A Love Letter from NIAD

If you are an artist, this is going out to you. 

And if you support artists – funders, families, community members, colleagues, friends, audiences, confidants – we’re talking to you too. 

It’s no secret that NIAD’s vitality comes from the leadership of more than 70 adult studio artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities who practice, sometimes for decades, in our 23rd Street and Virtual Studios. And most people know that each of our 29 staff members practice as professional artists – from musicians to estheticians to painters, our staff members each carry powerful voices in our many art worlds.

This week, however, we’re overwhelmed by the presence of the artists everywhere who enliven NIAD with their support. 

In particular, we want to thank Jessica Campbell and Sahar Khoury for nominating NIAD for the Ruth Foundation Artist Choice Awards – a deeply affirming vote of confidence in what we do at NIAD every day. We can’t wait to celebrate with them and the other artists and organizations next week at White Columns in New York. With Ruth Foundation, White Columns are our gracious hosts for the awards ceremony.

However, there are more ways that artists support NIAD, and many of them are important to mention right now. This past weekend, we gathered with dozens of artists and organizations to celebrate the Artist Power Convening Grants, an initiative of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Hewlett Foundation.

These grants amplify artists’ power in community by placing resources in the hands of artists, and NIAD’s funding went directly to all the ways that dozens of visiting artists participate in our programs each year: stipends and honoraria for curating, visiting our studios, speaking at our events, presenting online.

At the gathering, we met artists from 10 Bay Area counties who are moving the same funding into making hidden stories visible, bringing artists and audiences together, reactivating in-person projects after sheltering in place, and doing the creative work necessary to activate social justice. Meeting our artist leaders and neighbors in Richmond and the Bay Area illuminated just how much power is out there at work every day, and the many ways we can continue to expand collaboration at NIAD. 

Thank you to all the artists, and to the network of support that makes it all possible – we see the creative work you all do surrounding us, and we love you for it. We’ll keep doing everything we can to amplify spaces for artists in our work at NIAD, and we hope you’ll keep sharing with us how we can do it better every day.


Amanda – and all of us at NIAD