2020 -> 2021

They say hindsight is 2020—

—And we couldn’t be happier to watch 2020 grow small in the rearview mirror. We want to thank you for engaging with us through this extraordinary year of hardship and change. We hope that our work brought you moments of happiness, inspired thought, or offered respite.

2020’s challenges are, by now, familiar. Art Papers was not spared from some hard realities of the year, but we were also fortunate in many ways. Our donors and funders increased their support to ensure that we could continue our work, and for that we are so grateful. As a primarily publication-based organization, we were able to carry on with most of our plans with little interruption. As an internationally focused organization based in the Southeastern US, the shift to virtual allowed us to welcome our broader audience to our public programs, which were previously only accessible locally.

We’re an optimistic bunch, so we’d like to share some of the silver linings of the past year and look ahead to exciting opportunities in 2021.

2020’s silver linings:

  • We published three incredibly timely issues, which anticipated and participated in some of the most urgent conversations of our time: Art of the New Civil Rights EraLiving & Working, and Monumental Interventions, co-edited by TK Smith.
  • We grew our readership with a 300% increase in subscription sales, a 350% increase in single issue sales, and a 12% increase in web viewership.
  • Our audience for public programs grew by 360%.
  • We dove deep into our hometown of Atlanta’s rich history of artist-run spaces in a two-day virtual symposium, Founding Stories, which presented decade-by-decade panel discussions with founders of some of Atlanta’s most beloved spaces. We published those talks in a dossier on ARTPAPERS.org.
  • We produced artist projects by Miriam Simun and Tori Tinsley, and artist-feature dossiers that highlighted 13 artists whose work related to our issues’ themes.
  • We published interviews with emerging and established artists and cultural producers including Julie MehretuCarolyn LazardKevin YoungSzu-Han HoRandy Ford, and Derrick Adams.
  • We explored the ART PAPERS archives and published a dossier of selections from the 1988 Special Issue on Contemporary Black Art, which included an interview with David Hammons, essays by Howardena PindellLowery Sims, and Mildred Thompson, and a tribute to Romare Bearden written by David C. Driskell.
  • We presented an ART PAPERS LIVE with Laura Raicovich in partnership with Atlanta Contemporary and launched a new series of conversations between our contributors via Instagram Live. Those contributor conversations reached our largest-ever audience for live events.
  • We were fortunate to receive a $30,000 grant from the South Arts Resilience Fund supported in part by the Mellon Foundation. We are now in the extraordinary position of being able to hire a fundraising consultant. We will leverage their expertise to increase our resources so that we can grow and expand our programmatic offerings and our reach.
  • We conducted an extensive three-year diversity audit of our contributors, staff, board members, program participants, and audience, to be published on ARTPAPERS.org in 2021

Welcome 2021—

We’ll continue mining the depths of the AP archives to publish essays and interviews with present-day relevance. In 2021 our print publication will explore themes of subterfuge, speculative masculinities, corruption, and wayfinding. We will expand our thematic explorations, and depart from them, with online exclusive reviews and features on ARTPAPERS.org.

ART PAPERS LIVE, our signature talks series, returns January 28 with artist Diana Al-Hadid—via Zoom—in conjunction with the exhibition Nothing is Stable at the Ernest G. Welch Galleries, and in partnership with the Welch School of Art & Design and the Center for Collaborative and International Arts, Georgia State University.

We’ll use what we learned in our diversity audit to set benchmarks for the future, and to inform the creation of a comprehensive DEI plan.

The Art Papers Art Auction will be virtual in 2021, so save the date – April 17, 2021. More details coming soon.

As Art Papers enters our 45th year, we are excited to support the work of artists and writers, continue to reach more readers, produce signature programs, and engage our audience more deeply. Thank you for reading, for participating in our programs, for supporting us in the many ways that you do, but most of all, thank you for your continued commitment to art.

We know that the challenges of 2020 are not confined to a calendar year, but we are, nevertheless, excited about the future of Art Papers. We value and appreciate your support year-round, but there are a few key moments when it is particularly crucial. An end of year donation to our Annual Fund is one of the best ways to help us keep the momentum up and think ambitiously in 2021.

Sarah Higgins
Editor + Artistic Director