The Power of Art-Gifting


An audience member who attended the residency info session I participated in (see my application tips post) sketched me as a way of saying thank you! What a wonderful and heartfelt gesture this person offered in exchange for the tips & tricks the panelists provided. I was so touched that I even framed the sketch.


The benefit of art-gifting feels old school. With so much emphasis on commercial gift giving, our prime responsibility, as artists, is sharing our talent. For instance, my partner's mother, a poet, writes and then gifts poems every holiday season. When I read her poetic presents every winter, I feel closer to her. The same goes for the sketch of me drawn by Melanie Ball. This is her. This is her art. Distance between us shrunk when she handed me, well, me, or a version of me from her artistic point of view. And I just melted inside!


Want to art-gift for someone special? Here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Make their favorite meal with a twist

  • Write a 100-word story about how you met them

  • Build a photo frame for them

  • Pen original lyrics to their favorite song

  • Sketch them!

Sketch by Melanie Ball. Thank you!

This gift is special because 3 years ago I attended the same info session at Hugo House as an audience member. I hadn't attended any residencies, didn't have any fellowships, and hadn't earned grants. I wouldn't have earned my achievements without those panelists sharing their wisdom 3 years ago. Merci!

Panelists speaking at Hugo House. Photo by Joyce Chen, Co-Founder & Editor at The Seventh Wave. Pictured left to right, Gabrielle Bates, Michelle Goodman, Donna Miscolta, me, and Jane Hodges, Founding Director of Mineral School.


Ps. Good luck on those applications, y'all!


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