Wednesday, December 6, 2023


“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need for vittles.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

When you stop and look, it turns out what we need is a rather short list. We need food and shelter to sustain us, clean water to keep our bodies running strong. We need a bit of air and sunshine, some small companionship to keep our spirits up. We need the beauty of nature and the perspective of art. We need correct information to make good decisions and the presence of mind to know when our plan must change. We need the sense to stay out of the way when there is danger and the courage to step out when the coast is clear. And perhaps above all, we need hope – that tomorrow is a new day and that we will weather whatever it brings.

Sarah Stolar spoke to us shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic set in when she was set to travel to Ireland for residency. She spoke to us again and reports that she was able to go and complete residency but when she was there travel restrictions went into effect. She was unable to complete the research she had planned for her work The Grief Project. Stolar describes Dublin on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day as a ghost town. Now in quarantine, she is diving into drawing and large scale portraits that personify the five stages of grief as party girl women in a fictitious club. Stolar has also begun sewing masks as well as becoming an online teacher. Her mother, Merlene Schain, is an artist with an incredible history. Schain persevered in her art career through the 60s despite the male dominance of the art world at the time, double majoring in painting and ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Schain, her daughter says, refused to take no for answer. Schain suffers from dementia and yet continues to paint. To hear Sarah Stolar talk about her tenacious, remarkable mother, an artist who stood up against the sexism of the 1960s and 1970s art world and whose career has a lasting impact, listen to the complete interview.

Alexx Shilling is a choreographer who lives and works in Los Angeles. At the present moment, quarantined due to the pandemic, it is impossible for dancers and choreographers to be in the presence of each other. A project Shilling worked on for three years that was slated to premier in June is now up in the air. The piece is titled Nothing There There. It is a physical exploration of visiting sites with Jewish and Yiddish significance pre-WWII. It is a retelling of what it felt like for Shilling to be on the land of her ancestors. Her maternal grandparents came from Poland and what is now Ukraine and her paternal grandparents came from southern Poland. Shilling traveled to these places in 2017 and visited the site where her grandmother was held in a labor camp. Upon arrival home she was able to immediately get into residency and begin work. To hear more about this piece and Alexx Shillings other work, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

It turns out, we don’t need so many trappings. We can do with less than we ever imagined, and do very well.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien is an excellent series for the present moment. A solid reminder that even the smallest creature used to the comforts of the world can weather tremendous storms.


MTA Arts and Design invites artists to apply for their open call digital art program. Artwork will be considered for upcoming digital art installations and opportunities at Fulton Center in lower Manhattan. New Media artists are encouraged to apply. To see the guidelines and requirements for artists, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is April 30.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

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In these uncertain times, our first responsibility is assuring staff, their families and our entire art community is safe. We hope to turn the page on this devastating virus and return to normalcy soon. In the meantime, we continue sharing educational resources and have developed new Facebook Live events, providing an informal and intimate opportunity to meet artists and engage in topics we all love. Follow the GOLDEN Facebook page to join!

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.






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