Release: Artlink Announces Inaugural TAFF Recipient

Artlink Announces Inaugural Grant Recipient of ‘The Artist Forward Fund’

Exhibition, Mentorship and $1000 Awarded to Ashley Czajkowski

‘For the People’ Partners with Artlink to Double Grant Amount

PHOENIX – Artlink Inc., in collaboration with the recently-formed Artlink Artist Council (AAC), is pleased to announce Ashley Czajkowski as the first grant recipient of The Artist Forward Fund (TAFF). The announcement was made at Artlink’s 2017 Annual Meeting on June 14 at Phoenix Art Museum. Czajkowski will receive financial support, a space to hold an exhibition, and mentoring from AAC members.

Annual Meeting Ashley

Left to right: Rembrandt Quiballo, Constance McBride, Shawn Silberblatt, Chad Campbell, Ashley Czajkowski, Joan Baron, Sally Russell, Christine Cassano. Photo: Kyle Field.

Formed in February of 2017, the AAC has identified key areas where the Council, which is comprised of professional artists, can provide support to emerging artists: mentoring, exhibition planning, sharing connections/networking support, portfolio review and practical advice on mounting exhibitions. AAC sought an artist recipient demonstrating potential in their practice through risk-taking and pushing their work in dynamic ways, who is at a critical juncture in their career when this support would be most impactful.

“TAFF is not just important for the growth of individual artists that win the prize, it is a critical step towards moving the downtown arts scene to the next level,” said artist Bill Dambrova, member of the AAC. “One of many priorities of the Artlink Artist Council is to encourage and support Artlink to find and identify an exhibition venue that matches the level of sophistication and quality of work made by the winner to show in.”

“Our first winner, Ashley Czajkowski epitomizes the type of artist that will most benefit from this award. As an incredibly innovative installation artist, the space she shows in is crucial to the presentation of her work,” said Dambrova.

A total of 44 artists responded to the inaugural call, submitting a number of original works and a statement of need for AAC panel review.

“The AAC members were challenged to select just one artist to receive the fund,” said Constance McBride, Artlink Arts Committee Chair. “We were encouraged by the large amount of quality work submitted for the first TAFF call, and even more enthusiastic about where this collaboration can lead.”

Members of the AAC are: Julie Anand, Joan Baron, Christine Cassano, Bill Dambrova, Peter Deise, Isaac Fortoul, Gabriel Fortoul, Frank Gonzales, Annie Lopez, William LeGoullon, Ann Morton, Joe Ray, Patricia Sannit, Randy Slack, Marilyn Szabo. These established professional artists have worked 10 years or more in exhibiting and/or producing exhibitions that shine a spotlight on Phoenix; represent the diverse cultural identity of our city; and have contributed significant time/energy to either Art Detour/Artlink and/or partner initiatives that strive to elevate the profile of Phoenix’s creative community.

The initial call posted a $500 award provided by Artlink. In a show of support for the program, local retailer For the People, which specializes in functional modern design from local and global makers, agreed to match the funds, bringing the inaugural award amount up to $1000.

“The inaugural TAFF call is bringing about a number of collaborations that demonstrate Artlink’s mission of connecting artists, business and community,” said Catrina Kahler, Artlink Board President. “We thank everyone who contributed to the fund, including For the People owners Shawn Silberblatt and Chad Campbell. We congratulate Ashley and look forward to working with her and the AAC in developing a fall exhibition of her work.”

About Artlink Inc.
Artlink keeps the arts integral to the development of our city by connecting artists, business and community. Artlink supports a variety of community-based art events, including complimentary Trolley Tours during the monthly First Friday Art Walk, one of the nation’s largest self-guided art walks; The Artist Forward Fund (TAFF); a pop-up gallery program; the Infusion arts initiative; and the annual Juried Exhibition, Art Detour, and Art d’Core Gala. Artlink is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is supported by City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Downtown Phoenix Inc., Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix Art Museum, The Arizona Republic, Dunn Transportation, Roosevelt Row CDC, Phoenix Warehouse District, Central Arts District and Historic Grand Avenue. Visit to sign up for the Artlink newsletter or connect socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

# # #