Sporting a Portland Trail Blazers jersey, artist and Washington State University Vancouver associate professor of fine arts Avantika Bawa is talking about her new solo show at the Portland Art Museum.
The show, which opens Aug. 18, includes almost two dozen drawings of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum where the Blazers won their most recent championship … in 1977.
The drawings are inspired by Bawa’s fascination—her “obsession,” as she says—with the coliseum. “Some people find it extremely boring, but I chose to take this building and put it on a pedestal and worship it like a mad person.”
Douglas Gast has lived all over the place. But in the Tri-Cities, the acclaimed artist and art professor has found a good fit.
“It’s a great community—the perfect size. It’s experiencing growth, something that means possibility,” he said.
Part of that growth is in the local art scene, which is particularly exciting for Gast, who is an associate professor of fine arts at WSU Tri-Cities and administers the bachelor of fine arts and Digital Technology & Culture programs.
Gast is contributing to the scene by taking part Friday in the latest show at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
His own personal artwork aims to “identify and make use of the elements of the media that are fundamental to its definition” and create “physical and conceptual spaces where thought and communication can occur,” according to his artist statement.
His work is designed to be “thought through, instead of being thought of. It calls into question a variety of controversial socio-political situations.”
WSU fine arts alumnus Iris Scott, 34, makes her living finger painting. That might sound like nice work if someone else is paying your bills, but the Brooklyn artist—known for her impressionistic paintings of the natural world in psychedelic colors—is fully self-supporting. She broke $500,000 in revenue last year and will exceed $1 million this year, she says.
Thanks to her artistic talent, entrepreneurial spirit and creative use of social media to market her work, Scott is among a fast-growing group of self-employed professionals who are building annual revenue in solo businesses and partnerships to $ 1 million or more. The number of nonemployer firms—meaning those staffed only by the owners—that generate $1 million to $2.49 million in revenue rose to 36,161 in 2016, up 1.6 percent from 35,584 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is up 35.2% from 26,744 in 2011.
It’s not easy to make a great living off of creative work. So how has Scott managed to make a great living from her art while creating work that has gotten her represented in galleries and covered in publications such as American Art Collector?
She has designed her career on her own terms by putting in the time and effort make the most of her talents on a daily basis, assessing and acting upon the opportunities in front of her in real-time, having the courage to ditch the unwritten rules of the art world and its gatekeepers when they didn’t make sense to her, developing ongoing, two-way communication with her customers—and responding to followers’ suggestions. Here is some detail on the strategies she used, which will be relevant to owners of many types of ultra-lean businesses.
Seven Washington State University faculty members—all in the College of Arts and Sciences—received fellowships through the 2018 Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program, a program funded by the WSU Office of Research.
The program awarded $60,153 to support six projects that focus on faculty professional goals to advance university-wide arts and humanities initiatives. The provisionally approved Center for the Arts and Humanities will host a monthly Fellows Seminar during the 2018-19 academic year to support and promote the projects.
“These grants showcase the range and innovation of creative and humanistic work at WSU,” said Todd Butler, chair of the fellowship review committee. “These faculty are taking on challenging questions and demonstrating the vital contributions the arts and humanities can make to both today’s society and our knowledge of the past.”
The winning faculty are: Carol Siegel, Department of English, WSU Vancouver; Hallie Meredith, Department of Fine Art, WSU Pullman; Sue Peabody, Department of History, WSU Vancouver; Michael Goldsby and Samantha Noll, Department of Philosophy, WSU Pullman; Julia Cassaniti, Department of Anthropology, WSU Pullman; and Troy Bennefield, School of Music, WSU Pullman.
Washington State University Tri-Cities realized an average enrollment growth of 12 percent annually throughout the last four years. As that upward trend continues, so does our expansion of on-campus housing, program development, world-class faculty and specialization in research.
Among the many WSU Tri-Cities faculty accomplishments this year:
Paul Strand, professor of psychology, is one of a team of WSU faculty leading the online implementation of a k-12 truancy prevention program that benefits schools statewide. WSULearning and Performance Research Center houses the online implementation of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students.
Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts and digital technology and culture, developed a scholar residency program at WSU Tri-Cities that welcomes artists, engineers, urban planners and more to campus, where students and community members learn first-hand from their expertise.