Last updated on June 30, 2019
As a firm believer in the spirit of the notion “Community over competition” as well as the knowledge that capitalism creates a false sense of scarcity, I’m of the opinion that resources should not be hoarded.
In that spirit, I’d like to offer up this space for sharing resources that I’ve come across that have helped me in some way or that I think look interesting or helpful.
If you’re looking for resources about disability, I’ve got a section right up top here for you that includes where I get my assistive devices, disabled people I appreciate, supportive websites, and more.
If you’re queer and/or trans/nonbinary (or someone who wants to support as an ally), I have several resources that I’d be happy to recommend to you, including funding opportunities, emergency housing, legal information, health resources, community groups, outreach programs, and more.
If you’re fat, I have a small, but growing collection of resources for you to check out if you’re interested.
If you’re a fellow creative looking for information about how I started my work as an independent artist, I’ve got a whole huge section for you at the bottom that includes everything from books I’ve found helpful to websites that share their own knowledge to how I created my website.
Please know that I do not make any money from any links shared in this. If you have any additional resources you think I should know about, please feel free to share with me! I’m most active on Instagram and Twitter, so you can reach me there. :] [smiley]
Here are some assistive devices and tips I use.
- Blue light blocking glasses, sunglasses style
- Blue light blocking glasses, wraparound style
- Cane, I got my metal black cane at a local pharmacy in Brooklyn for $9
- If you have Medicaid, you can have a doctor write you a prescription for medical equipment that will enable you to get free or reduced cost goods through your insurance
- A lap desk helps me reduce back pain when I’m working
- iPhone alarm clocks for reminders throughout the day to eat, take medicine, sleep, and do various personal and work tasks
- iPhone notes for quickly typing out things I need to remember to do since brain fog and executive dysfunction and fatigue can make remembering hard
- Kindle for lightweight way of reading heavy materials that also doesn’t include a migraine-inducing blue light
- The New York Public Library has an ebook program that enables you to borrow ebooks like you can tangible books
- If you don’t have a Kindle, Nook, etc., you can usually access the free apps associated with them on your smartphone
- A planner
- I can’t do much without my planner! It helps me stay organized and to not forget important appointments I have to make months in advance, as well as birthdays, special occasions, meal planning, and goals and other fun stuff throughout the year.
- I also use them as quasi-journals. They’re wonderful ways to keep your memories alive
Disability Resources, Organizations, and Support
- Disability Visibility Project, shown in the first video up above, is an amazing resource run by Alice Wong that shares disabled news, disabled resources, and thoughtful pieces written by disabled folks; there’s also a website dedicated to DVP’s podcasts spotlighting disabled folks and topics, as well as news and other great stuff
- Ramp Your Voice, founded and run by the phenomenal Vilissa Thompson, is a self-advocacy source where you can go for any services you may need for educational workshops, consultations, and more for raising disability empowerment and inclusion
- Rooted in Rights, with staff members such as Vilissa Thompson and Emily Ladau, is a group focused on amplifying the stories of disabled creators through video storytelling and encouraging other creators to create accessible content. They also work with disabled creators to improve their storytelling skills and expand their reach
- The Disability Holiday Gift Guide is a great resource curated by the wonderful Emily Ladau which annually features some fantastic disabled creators you can support each holiday season and all year-round
- Disabled Writers is a site dedicated to profiling disabled writers, experts, advocates, and more. They work to improve the use of disabled people in media, and it’s a great place to consider if you’re a disabled person looking to get listed or if you’re an organization looking for a disabled person to hire for your group
- The Disabled List, mentioned in the second video above, is a super cool site that connects creative disabled folks who are available for collaboration
- The Mighty is a disability-centric website that encourages education of disabilities and living with them, but be warned– they have been known to be cop-apologists and outright supportive of the hate group Autism Speaks
- National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a pretty cool and informative page that’s great for learning about certain illnesses/disabilities
Assistive and Adaptive Device Help
These are some resources I’ve found for assistance in getting assistive devices, but I haven’t tried them myself, so take care!
- May We Help creates and modifies customized accessibility devices
- F.R.E.E. Foundation provides free assistive devices for folks in Virginia, USA
- Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) works with folks in the Stone Mountain area in Georgia, USA to provide disabled folks with assistive devices
- The Kids Equipment Network, while it unfortunately uses the term “special needs,” seems to provide children with assistive devices in the Chicagoland area
- National Organization for Vehicle Accessibility (NOVA) provides grants for those making vehicle modifications for mobility issues (it provides mostly for people who are almost fully funded already)
- Pass It On Center has information on where to find groups that try to connect you with assistive devices in your state!
- Special Kids Fund, while it unfortunately uses the term “special” to refer to disabled people, seems to provide support in getting disabled folks of low income with wheelchair accessible vehicles
- Variety Children’s Charity of Wisconsin provides a variety of services for people under the age of 21, but they also use outdated and inappropriate terms such as “special challenges,” so be cautious
For My Fellow Queers
I’ve got a few places to suggest as resources for queer and trans/nonbinary folks who might need it. Love to you! 💕 [hearts]
Black Trans Travel Fund, run by the amazing Devin Michael Lowe, is a community-led effort to help protect Black trans women from violence. It’s a donation-based fund for helping Black trans women in New York and New Jersey (with hopes for expansion) travel safely using non-shared Uber and Lyft rides.
The Okra Project is another community-led group working to address food insecurity in the Black trans and gender non-conforming community. You can support them as a Patron on their Patreon page, or you can donate directly to their PayPal. (Their PayPal e-mail is also firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) is a group working with trans people to eliminate discrimination against us as a group by taking on legal cases and also through educational programs. They also have The Name Change Project, which is a collaborative program that helps low income trans folks get legal name changes for free in NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, Pittsburgh, and other cities with the help of lawyers working pro bono! I have firsthand experience receiving a name change with the program and can’t recommend them enough. If you have concerns about your safety, they can also help you get your name change done privately without having to publish your name in the paper.
Audre Lorde Project is a community organization group in NYC focused on the needs of BIPoC queer and trans/nonbinary folks, and they do lots of outreach programs, including fun events like the Brooklyn Pride parade, and helpful ones like community safety training, self defense, group healing, skill-building, and so much more! I really recommend following them on social media since they’re very active online and post a lot of their upcoming events on there.
Callen-Lorde is a health care, education, and advocacy group dedicated to providing health services to the queer and trans community. They provide everything from primary care to dental care to behavioral health care and more, with a focus on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. They maintain regular outreach programs that you can check out on their calendar, too.
Casa Ruby is a wonderful group in the Washington D.C. area that provides a large variety of services to the queer and trans community, including housing for those who need it, youth housing and transitional housing for folks between 18 to 24, health care information, immigration assistance, assistance for victims of domestic violence, social services, and more. They also do advocacy work and educational outreach, and they have fun events like the DC Trans Ball!
Transgender Law Center is an advocacy group led by trans people that engages in outreach and advocacy programs such as the Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE) and Positively Trans (T+). They also have a Resources page that offers information on legal situations trans folks may have questions about, such as anti-discrimination laws, immigration rights, health care benefits, and more.
Here are several sites that are dedicated specially to transgender health care in the United States. I can’t speak to them from firsthand experience, but I hope it’s a helpful place to start. Please be careful, though, since not all of these state that they are trans-owned, and many of them rely on the medical providers to simply state that they are friendly to trans people without necessarily any evidence of that.
- My Trans Health
- TransEquality (also has helpful information about US federal and state laws against discrimination, insurance and transition coverage, and more)
- Transgender Care Site
- Transgender Health Network
- Trans-Health (also has recommendations for Canada and England)
For My Fellow Fats
Clothing and Other Resources
I decided to make a document housing links to all the places that carried even some clothes that actually fit me because I was tired of being limited mainly to ASOS Curve, Modcloth, and Rainbow. I included places that are big box stores and places that are custom-made by independent artists, keeping a range of possibilities in mind. As I was making it, I thought about how frustrating it can be to find clothes and that I want to share this document with others who might be having the same issue. So please check this out if you are! I’m about a 3X or size 22, so I know I’m privileged to be able to access even these places. I’ve included my measurements so you can get a good idea of what I look for, as well as a full body photo of myself next to the measurements so you can get an idea of my body shape, too. I hope you’ll consider adding places you like into the comments of the doc, too! The world’s a better place when we share. 💕 [hearts]
For My Fellow Creatives
Books for Working as an Independent Artist
Here are books I have found helpful at one point or another in my life. I also can’t recommend the public library enough for both their books and also their free services and resources. (Psst! Don’t forget to donate to them occasionally, too, to keep their resources available and free!)
Alphabetical order by title:
- The Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube by Michelle Goodman (ISBN 10: 1-58005-186-3)
- Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon (ISBN 978-1-4521-2826-9)
- Craft, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco (ISBN 13: 978-1-4521-0141-5)
- The Girl’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio (ISBN 10: 0-06-052157-0)
- Guerilla Art Kit: Everything You Need to Put Your Message Out into the World by Keri Smith (ISBN 10: 1-56898-688-2)
- In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney (ISBN 13: 9781579655976)
- The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide by Peri Pakroo, J.D. (ISBN: 9781413322750)
As I mentioned above, the library is a phenomenal resource that has helped me tremendously. Things that I think are helpful for folks starting their own business/website are their free workshops, financial counseling, and free one on one business counseling. They also frequently have community-based groups that meet as support/encouragement/networking meetings, along with outside organizations such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) that come in to offer additional resources.
And of course, there are obviously lots of great book options at the library! The New York Public Library (NYPL) has a lot of great ebooks and even audiobooks available to help you get access to books more easily and quickly. They also have research-specific branches such as the SIBL location, and they have access for computers, printers, scanners, and so on should you ever need them.
There’re also DVDs and other forms of digital media you can pick up and enjoy there, too, as well as the NYPL’s Kanopy program that’s like their version of Netflix or Hulu. There are popular shows and movies, as well as things like exercise videos and documentaries and such.
And for those of you who are disabled like me, there’s an option to have books delivered to your residence! This is something I recently learned about and am signing up for soon. The downside to this is that you have to have a doctor or nurse sign off on you being disabled, something that obviously restricts access for those who are unable to get medical care or even get a diagnosis/a medical professional to agree with their being disabled. But if you’re able to get it, I encourage you to do so! If not, I hope you have someone willing to help you with picking up/dropping off materials– if so, you can have them do it using your card. You may or may not have to sign an authorization form for this, but with the NYPL, I’ve asked and have been told that I don’t need a form for that.
This section is a mixture of resources for both making art and selling it. I’ve found it helpful to look to other artists on their experiences in selling their work and how they create their work and price it and all that jazz.
- The Abundant Artist
- Agora Gallery
- Art Law Journal
- The Artist Market Co
- Creative Market
- Finer Works
- Saatchi Art
- Skinny Artist
- Pricing– be sure to include overhead, labor, cost of materials, taxes and fees, packaging, and any other related fees in your formula! Here are a couple of places that offer up their approach to calculating the price for their work:
Classes + Workshops
If you like or need structure to help support your learning, here are some places to check out that often have free trials and/or free classes:
Shops and Supplies
I hope to grow this section to feature more options that include local and marginalized owners!
- Blick Art Materials for art supplies, often more affordable
- ClearBags for some shipping supplies
- EcoEnclose for some packaging supplies
- Etsy for some packaging supplies
- Michaels for art supplies, has lots of sales all year and coupons
- MOO for business cards
- Valore Books for books I can’t get at the NYPL or want for keeps
Business + Legal Resources
This section includes a lot of resources that helped me to understand what requirements there are of me as an independent artist working as a freelancer.
- The Balance
- Christina CEO
- Contract examples and info:
- Crafter Coach
- Elissa Carden
- Etsy– while it’s obviously made for selling on their own site, you can still use their info to help improve your own shop whether it’s with their site or on your own. I recommend starting with the first link and then checking out the rest of the Seller Handbook:
- Find Law
- Free Advice Legal
- The Friendly Red Fox
- Fuzzy & Birch
- Graphic Artists Guild
- The Handmade Business
- Holly Casto
- Jeff Bullas
- Judge Faith— no joke, these court shows can have some helpful real-life situations to learn from! Many are staged, but they often contain real legal situations that can help you prepare for what things might be thrown at you (like how important a contract is lol)
- Made Urban is a resource I’m still looking into, but here it is!
- NYC and NY State specific resources:
- NYC Bar for free legal services
- NYC Business
- NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs for financial counseling
- NYC’s Department of Small Business Services
- NYC’s Department of Small Business Services on EventBrite for free workshops
- NYC Zoning information
- New York Public Library has great free workshops
- NYS Department of State Corporations: Corporation and Business Entity Database
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- Small Business Administration (SBA) and their Business Guide
- Thrive Hive
- Twelve Skip
- The US Census might be a good place to look if you need demographics on your target audience, your location, etc.:
Learning how to make a website as someone who is not the most technology-inclined was definitely a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth it to have my own site that I can control on my own, but I did find myself having days where I just wanted to give up because of how much jargon I needed to learn just to get a basic site up and running. Here are some resources that helped me, along with a page I’ve dedicated specifically for people who find themselves feeling like I did and just want some help.
And here are some pages I have found in response to my questions:
- What is RAM in a website?
- How much RAM for an average WordPress site do I need?
- What’s the difference between memory and disk storage?
- What’s the difference between bandwidth and processing RAM?
- What’s PCI-DSS Compliance, and do I need it for WooCommerce?
- What is SSL, and how do I do/get that?
- Save 65 Hours and $361: 10 Mistakes I Made with My First WordPress Website
- How to choose a hosting service/Hosting service reviews:
So that’s it for now! If you have a question not answered on here, please feel free to get in touch with me on Instagram or Twitter, and I’ll be happy to share what I can with you and then post it here for folks to see and benefit from, too. I wish you well and the best of luck!