Author: deborah

The Scarcity Matrix, Equity issues in Arts Service Organizations, and Chronic Pain: A reflection

"Focus on Sciatica" - Deborah Sosower
“Focus on Sciatica” – Artist Deborah Sosower


C4 Atlanta participates each year in a pretty fantastic conference – APASO, the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations. This is a hold-over from when the founding members, Jessyca Holland and Joe Winter, were a part of a previous nonprofit who focused on the performing arts. Despite the fact that C4 serves a broad range of individual creative entrepreneurs and artists, not just theaters or theater companies, there are still a lot of common ideas, work, and striving being done by all the nonprofits involved in APASO that are still very relevant to the work that we are doing.

An APASO member posted an article that has been discussed a lot by the coffee maker here at Fuse. Read David Dower’s article, “The Scarcity Matrix,” here. In essence, it captures the idea that we have been acculturated to view resources and opportunities through a lens of scarcity – that we believe and fear that funding, opportunities, and profitability can only happen for a chosen, lucky few – and should be coveted, hoarded, and protected at all costs. Dower posits that, instead, we should view the world as it really is: a place of abundance. Instead of negotiating with or zero-sum mentality, we work together with our peers to see how, together, sharing resources, experiences, and ideas, we can build a better place – financially, emotionally, ethically – for everyone.

C4 Atlanta hosted a Google Hangout with APASO members last Friday to discuss this article, and ways it may shape or inform our organizations. The discussion that emerged ultimately focused on the ways in which equity and diversity are being introduced, sustained, strengthened, institutionalized, and made actionable by each of the diverse, national organizations. One of the challenges that was introduced by a participant in the conversation was the balance it took to juggle focusing on equity and inclusion with other considerations of operating a nonprofit and fulfilling its specific mission.

What the flow of this dialogue brought to mind for me was a parallel to an individual experiencing chronic pain (if which, sadly, I am one). It is always there – not perhaps always visible on the surface, but a constant, underlying thread of discomfort or outright pain- that occasionally spikes into periods of acute distress from aggravating circumstances or further injury. This country, perhaps even the broader sector of “western culture,” can be said to suffer from chronic issues of inequity. Whether it relates to race, class, ableism, gender, ageism, you-name-it, creating safe spaces for dialogue and becoming mindful of your own privilege is a challenge that many are taking on – and we are proud to take our part in that effort. What is prescribed to an individual experiencing chronic pain? I know in my case, with chronic back pain due to sciatica (a pinched nerve), I’ve personally tried the gambit of pain-managing treatments: medication, massage therapy, chiropractics, epidural steroid injections, crying, cursing the world, eating donuts, etc… And, ultimately, what has proven the most sustainably effective for me to stave off pain and work to fix the problem is increasing my fitness. The more fit I am – even if it’s painful to start (usually my back complains when I begin a workout regimen) – the better my back feels. It’s literally better supported through my efforts of strengthing my core muscles, losing unnecessary weight that exacerbates the problem, and increasing my flexibility. And that might be the solution for systemic inequities in our nation. Keeping the conversation alive – asking hard questions, but more importantly, LISTENING and being present – looking at models of self-identification, rather than forced “box checking,” – recognizing privilege, in the context of the conversation and its participants in that instance – seeking empathy and understanding, rather than justifications for your own point of view – these are all ways to become a “fitter” participant in the dialogue, and an ally to the work of making this amazing country full of abundance a more fruitful, a better, and a more equitable place.





Atlanta Grant-seekers have a (permentant) home again!


Inspire newsletter, by tredeaudesign
Inspire newsletter, by tredeaudesign


I’m super excited to share that The Foundation Center has landed in its new home! tredeaudesign published their first issue of INSPIRE, and in it they interview Val Porter and Elyse Klova (the Director and Training Specialist at The Foundation Center) about the new location.

We get lots of questions from artists, particularly now with ArtsForce fiscal sponsorship program, about where to look for grants. Our immediate first answer is, The Foundation Center. They have an incredible database and lending library of information not only on grants and grant seeking, but also nonprofit management and professional issues in the field. They are an incredible resource that we have here in Atlanta, and I wanted to share with everyone again the great benefit of having this powerful asset and tool at our fingertips.

Check out their website, Their new address is still in downtown Atlanta, just a few blocks away from us here at Fuse!

Lobby Level of the Georgia Pacific Building

133 Peachtree Street

Let us know how you like the new space!

ArtsForce Crowdfunding: LIVE!

C4 Atlanta conceived the ArtsForce fiscal sponsorship program in order to add to the vibrancy and possibility for working artists in Atlanta and Georgia. We envisioned a site where you can find all (only!) Georgia creatives, making the world a better place through their offerings.

I am so honored and excited to announce the first live campaign for the ArtsForce sponsored project, “The Art of Esteem.” Support your fellow artist, woman, entrepreneur, educator, advocate, Atlantan, explorer, and friend in this campaign! Be a force to propel Amber Williams to Senegal in order to help countless children and young people empower themselves through creative outlets – and she needs your participation NOW!


Click HERE to donate today!



Initial reflections from APASO: i.e. my first work conference for C4

Chicago's "The Bean"
Chicago skyline framing the iconic sculpture, “The Bean”

There are so many interesting and exciting concepts and conversations that I experienced this past week at APASO – an annual conference for nonprofit, art-service-organizations. It was exciting to meet new colleagues and engage in topics – mostly professional, and a few more personal – relating to our collective work in being a support to artists and other nonprofits, around North America.

My initial reflections are: I am grateful to be a part of such a visionary team (i.e. Jessyca Holland, Joe Winter, and Julia Daniel) who can teach me so much about the field I still feel so new to. I am also gratified that, though I was in conversation and community with other nonprofit administrators who have years of experience, I still felt valued and my ideas were both welcomed and sought.

I also realize I have lessons to learn. And work to do. Though I feel tired and a little drained after travel and some extreme weather/temperature changes over the past few days, I feel incredibly invigorated and excited to get to work – keeping C4 strong, vibrant, relevant, and most of all, fulfilling to myself, my fellow staff, and the artists we are so lucky to meet and be of service to.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the usefulness of conferencing with your peers! What have you taken away, in a practical and applicable way, from any conferences or residencies you’ve experienced? Stay tuned for more reflections, as I continue to think through all that I learned and experienced in Chicago…

C4ward March Blogathon Day 15: Final Reflections

On this last day of the C4ward March Blogathon, you have two prompts to choose from. Your choice!

Prompt 1: Take a moment to take inventory of the results of continuous blogging about your art and networking with other artists through their blogs.

  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • What connections have you made with other artists?
  • Did you find a rhythm and style to express yourself about your art through blogging?
  • Did you discover anything new about your relationship to your art?
  • Do you have any better understanding of the role you play as an artist in your community?
  • Is blogging a worthwhile activity?
  • What do you need to keep you blogging regularly?
  • What questions do you have?


Prompt 2: Think for a moment of the fellow artists that have been on this journey of continuous blogging with you. What gift can you give them?

Some ideas:

  • Post an image with a photo caption
  • Write the lyrics of a love song, another Haiku, a creative paragraph
  • Record yourself singing a song, playing a musical instrument, reading a poem
  • Record yourself dancing or using a puppet
  • Etc…

March 16th: GRAND FINALE Potluck for C4ward March Blogathon participants along with anyone who likes eating! C4 Atlanta hosts potlucks in our space for the general, art-loving public — we’ll take the opportunity tomorrow to celebrate the end of the Blogathon and draw names to determine the C4ward March Blogathon prize winners!

Meet fellow bloggers and other artists on Sunday, 4:00-6:00 at the Fuse Gallery of C4. Bring a dish. This event offers another blogging opportunity!  RSVP now!

C4ward March Blogathon Day 14: PHOTO FRIDAY! “Artist in Your City”

Like last Friday, today is PHOTO FRIDAY. Give yourself permission on PHOTO FRIDAY  to write nothing or something. It is up to you! Part of blogging every day is finding ways to make it sustainable. Having one day or more out of every week that requires only photos can provide a much needed break from using words.

John Lewis mural in Downtown, Atlanta
John Lewis mural in Downtown, Atlanta

Use 5 to 7 photographs (fewer or more if you want) to show and tell about yourself as an “Artist in Your City.” When you travel outside your workspace, how does the artist in your get expressed?


  • Where do you journey in your community as an artist?
  • Where are you exhibiting, performing, or selling your work?
  • How do you appear (attire, attitude, and ambition)?
  • Are you working at another job to support your art making?
  • What places do you frequent most often in your community? Why?
  • Do you support other artists at their events?
  • Who is in your community that you want to connect with?
  • Who cultivates the artist in you?
  • Where do you go to relax and regenerate your creative spirit?


March 16th: RSVP now to GRAND FINALE Potluck for C4ward March Blogathon participants along with anyone who likes eating! C4 Atlanta hosts potlucks in our space for the general, art-loving public — we’ll take the opportunity on Sunday to celebrate the end of the Blogathon and draw names to determine the C4ward March Blogathon prize winners!

Meet fellow bloggers and other artists on Sunday, 4:00-6:00 at the Fuse Gallery of C4. Bring a dish. This event offers another blogging opportunity!

C4ward March Blogathon Day 13: Contemplating Community

Contemplating the relationship between you the artist and your communities.

They City, 1919. Fernand Léger
They City, 1919. Fernand Léger

Think about your relationship as an artist or artistic entrepreneur to your neighborhood, city, and region. Then respond to these two questions:
Question 1 (Artists Contributions):

  • What does your creative work contribute to your communities?
  • In general, what do the arts do for a city?
  • What do you do for your city or community?
  • What SHOULD you do, if anything, that you don’t already do?

Questions 2 (Cities Contributions):

  • How should communities develop and support their artists?
  • What is your city or community doing, if anything, to help you develop and support you as a creative?
  • What areas are creative communities nurtured in your area? Coffee shops? Galleries? Museums? Government spaces? Nonprofit spaces? Corporate spaces? Etc…


March 16th: RSVP now to the GRAND FINALE Potluck for C4ward March Blogathon participants along with anyone who likes eating! C4 Atlanta hosts potlucks in our space for the general, art-loving public — we’ll take the opportunity on Sunday to celebrate the end of the Blogathon and draw names to determine the C4ward March Blogathon prize winners!

Meet fellow bloggers and other artists on Sunday, 4:00-6:00 at the Fuse Gallery of C4. Bring a dish. This event offers another blogging opportunity!

C4ward March Blogathon Day 12: RANT

As an artist or creative entrepreneur, explore your relationship to money in a rant.
What do you want to proclaim about your art and its financial role in your life?

Aspects of money to consider:

  • Pricing and selling your art
  • Purchasing tools, supplies, and space for your art making
  • Paying for promoting your art
  • Negotiating financial matters involving your work
  • Supporting yourself from your art

What is a rant?
In case you didn’t already know, a rant is some or all of the following:

  • An impassioned form of expression
  • Statements of strong (primarily negative) feelings
  • Complaints
  • A litany of disparaging remarks
  • A list of short direct sentences
  • Exaggerations often creating humorous or comic results
  • energized stirred up exuberance

Have fun! Get stirred up! Find energy inside what may be the ambiguous feelings you have about the relationship between your art and money! Get it all the ick out!

An example rant from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Zeuss:

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch.
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk”!

EXTRAS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Once you’ve written your rant, record yourself reading it and post on your blog! Reflect on what you discovered about yourself in relation to money as you ranted. Will you adjust any of your art-financial behaviors?

C4ward March Blogathon Day 11: Tools, Resources, People


What tools, resources, people do YOU need for creative success?
What tools, resources, people do YOU need for creative success?

Today, we want to ask you to name some of the tools, resources, or connections that you need to conquer your creative dreams.

  • What knowledge gaps do you have?
  • What classes are you dying to take? Creative, professional, technical, etc…
  • If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently – or in a different order?
  • What resources do you feel are essential to the growth of your creative or entrepreneurial practice?
  • If you had a super power, what would it be?
  • If you could work with anyone, who would it be?

Harken back to the beginning of this blogathon, and respond to this prompt in any way you would like and that gets your creative juices flowing. If just plain old writing doesn’t excite you, then write a poem, a rant, or a song. Sing or perform your answer and post the video. Take a photo, draw or paint an image. Engage with us as you think through the different tools, resources, or people you would most want to break down any barriers you currently feel!

C4ward March Blogathon Day 10: Appropriate Risks

“A freelancer is someone who gets paid for working…An entrepreneur gets paid while they sleep.”

We can’t host a blogging challenge without bringing in the voice of one of our favorite authorities on creative entrepreneurship (and prolific blogger himself): Seth Godin. Watch the following short clip:

What are some appropriate risks for you? Today, think about what are creative risks you might take in your creative practice. What risks can you take in your business? Are there risks you’ve taken that have led to positive change? Any that have not panned out they way you thought? What are some of your greatest successes that have arisen out of risks you’ve taken? If you are very risk averse, what is holding you back from making that leap? What support system(s) would you need to have in place in order to leap into that new creative or entrepreneurial space?

Artists, today is a great day to read and add your voice, feedback, support, and encouragement to one another. Treat each other with the respect you all deserve for delving into the deeper topics of your creative practice and entrepreneurial spirit.

RSVP to the Potluck next Sunday, March 16 – we’ll celebrate the wrap up of the Blogathon and draw names for the C4ward March Blogathon prizes!  4-6 pm at the Fuse Arts Center!