Networks of Support: Carolina Jayaram and the contemporary conduits of patronage
Troy Pieper profiles Carolina Jayaram, recently appointed President and CEO of United States Artists, a national nonprofit that awards grants to mid-career artists.
Modern patronage takes many forms. Gone are the days of direct patronage: a wealthy patron giving funds, housing or access directly to an artist. Instead, artists must rely on networks of support. Grants, residencies, galleries, foundations, nonprofits: these organizations comprise the contemporary conduits of patronage. Arts executive and organizer Carolina Jayaram recently left one such organization for another and speaking with her, we saw what it takes to run the networks that support artists in today's varied and dynamic cultural and economic landscape.
When Carolina Jayaram took the reins of the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), it offered little in the way of programming and was run out of a small space in Wicker Park. Only three years later, the nonprofit boasts career development services for artists, artist studios, a curatorial residency and a sizeable new home with a gallery, all within an 8,000-square-foot building in the West Loop, Chicago's main gallery district. But even with these programs in their infancy, the industrious Jayaram feels it is time for her to move on. She recently left her position as Executive Director of the CAC to become the President and CEO of United States Artists (USA), a national nonprofit that awards grants to mid-career artists.
Jayaram prefers to think of artists as professionals working in the “the creative industry,” she says, and she would like to work to help artists take larger ownership of the corporate sector, as well as the municipal and government sectors. It is part of the reason she has moved to United States Artists, whose mission is to provide artists with resources they need to fulfill what they define as success. Jayaram’s hope is to develop education and other programming that will help lay people value the work of artists more, thus raising artists’ standards of living...