Photographer and chair of SteerFW’s Civic Engagement Committee Wesley Kirk hoped to create a civic-minded community within the art scene in Fort Worth.

Arts Fort Worth’s Art Aid does just that.

“I’m trying to use that to bring the art world and the civics world together to help artists understand the problems in the city and how they can be the solution,” Kirk said, “but also help everyone in Fort Worth understand how they can support the arts.”

Kirk and more artists gathered at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center for 2022’s Art Aid to learn about artist statements, CVs and exhibition proposals from three panelists.

Admission to Art Aid sessions is $6 — a donor paid for 10 extra spots for walk-up artists starting on June 14.

Panelists Art Room’s Deedra Baker, Arts Fort Worth’s exhibitions manager Robert Long and communications manager Elena Greer answered artists’ questions in a back-and-forth dialogue.

“It was all about helping artists develop their business, but to make it more accessible. Now, we’re doing it once a month,” Greer said.

Art Aid offers “opportunities for artists, creatives and arts nonprofits to explore and grow their professional practice and sustain a living in the arts,” according to Arts Fort Worth’s site.

This year, Art Aid transitioned from a one-day expo to a monthly series on every first Tuesday of the month for accessibility, Greer said. In partnership with Artes de la Rosa and Near Southside Arts, the education program plans on broadening its audience.

Art Aid plays a role in teaching people how to make the art world accessible and create community, Kirk said.

Kirk is also a founding member of House of Iconoclasts, the Arts Fort Worth art collective residency recipient before Art Room. During their Art Aid planning period, the House artists had the goal of making the program more accessible — the artists’ Art Aid didn’t go forward because of the COVID-10 pandemic.

Previous Art Aids were “more geared towards professional artists taking their career to the next level,” Kirk said.

“It’s nice and all, but not super relevant to the majority of artists we have in Fort Worth,” Kirk said. “When they told me that they were going to break it up by topic, I was like, ‘That’s brilliant. That’s what really needs to be done.”

Newly opened southside Fort Worth community arts gallery “The Pool,” 1801 8th Ave., will host July’s Art Aid session. Artes de la Rosa will host August’s session.

“Let’s bring all the parts of the city together to bring these big arts organizations together and give the artists access to all these parts of the city,” Natalie Atkinson, events and projects manager at Near Southside Inc, said.

Near Southside Inc was designated a state cultural district by the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2021.

“We’re reaching people of different economic status, we’re reaching different people of cultural status, and hoping to level the playing field in a way that has not been historically true here in Fort Worth,” Atkinson said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.