Monday, July 11, 2016

Making It: the Artist-Parent Index

This summer we're pleased to partner with Temporary Art Review to share the work of cultural workers raising kids with a broader audience. Temporary Art Review is an international platform for contemporary art criticism that focuses on alternative spaces and critical exchange among disparate art communities. They're profiling projects that support the work of artist-parents, and we suggested the Artist-Parent Index, an evolving database of artists making work about their experience as parents: 

Address: Virginia, USA
Contact: Sarah Irvin
Email: info (at)

How is the project operated?
 The Artist Parent Index is an artist-run project.

How long has it been in existence? 
The website launched in January, 2016.

What was your motivation?
 I created the Index to advance the discourse on parenthood in the visual arts through a topically searchable database. I wanted to provide a way for people to easily find artists creating work about their experiences as parents.

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project:
 I run the project independently now, but I had a work study student, Michelle Jose, through George Mason University for the first 6 months.

How are programs funded? 
I am personally funding the project, but Michelle’s temporary position was funded through the Work Study program at Mason.

Who is responsible for the programming?
 Currently, just me (Sarah Irvin).

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year: The site is a continually growing database of artists, exhibitions and organizations. Right now, there are over 100 entries and I am constantly adding more.

Do you accept proposals/submissions?
 Yes, the index is open to include any artist creating auto-ethnographic work about parenthood. You can submit to info (at) or through our submissions page.

What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
 My approach is thematic, focusing on visual artists
creating work on parenthood. My goal is to create an exhaustive resource of artists and exhibitions focusing on parenthood as well as the organizations supporting these artists. I think of it as an inclusive global map of artistic activity on this theme. Each entry has associated search terms including medium, topic and location. So, if you search using a topic such as “breastfeeding,” a list of artists making work about breastfeeding is generated. The entries themselves mainly serve to get you to the artists’ websites based on your search terms. There is also an interactive map that allows you to search based on location.

What’s working? What’s not working?
 I’ve gotten a great response to the site so far. I’m pleasantly surprised by how many submissions have come in, and some curators have mentioned that they used the site for research. I’ve also received emails from artists interested in making work about parenthood, so connecting with them has been exciting. My main problem is that I have so much

information to add and I am working on this project alone right now. It is exciting though, that there is so much work being made about parenthood. Its a good problem to have.

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community? 
My hope is that this is a research tool for artists, curators, and educators. There is a growing global community of artists creating work about parenthood, and I want the site to provide these artists with exposure and exhibition opportunities. 

What idea are you most excited about for the future? 
I like the idea of having so many entries that visitors can’t see the site’s searchable map anymore because it is completely covered in pins.

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