected to be all the departments in their career.”
  • “Artists’ careers can live and die on the relationships they build and the opportunities they have.”
  • “We’re trying to link arms with each other in Colorado to see if we can create a more seamless journey for artists as they gain traction and opportunity in their careers.”
  • “Talking about your work is like exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the more refined your language is.”
  • “Artists need to reevaluate who they know and who they’re connected to and see how they can use those arteries of opportunity.”

About My GuestLouise Martorano stands with arms crossed in artist studio | on Art Biz Success

Louise Martorano is the Executive Director of RedLine, a non-profit contemporary art center and residency located in Denver, Colorado. RedLine's mission is to foster education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change. Under Martorano’s leadership, RedLine has received the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2014 and 2015), the Greenway Foundation’s “Partner in Change” award, has been acknowledged by Denver Public Schools for excellence in community engagement, and has presented and organized over 100 exhibitions over the past 10 years.

Martorano holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.H. from the University of Colorado, Denver with a focus in Contemporary Art History & Music. In 2017, she was awarded a Livingston Fellowship from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for promising nonprofit leaders who hold significant leadership roles in Colorado.

Follow RedLine on Instagram: @redlinedenver

Follow Louise on Instagram: @lmartorano

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3 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep 118: Advocating for Artists in Their Communities with Louise Martorano”

  1. Thank you for this conversation. I enjoyed it immensely because it provided insight into how much support is available in my own community. When she said “a place to land” – that resonated with me. No matter what point you are in your artist career, that is what we all need. Thank you.

  2. This is an exceptional episode. It’s inspiring for artists to know this kind of support exists, and it’s encouraging to set out and ask for it.
    This informed me greatly about what “linking arm in arm” support can be.
    I am enjoying an extremely supportive 1yr. artist in residency with an interiors firm right now. I’ve shared some of these highlights with them too!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Kelly: Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that your residency is going well. I hope to hear more about it.

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