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Most state's contemporary artist organizations have slide registries.
Perhaps the students could look at them and find artists in the area who
Or they could focus on a specific high-quality statewide group show, put on
by the state's contemporary artist organization or a non-profit gallery and
document it, arranging to interview some of the artists at the opening,
(while they are all in one place). And then you could put it your site. (our
state organization sometimes has a little funding for projects that help get
the state's artists' work seen elsewhere)
Staying in your region will help your students know that "wow, there are
artists in Kansas!" And, focusing on a serious regional group exhibit will
help you avoid just looking for artists who are "Making a living at it full
time" -- that is not an accurate yardstick to gauge who is a good or
serious artist, and I know you don't need me to tell you that, but I'll say
it anyway. Most of the artists your students will find in these exhibits
won't be full-time production makers. They will probably have some other
means of support, like a working spouse or teaching job, retirement, etc.
My point is....(finally) I think it is important for students to become
aware that they can still be "real professional" artists, have a full
exhibition life & gallery relationship, and do other things as well. Being
an artist IS a full time job, but having another job is ok too. I think you
have found a great opportunity to teach that in a meaningful way, from the
horse's mouth (which also happens to be my all-time favorite novel).
Which ever way you approach it, I hope you'll let us know how the project
progresses. Your regional artists will love it. If I had a teaching job I