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ViVA – Virtual Visiting Artists, a new national nonprofit, launches


ViVA – Virtual Visiting Artists, a new national nonprofit and curatorial platform publicly launched today, with a focus on connecting internationally-recognized artists and projects emphasizing women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and social justice to students, educators, and communities across all disciplines and ages. Using an equity-based all-inclusive fee structure of $950 per 50-90 minutes engagement, ViVA’s roster of artists lead virtual talks, conversations, or workshops about their work and the social, political, economic, and environmental concerns that influence them. All ViVA engagements use Zoom, Webex, or any organization’s preferred videoconferencing platform, and are supported by a team of experienced ViVA educators.


“We’re at extraordinary turning points in climate change, political discourse, equity and social justice, the future of work, higher education and technology,” notes co-founder, executive director and chief curator Dr. Natalie Marsh, and “ViVA is a new national nonprofit situated at the intersection of these concerns and focused on solving problems of affordability, access, representation and fossil fuel consumption of traditional visiting artist programs at colleges, museums, and other organizations through curated turn-key virtual visiting artist engagements offered by a growing inaugural roster of diverse artists working alongside an equally dynamic and growing ViVA team of experienced educators.”


Unlike a speaker’s bureau or a tech start-up, ViVA is a nonprofit that functions as a collaborative educational partner with teachers, academic programs and centers, museums, alumni groups and member programs, libraries, municipal arts organizations, retirement groups, and other nonprofits. Every client receives an Artist Packet made up of curricular and program support materials that include pre-vetted and researched bibliographic and video content, sample discussion questions, interdisciplinary lesson plan ideas, among other useful tools, and they are connected to a ViVA educator who will consult on how to maximize the impact of their upcoming ViVA engagement. For small organizations or those experiencing reduced staff, each educator can be contracted for additional hourly support. Because ViVA absorbs most of the administrative work, artists and clients are able to focus their valuable time on their engagement with classrooms and audiences rather than the bureaucracy of logistics, paperwork, and the hassles, expense and carbon footprint of travel, hotel and per diem. Clients and artists are supported by streamlined processes from contracting to final payment. ViVA also contributes to universities’ and organizations’ efforts to reach net-zero carbon status by shifting more of their activities to a carbon neutral virtual format.


“Certainly a lesson of the pandemic has been that video conferencing tools can open classrooms and other audiences to new opportunities. We all had to pivot overnight. It’s also true that the logistics and expense of traditional onsite guest artist interaction isn’t always preferable or possible for many organizations, especially with budget and staffing cuts,” says Scott Baker, co-founder and COO. “An online conversation between artists, educators and learners has advantages well beyond cost implications and scheduling/availability issues. Students can get a peek inside an artist’s studio, view the work they’re currently developing – it’s a dynamic experience made even more attractive when considering a series of artists across a month, a semester, or a season. Of course, many noteworthy and emerging artistic voices live and work on the other side of the country or frequently from international artist residencies. Our model brings these artists straight to you without lengthy negotiations and a travel budget.” Clients interested in developing artist panels or a curated visiting artist series can work with ViVA staff and educators to help craft a great line-up. Panels and series are priced through simple multiplication: a panel of three artists can be contracted for $2,850 ($950 x 3) or a visiting series of six artists may be organized for $5,700 ($950 x 6).


ViVA is co-founded by veteran higher education and nonprofit leaders with decades of experience. Co-founder, executive director and chief curator Dr. Natalie Marsh has been a founding director and chief curator of multiple academic gallery and museum programs during the past 20 years, most recently as the founding director and chief curator of the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College (2010-2020). She has worked with hundreds of contemporary artists from around the world and organized more than 200 exhibitions, conferences, symposia, lectures, residencies and public programs focused on connecting artists to classrooms and communities. Co-founder and COO Scott Baker comes to ViVA after ten years as the Associate Vice President of Alumni and Parent Engagement at Kenyon College (2010-2020), after successfully launching and managing a website development and marketing firm between 1996-2010.


For more information, please visit vivavirtualartists.org or contact Scott R. Baker at scott.baker@vivavirtualartists.org.


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