James Bewley, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

TITLE: Senior Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: Visual arts, writing, fine art

CONTACT: james@warholfoundation.org, 212-387-7555 

IP TAKE: Bewley is a funny guy, unlike much of the fine arts world who maybe take themselves a bit too seriously. Bewley knows how to poke fun at himself, but he doesn't take his role at The Warhol lightly, especially programs like the Warhol Initiative Convening, which he co-directs.

PROFILE: James Bewley is much more than just the Senior Program Officer at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He's also a visual artist, a performer, and a writer, whose work has been featured in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. He's performed in the past with the sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster, and at the Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune, among others. He's also the co-creator and voice talent for the award-winning animated web series Strindberg and Helium and the producer and host of the performance/podcast project, Dale Radio.

Before Bewley joined The Warhol, he was Director of Public Programs & Education at the UCLA Hammer Museum in L.A., where he organized a multitude of lectures, concerts, readings, screenings, workshops, and cultural events. He also briefly worked as programming manager for the always-interesting Park Avenue Armory in NY, which plays host to some of the most intriguing and cutting-edge artists working today.

At The Warhol, Bewley has proven himself indispensable in his work with fellow program staff in reviewing proposals for specific projects and programming. His work is integral to helping make the decisions about funding support for various arts organizations and museums throughout the U.S. He was also instrumental in the recent redesign of the foundation website and helped build and design the current Warhol Initiative website. Bewley is truly a modern Renaissance man.

One of the main areas Bewley is involved in at The Warhol is the Regional Regranting Program, a program that aims to support "vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country." It partners with organizations in Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Portland, and San Francisco to provide grants up to $4,000 for the creation and presentation of new work.

In a recent interview, Bewley laid out the core principles of this program: "Rather than push organizations into the 501c3 process, which in most cases would either be not appropriate or desirable, we found a way to reach them, in order to assist them in doing this vital work they do."

Being as artist-centric as The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is, they are also keenly interested in engaging on multiple levels, and under the Warhol Initiative they've developed a platform they've dubbed Convening Sessions as a way of connecting on a person-to-person level. These sessions are "intensive 3-4 day retreats to discuss a range of issues pertaining to artist-run spaces" and meant to be comprehensive networking events as much as anything else.

At a recent session, hosted by Bewley, he commented about their constant effort to improve how the foundation serves artists. "We're taking a moment to look at the initiative and ask if it is the best way to serve the field, following the current foundation model of being responsive... I want to hear from you about the ways you feel we could support you." What followed was a vigorous discussion of how the foundation could improve the work it does for its constituents, and the results seem to be working.

For an in-depth look inside Bewley's head, as expressed digitally, check out his own website.