The Arts in a Time of Tumult

A few words on navigating troubled times as an artist & business person | june16.2020

A Time of Tumult, A Time for Growth

If you pay attention to just the worst headlines these days, it can seem like the world has gone mad. We’re living through a time of tumult in America and across the planet. But these are also times of possibility. The extent of police violence and political corruption have come as shock to some. But they are old, familiar news to people and communities that have long faced these brutal truths in their daily lives. Yet we should not miss the chance to focus the energy and ferment in towns and cities across the country to inspire a time of learning and joining hands.

Tamarack for the Arts aims to be a gathering place, online and in the physical world, for the West Virginia creative community. Let’s lift up the voices of our artists and community members. Let’s use our skill, energy, and hearts to join and bind things together that have come apart. The arts have long been a way to speak from the heart and to speak to the heart. That’s as good a place to start as the sun comes up and we face this new day together. 

We wish to share a viral video from TFA Design Team member Douglas John Imbrogno’s new feature magazine,, since it speaks to the reckoning on racism going on now. Douglas and a videographer were interviewing people at a Huntington rally protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last month. They asked to interview an older African-American woman, named T.C. Clemons, who was a 2019 finalist for West Virginia Teacher of the Year. She proceeded to deliver a powerful 7-minute lesson on what it’s like to be born with black skin in white America. Since the video’s launch May 31, it has been viewed more than 150,000 times. We offer it (below) as commentary on the work ahead in creating a truly inclusive and just community and country.

~ Renee Margocee, director, Tamarack Foundation for the Arts |

For more on T.C. Clemons and this video, see this post.

When This Is Over

Rosalie Haizlett, a freelance illustrator who lives in Wellsburg, WV, was among the initial group of the state’s Emerging Artists Fellows honored by the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts. She recently had a short video (below) featured in the ongoing PBS video series “AMERICAN PORTRAIT: A National Storytelling Project.” Her one-minute video muses on the changes she feels the pandemic and quarantine life are having on her: “I will spend more of my time and energy nurturing my relationships instead of furthering my career,” she says in the video.

Video from “AMERICAN PORTRAIT: A National Storytelling Project.”

Rosalie has a show up now titled “Divine Impermanence” at the Bloom art gallery in Thomas, WV. Her watercolors “explore some of the bizarre, otherworldly organisms of the West Virginia highlands,” she says of these works. “Each piece was inspired by something that I noticed on a hike—something small that I nearly missed. With my watercolors, I recreate these organisms on a larger scale to showcase their intricacies.”


NOTE: Submit your own short video to the American Portrait series: “The American Portrait project encourages Americans from all walks of life to tell their stories in their own unique way, contributing to an ever-changing patchwork exploring our shared ideals and challenges, our hopes and fears, and our evolving sense of community.”
SUBMIT: Click here. PS: If PBS chooses your video, let us know so we can feature it.

“Turkey Tail Mushroom,” by Rosalie Haizlett, now on view at Bloom in Thomas WV.

“Rust Belt Beauty” on display in Weirton

“Defining Voices,” an art exhibition at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, features work by 2020 Emerging Artist Fellow Jaci Rice, along with the paintings of Dale Biesecker and Bob Dombrowski. The show at the center, at 3149 Main St., Weirton, is up through July 17. The event is open to the public in accordance with Gov. Jim Justice’s updated “West Virginia Strong—The Comeback” guidelines, and all social distancing protocols will be observed.

“Shriner’s Parade” by Jaci Rice is one of the pieces of her work in the three-person show, “Defining Voices,” through July 17 at Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center.

Jaci holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in painting/drawing from Tyler School of Art, part of Temple University, in Philadelphia. As a transplant to the Ohio Valley region, she said she has been “afforded an opportunity to see the area’s beauty with eyes not accustomed to it.” Her work started out purely figurative. But in recent years, she has been inspired by Weirton’s dramatic sky and landscapes, intermingled with ghostly and active industrial spaces.


How Present Are You on The Web?

TFA has a new service available for artists and arts businesses across West Virginia. We’re offering time slots for one-on-one digital presence coaching at the scheduling link below. Sign up for a phone or ZOOM call with Domenica Zara Queen, a long-time creative professional who specializes in graphic design and marketing. Domenica is a 2012 graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown WV, with a BFA with a graphic design concentration. (She is “a proud ‘Hispapalachian,’ she adds, a word her uncle made up.)

Take advantage of TFA coaching on how you present yourself as an artist online.

Because of the pandemic, many artists and arts businesses are having to pivot and offer part, or all, of their work, online. This would be daunting in any situation. Tackling the task in the midst of so much anxiety and tragedy makes even simple decisions difficult. Coaching sessions are one-on-one conversations that will start where you are and identify practical steps to improve your presence online. 

From Domenica: 

Trying to research solutions that fit your situation as an artist or art business can lead straight to information overload. I want to help you through that. When you sign up for an appointment, we’ll discuss your situation and make a plan together to work on what you need. It doesn’t matter if you want feedback on your website or advice on turning a treasured stack of business card contacts into an email list, I’ll help you figure it out.  

There is a lot of information out there to wade through. I’ll point you to relevant tutorials or courses to help you along the way. Each person needs a slightly different solution. I want to help you efficiently find the information you need so you can get back to making art.  

If you’re too crunched for time to schedule right now, the best thing to do is sit down for a time and write out everything you have available to work with. Ask yourself: What accounts or websites do I already have? Which contacts could I reach out to? What photos or videos of my work are languishing unused on a thumb drive or computer? Then, ask: What’s working and what isn’t? Put most of your energy into maximizing what is working. And make a plan to improve or ditch what’s not. 

Take some weight off your shoulders and let’s break it down into whatever is doable for you. Schedule at your convenience through the following Appointlet link. 

SCHEDULE: Pick a time

The Business of Art

“The Business of Art” is a new feature on managing the business end of making it as an artist.

It’s hard enough making it as an artist in the first place. Add in a global pandemic, and national turmoil and unrest, and one might well understand the urge to hide beneath’s one’s easel instead of in front of it. (Or wherever and however you express yourself!) The following Creative Capital video offers insights on the challenge of managing the business end of artistry in an age of pandemic.

The free workshop gives an overview of the financial implications of the COVID-19 outbreak. The video is led by Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA-PFS, AFC. It covers:

Spread the Word

Forward this free newsletter to artists and those in your life who appreciate the arts. If the newsletter was forwarded to you, subscribe at: to get future issues. (We generally publish 2 issues monthly, plus special themed issues.)

Share comments below, call us at 304.926.3770, or e-mail me directly at For media inquires about stories on TFA Fellows or other topics, contact TFA team member Douglas John Imbrogno at or call 304.638.9784.

Be well. Stay Safe. Wear masks. Make art.

Renee Margocee | Executive Director | Tamarack for the Arts