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The Art of Debt ft. Cathy Byrd

Episode description

Today’s guest is not to be missed. Cathy Byrd from Fresh Art International reinvented herself as an artistic nomad after she got laid off in her mid-50’s while in debt. She paid off all her debt a few months after unemployment, including short selling her house and despite being unemployed for 2.5 years, she emerged from unemployment with $22,000 in savings and a new career.

We talked about the relationship between art and debt, what emerging artists need to do become financially successful, Cathy’s own story of debt and recovery, and some of the unbelievable relationships between wealthy institutions and exploitations of artists. We also discuss the relative employability of art history degrees.

About Cathy Byrd & Fresh Art International


Reaching thousands of followers each week, the Fresh Art International podcast and radio show spotlight diversity in the world of art, design and film through conversations about creativity since 2011.

Fresh Art International’s artistic director Cathy Byrd is a globally engaged independent curator and arts journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Her writing appears in the Miami Rail, Art Papers, Art in America and Sculpture magazine. With more than 200 episodes to-date, Byrd’s Fresh Art International podcast documents creative practices at the center and fringe of art scenes across six continents and the Caribbean Archipelago. Listen anywhere you go for podcasts.

Random bullets from the episode you might want to hear
  • The relationship between working artists and debt
  • Cathy went to art school 20 years after her first degree
  • The need for artistic mentors in building financial viable art careers
  • The pervasive “starving artist” narrative despite that art collection has always been a symbol of wealth
  • The value of creative production at all levels – making money and not
  • The value of “art history” degrees (and the historical relationship between rich women and art history degrees)
  • Union organizing of adjunct professors in the arts
  •  If we need art as humans, how do we make sure that artists keep making art
  • Patreon as a new model for artists to monetize the following they already have
  • Finding time to make art when you’re also looking for money to make art
  • Cathy’s role now working with artists on the edge of emerging and seasoned to help create a career
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