OCTOBER 15, 2020
A Creative Community Newsletter for Information and Inspiration
To promote equity and inclusion in the creative industries, we use our newsletter each month to amplify voices of BIPOC creatives in Washington State. We hand over the newsletter and invite a creative of color to populate it with information and inspiration that reflects their perspective and their community.

At the end of this newsletter, Whipsmart will reserve the GET INFORMED section for our breaking news, but all other sections remain curated. 

We hope you love our third guest curated newsletter as much as we do!
Meet Our Guest Curator, Ayn Carrillo-Gailey (she/her/ella/tā)
Ayn Carrillo-Gailey, photo credit Coventry Automatik
I was born on the island of Taiwan to a Chinese mother and Mexican-American father whose ancestors descended from the extinct Karankawa tribe. At the age of two, I moved to the United States, then moved again and again. I was a Navy brat and that's what life is like for Navy brats. Elementary school was the first place I was called names. If a kid saw me with my mom, they might call me "Chink." If they saw me with my dad, they might call me "wetback." Miraculously, my self-esteem remained intact. In middle school, I lived in Turkey—my family survived rationed water and electricity, no television, and a coup d’etat, but we loved it. Life was tough, but it’s where I first learned the power of a multicultural community. 

After studying at UCLA & Harvard, I spent time in India and France and worked in Los Angeles as a screenwriter and magazine writer. Now, I live on remote Orcas Island with my husband, novelist Samuel W. Gailey. Over the years, to support my writing habit, I have helped individuals and brands with branding and content. By the way, content is just a new word for storytelling. Using my "storytelling" skills, I’ve been able to get brands featured in major news outlets. I wrote "Pornology," a non-fiction book that became a film this summer entitled "A Nice Girl Like You," starring Lucy Hale. I’ve also written a TV series with actor Bradley James that was just optioned. 

I also enjoy helping and inspiring other artists. That includes editing and ghostwriting books that have been critically praised and earned spots on The New York Times bestseller list; helping launch a literary festival; working with music composers to inspire them to create symphonies, scores and operas and get their work nominated for Emmys, Pulitzers, and Grammys. I’ve had the pleasure of inspiring a handful of painters to raise their artistry and their visibility and to dream much bigger. With today’s Whipsmart newsletter featuring a few of my fellow islanders, I am hoping to inspire you, too.
Do Not Stop Creating

No matter what kind of artist you are, you have to trust that the process of creating will lead to honing your craft and to more opportunities to sell or exhibit your work. For many artists, this time of self-quarantine has led them to be more reflective about their work and given them time to practice their art. More time to deep dive allows an artist to unearth more powerful themes and discover what you’re truly trying to say with your art. That is when art can transform from ordinary into extraordinary.

Want inspiration on how to write a song? I recommend The New York Times video cast, Diary of a Song.

Want to escape the distractions of everyday life and only focus on your art? Consider a low cost or free artist residency. There are many in the PNW region and beyond, and they can be found on a list curated by Artist Trust.

Need help writing a book or screenplay? Take a look at Novel Lab on Udemy, for my online writing class for teens and adults! Click here and use the code WHIPSMART to take it for free if you enroll in the next three days.

Want to download free worksheets to help you create a story? Visit Novel Lab and download away.
Live Moment to Unanticipated Moment
Donna Laslo with director Jean-Marc Vallée at the 2019 Orcas Film Festival photo credit: Orcas Video & Photography
Donna Laslo has always believed in the power of storytelling, especially through the lens of film. That love inspires her to help lead the Orcas Island Film Festival, along with her co-producer Jared Lovejoy and chief curator Carl Spence, former curator for Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). In its seventh year, the festival has attracted top filmmakers, including producer Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine, Vida) and director Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Big Little Lies, Dallas Buyer’s Club) who describes the festival as “a little piece of cinephile heaven in the middle of Puget Sound” and has stated his plans to return every year to help the Orcas Film Fest team.
Why a film festival on a remote island?

This is the perfect place to watch a film then take a walk through the forest and use that quiet emotional space to contemplate. Our community may not look diverse, but we are an island of change-makers, hungry for culture and for diversity. The festival along with the films we show all year, become windows into places and cultures, a shared experience, that our islanders—many of them over seventy—may not be able to access much longer.

You started out as an actor in your teens, later training with the famous acting coach Sanford "Sandy" Meisner. Tell us how those experiences impacted your life and how they inform life during COVID-19 and #BLM.

As an actor I was taught to dismantle my belief systems and my cultural reactions. Only then can you respond from an authentic place. It’s the same in everyday life.  

I love that. It allows you to come to a situation with less prejudice.

Exactly. Sandy also used to say “Live moment to unanticipated moment.” I still use that today as a tool to practice authenticity in every day life. Very helpful in these very uncertain, constantly changing COVID times. 
What films are on your current Film Lovers’ Hunkered Down

A powerful film about racism and celebration of culture and change. 
A moving tribute to the power of creativity, community
and an unlikely friendship.
Fantasy romance with gorgeous visuals and a sweet sense of humor.

You can learn more about the Orcas Film Festival here
and view a Film Fest Trailer here.  
Starting a Conversation with Performance Art
Mitch Marshall of Woman in the Woods, photo credit Coventry Automatik
After years of working at Microsoft, Mitch Marshall moved to Orcas Island and opened up a shop, only to experience the feeling that nothing had really changed. “People would walk into the shop and remark on the color of my skin,” she explains. There was no maliciousness, but a frustrating level of insensitivity and a focus on how she didn’t fit in rather than how she did. 

“I actually thought about leaving the island,” she confesses. “I was walking around Mountain Lake, not another soul around, contemplating what I should do. I knew I would miss the sheer beauty and serenity of the island, and that saddened me. As I made my way through the cedars, I decided that I could make the island feel more like my home, that I could add to the beauty. With each step, I came to believe that I could change the social landscape.” By the time she reached her car, the vision had crystallized. Mitch was going to use performance art by artists of color to start a conversation—a powerful one. 

When faced with what was lacking, Mitch chose to stay—to make a positive difference. It’s that modern pioneer spirit that created her non-profit arts organization Woman in the Woods. Their shows, which sell out in a matter of hours, confront racism and are avant-garde and wildly entertaining, but you also spend part of the time with a lump in your throat. As Mitch puts it, “I always knew the art I wanted to bring here would not be easy. The most moving art is born out of blood, sweat, and tears, and sometimes that can be hard for an audience, but hard can be so uplifting.” 
Woman in the Woods also provides free racially inclusive programming to schools and has hosted Poetry Grand Slam champion Alex Dang; Blackbird, a genre-jumping collaboration with Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain; and Guggenheim Fellow, cellist and artist Paul Rucker

To support Woman In The Woods or sign up for their newsletter, visit the Woman In The Woods website.
All Colors, All Cultures, All Ages
My personal taste when it comes to art is work that pushes boundaries and exhibits a really insane level of skill, theme, and creativity. My go-to source for that kind of inspiration and influence across design, fashion, beauty, music, food, and visual art is the global cultural video channel nowness.com. They exhibit work by exceptional talent, which connects audiences to emotional and sensorial stories designed to provoke inspiration and debate. And, videos can be viewed in ten languages!


Transfixed by racial & political tensions saturating the news, Woman In The Woods guest artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck switch off the TV and release their emotion through dance.
By Nowness

A unique portrait of Kenzō Takada, told through his hands. Takada was the founder of the fashion brand Kenzo and died this week from COVID-19 at the age of 81.

His art lives on.
My last thought is to remind us all that you can never be too young or too old to be an artist. Want proof? See the elementary kids at Wondermint Kids cooking and making upcycled art and the teen Washingtonian girls at www.girlfolk.com who are creating their own magazine by inviting girls from around the world to submit stories.
Shroud and Healer by Geddes
You’re also NEVER too old to BECOME an artist. Artists get better with age and their art can convey themes and ideas that only come with time. Take the PNW painter, Geddes. Years before she ever painted, she would tell friends “I know I’m a painter.” However, with kids to raise and a busy career, she didn’t have the energy to paint, but she did have the faith that it was only a matter of time. After her children grew up and she concluded a long career as a textile designer, she was accepted to the San Francisco Art Institute at the young age of 60 and became a painter. And, wow, has she succeeded. Now in her seventies, she is the closest thing I’ve seen to a Francis Bacon or Egon Schiele in the U.S. You can see her stunning work at GeddesArt.com or listen to my conversation with her at Ōde
You can read more about Ayn’s work at ayngailey.com and explore her new literary project Ōde at odeislove.com. Follow Ayn on Instagram @ayngailey
The Latest from Whipsmart's Staff
Unemployment update! The job search requirement of unemployment claimants will be suspended through November 9. Claimants may continue to answer “no” to the job search question on weekly claims for now. Learn more on the job search requirements page.

Washington Filmworks has continued their Safety On Set Conversations with Contract Updates from Our Union Partners. Local entertainment union representatives Melissa Purcell (Northern Business Agent for IATSE Local 488) and Chris Comte (Seattle Local Senior Business Representative for SAG-AFTRA) discussed the COVID-19 Return to Work Agreement. Topics include: testing regimes for productions, safety training requirements, paid sick leave, and required Personal Protective Equipment. You can watch the video here.

If you would like to talk with a legal expert on employment law, corporate law or intellectual property law, Seattle Public Library is offering free (pro bono) legal consultations. Just email L2B@spl.org with your name, email, phone number, and a brief summary of your legal question and they'll write back to you with available virtual consultation times. 

In case you missed it, take a look at this video from the City of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music Mixer event about invoice vs payroll options for creatives as well as our breaking news update about Whispmart’s Social Safety Net Survey.
At Whipsmart, we are unapologetic advocates for creative people and businesses. We give creative professionals the tools they need to succeed, by meeting them where they’re at—offering intentionally curated mentorships, job opportunities, and business resources scaled to every stage of their career.