Friday Fiver: Kerri Forrest

KLF Ashepoo Mar 2015Kerri Forrest is one of the best friends the arts community could ask for. She personally supports and consumes a variety of local arts, but also helms an organization that is one of the biggest arts supporters in the Lowcountry. Forrest has served as the Director of the Lowcountry Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation since February 2015. Her latest initiative is an arts survey in conjunction with a national nonprofit to assess arts space needs for the area. She is encouraging all artists and arts organizations to make their voices heard by taking part in the survey. It takes less than 15 minutes, and the input will be incredibly important for the arts community moving forward. Click here to take the survey.

We sat down with Kerri for today’s Friday Fiver.

  1. The Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality and regional collections in the Lowcountry and Chicago. How did those two locations become linked for the Foundation? The Foundation was founded in 1952 by Gaylord Donnelley, then chairman of the RR Donnelley Company and his wife Dorothy Donnelley. The family lived in both Chicago and the ACE Basin. Their love of the arts, the outdoors, and books was the impetus for the three program areas we fund in the two regions.
  2. What was on your radio on the way into work this morning? A podcast: Tritonia by two EDM DJ’s out of Texas. Best way to get the adrenaline going on a hump day.
  3. You have been working with Artspace Project, a national nonprofit, to conduct a survey of artists and arts groups on space needs. What are you hoping to learn from these surveys? The survey will tell us 3 critical pieces of information: where artists / arts organizations and creative businesses want to be located, what type of space they need (residential, commercial, studio, rehearsal) and what they can afford to pay for that space.  That information will not just tell the Foundation and our core group of partners from across the region whether a live/work space would potentially be successful (the type of project Artspace does around the country) but would provide local city planners, developers and others with hard numbers on what could be offered to artists. It will help everyone make more informed decisions.
  4. You’ve heard from quite a few different artists and disciplines with the survey. However, are there additional groups, areas or disciplines you would really like to encourage to take the survey? We have 3 weeks left to get responses from a cross section of our arts community, both individual artists and arts organizations/creative businesses. To date, we have not received responses from artists in the theater, dance, music or literary disciplines. Also, we’ve received fewer responses from artists currently living in North Charleston and few responses from artists and organizations of color. It’s important that we hear from all of these groups or important information about the arts community will be left out.
  5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and have one thing happen immediately, what would it be? A metro transit system would magically appear… but that’s another conversation…


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