We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheyanne Sauter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheyanne, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for Art Share came from listening to two things – the building and the community. I am only a conduit for connecting those two things. The Art Share building which is a 28,000 sq/ft space lends to creativity and connection. When I re-started Art Share 7 years ago, it was important that I listen to the community and see what the needs are. It doesn’t make sense to start something that nobody wants – you really need to see what the void is, where the whole in society is and your job is to fill that need. We found that artists needed an equitable access point to the art world. By giving artists the ability to show and share their work, we were giving them a chance to build their careers and compete in the growing market of artists in Los Angeles.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Art Share LA is a unique nonprofit that supports emerging artists as they find their success in an art career. We do this by providing space, resources, and job opportunities. Another factor that sets us apart is that we own our building so that gives us the security of operating with a lot of risk. Personally, it took me a while to become the Executive Director of a nonprofit. I took the”long way” and worked for many other nonprofits and businesses to build the acumen needed to run a business. I wanted to bring my best self to this job and support Los Angeles’ artists with my whole heart and my whole head. It wasn’t easy – it never is. Decisions are made that may piss of ONE to effect the MANY! That’s a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one. Being a leader means making hard decisions that are for the good of the people you serve. Indecision is the real killer. In mid-summer or mid-Covid, I have become an over-thinking and it’s lead me to be scared and inactive. I have had to analyze where this fear is coming from and come to terms with some scary truths. I realized that inaction is just avoiding and that doesn’t help anyone in the long run.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I wish COVID didn’t shut my city down. I love Los Angeles but with the cultural glue that keeps this city exciting closed, man, is it depressing. I always start at Olvera Street. Grab some food at La Luz del Dia restaurant, chill on the patio and people watch. Then we would walk down the alley towards La Golondrina restaurant to grab a couple of margaritas. We would pop up to Chinatown and make sure to hit Tierra del Sol and other great galleries in the Chung King Road area. Eventually, we would end up at Union Station for more people watching. I love exploring Downtown LA by foot. The Broad and Moca are musts! Then walking through the paths that weave around and connect the Omni to the Central Public Library and beyond are so interesting. My husband proposed to me in California Plaza and I love sitting there watching people rush to and from their jobs. During Summer months, there are beautiful concerts in the plaza. We would ride Angel’s Flight down to the Central Market so I can share the history of that beautiful building and how my grandmother went to the market every Saturday there in the ’30s. We would stroll over to La Cita for a couple of margaritas and then let the night take us from there. The Jewelry District and the Fashion District is where I spent most of my youth. My mom was a seamstress and so I was at Michael Levin’s every weekend. I love sharing that area with people not familiar and removing the stigma that those streets cause in so many people. I am constantly fearful that development and gentrification will take those businesses away from our City. And, you can’t miss the Arts District! Start at Art Share LA, because duh! It’s a great way to get to know the community and meet local artists. From there you can explore amazing contemporary art galleries in the neighborhood from The Box, Over the Influence, and then Hauser & Wirth! Stop off at Angel City Brewery for a quick season beer, then head south in the meat of the Arts District. Explore all of the murals at the Container Yard and beyond. Really, just get lost! There are so many areas in Los Angeles, but Downtown LA has always been a special place for me.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love so many women in the nonprofit and art world who have supported me and giving me the courage and encouragement. Each of these people are confidants and supporters of Art Share LA and of me personally. I know I can call any one of them to be there for me if I’m in a pickle. A huge shoutout to Susan Feldman, Shana Nys Dambrot, Julie Beezy, Ilia Lopez, Heidi Johnson, Paige Wery, Marily White, Cindy Schwarzstein and Megan Geckler.
The sepia-toned photo of the audience is @_blacklenz The rest are property of Art Share