Photo by Pioneer Works
By Isaac I. Scott
As the founder of Isaac’s Quarterly, Isaac Scott, I've faced the uphill battle as an artist who was formerly incarcerated, where my work was unjustly devalued, and my personal narrative exploited. These experiences propel Isaac’s Quarterly's unwavering commitment to establishing a platform where artists receive fair compensation and acknowledgment.
Navigating the challenging terrain of being a strictly practicing artist is an uphill battle, and Isaac’s Quarterly acknowledges the inherent struggle. Artists, especially those with a history of incarceration, often find it difficult to sustain themselves financially. Our commitment extends beyond fair compensation to addressing the broader issue of artists struggling to make a living solely through their art.
Isaac’s Quarterly stands at the intersection of art, justice, and social change. Our journey underscores the urgent need for fair compensation and acknowledgment in the creative industry. Far too often, artists, especially those with a history of incarceration, find their stories commodified without due recognition or compensation.
Our tireless commitment includes a strong emphasis on the role of artists in social change movements and legal and political advocacy strategies. The arts are a powerful catalyst for change, and Isaac’s Quarterly believes in harnessing this potential for a more just and equitable society. Artists should be recognized as integral contributors to social change, and their perspectives should inform legal and political advocacy strategies.
In this pursuit, we've established The Confined Arts (TCA), a charitable program developed by Isaac's Quarterly, LLC. Fiscally sponsored by Another Choice Youth and Family Outreach Inc., TCA cultivates and showcases the talents of artists directly impacted by mass incarceration and intersecting social justice issues. TCA empowers artists to express their voices through various art forms, aiming to abolish inhumane narratives and socially degrading stigmas associated with past experiences. Through collaborative activism, research, education, and training, TCA equips artists to influence policy change and advocate for a world anchored on empathy and healing.
Formerly incarcerated artists face unique challenges in obtaining fair compensation for their stories, and TCA actively addresses this by providing a platform for artistic expression and advocacy. Exploitation for the sake of an organization's fundraising campaign is an unfortunate reality that TCA seeks to combat, advocating for ethical storytelling practices that prioritize the artist's agency and dignity.
Racial disparities persist in the entertainment industry, with black actors and producers encountering distinct challenges. Black women, in particular, may receive more than they have in the past, yet the gap between their worth and actual compensation remains evident. Isaac’s Quarterly and TCA are vocal about addressing these disparities and promoting equity in the creative sector.
To better support local community-based artists, we propose concrete solutions. Establishing industry standards for fair compensation, promoting diversity in decision-making roles, fostering mentorship programs, raising awareness about the vital role of artists in social change movements, and supporting community arts programs like TCA are crucial steps. Collaboration with grassroots organizations and advocating for inclusive policies will contribute to a more just and equitable creative landscape.
In conclusion, Isaac’s Quarterly and TCA invite the artistic community and industry stakeholders to join us in building a future where artists are not only acknowledged but also compensated fairly for their invaluable contributions. Through collective efforts, we can create a thriving artistic ecosystem that reflects the richness of diverse stories and experiences, which plays a pivotal role in social change and advocacy, and supports the flourishing of community arts programs.
Isaac I. Scott is Five-time Change Agent Award winner, Multimedia Visual Artist, Journalist, and Independent Consultant.
EDITOR IN CHIEF
ISAAC I. SCOTT,