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If you’re a filmmaker looking for additional help and resources in Washington State, it’s time to link up with Artist Trust.

Artist Trust is a statewide organization dedicated to supporting and inspiring artists working in all disciplines to enhance and sustain the art community in Washington State. Painters, sculptors, digital artists, and, yes, filmmakers all thrive from the organization’s many benefits ranging from grants to professional development.

Washington Filmworks was eager to learn more about this fascinating organization and how it helps filmmakers, so we sat down with Executive Director Shannon Halberstadt to discuss the community and the services she offers.

Before joining the Artist Trust team, Halberstadt worked at Spokane Arts and administered the city’s public arts. Before that, she was part of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Grammy’s and supported professionals through the recording industry, as well as offered professional development workshops and political advocacy on behalf of the music industry. “I’ve always been passionate about arts management,” remarks Halberstadt, “and making available the structure and infrastructure for artists to thrive.”

What drew Halberstadt to Artist Trust was the fact that it’s one of the only places that supports the individual as an artist, including filmmaker, and what they need. She wants to help the organization keep doing the good work it does (it turns 30 next year!), and make sure it has great ways to expand. “We support artists of all disciplines, gender, ethnicities, etc. We broaden the base of artists we support and work towards building a geographic presence since we’re statewide,” Halberstadt adds.

Part of Halberstadt’s job is assessing the climate of Washington’s art community. “It’s very diverse and exciting, because there are lots of different disciplines and genres reflecting the culture. We wish to see cross-pollination. We also help them share space and resources so they begin to share ideas, leading to exciting results.” Filmmakers have the advantage and opportunity to connect with other artists – from all fields – to collaborate and breathe life into exciting new projects and concepts. For instance, a filmmaker could meet a painter or sculptor and the result of the relationship is a digital media exhibit. As an additional example, Artist Trust was a partner in the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival Fly Filmmaking Challenge – four Fellowship recipients’ works inspired four filmmakers to make a short film about the art and artist.

But that’s not all that benefits a filmmaker. “We offer filmmakers many things. First off, many of our grants are applicable to filmmakers,” says Halberstadt, “and our Arts Innovator Award – funded by the Chihuly Foundation – is a $25,000 grant that was awarded to filmmaker Clyde Petersen last year.” Something else Artist Trust offers that is very important to Halberstadt – and the filmmaking community – is professional development workshops. “We offer a range of workshops, such as ‘I Am an Artist’ which teaches the business aspect of being an artist.” Halberstadt stresses that “before being hired and making a lot of money, many filmmakers have been independents for so long that they are unfamiliar with the business side of art and film – Artist Trust supports the artist as both an independent business person and a creator.”

In the coming year, Halberstadt is most excited to celebrate the organization’s forthcoming anniversary. “We will have different events and workshops to allow artists to cross-pollinate, meet, and collaborate – it will be a productive celebration!” Artist Trust also just announced their Grants for Artist Projects (with proceeds and donations from the Seattle Art Fair) – yet another grant opportunity for media and content makers. Halberstadt, overall, loves the work she does at the organization. “What’s better than supporting artists and connecting them with opportunities,” she asks. “We give them the tools they need to be successful.”

Washington Filmworks thanks Shannon Halberstadt for her time, insight, and incredible work she does. Find out more about Artist Trust here and stay tuned to the website for details about the February 2016 anniversary.


Shannon Halberstadt is the Executive Director of Artist Trust, leading their efforts to support artists working in all disciplines throughout Washington State. Shannon has been working in arts leadership for over two decades, including roles as the Executive Director at Spokane Arts, PNW Executive Director at The Recording Academy (the GRAMMYs), and Managing Director at The Vera Project. Among her many volunteer and advisory roles, Shannon has been a member of Seattle’s Music Commission, Leadership Tomorrow’s (King County) Curriculum Committee, and a Mayoral appointee to the Seattle Center Advisory Commission. Shannon is a firm believer in the power of the individual artist to inspire positive personal and community transformation.