Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month with Kat Bloomfield
As August draws to a close, we wanted to save our last Black Philanthropy Month spotlight for Kat Bloomfield, the founder and CEO of Arts Business Collaborative. As an artist, entrepreneur, and leader, Kat's work is heavily inspired by her personal and professional experience in the philanthropic world.
When Kat first entered the workforce in 2012, she realized it wasn’t structured for people of color, especially women of color, to succeed. She understood that if she wanted to be taken seriously in the nonprofit sector, she had to work with primarily white-led organizations in order to develop career capital and be taken seriously. In 2014, tired of nonprofit industrial complex white supremacy, Kat resolved to find a way to help POC succeed in supporting their own communities. She developed the skills and social capital to found her own company with the desire to provide communities and artists of color with technical assistance, entrepreneurship support, research, community organizing, and fiscal sponsorship to address barriers impeding their success. Kat founded ABC the same year she received her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University.
NICOLE: What does your activism look like?
KAT: I prefer to work behind the scenes smoothing the way for folks to build and sustain social movements. That means making sure there are funds for social actions and protest bail funds, building institutions where movements can continue beyond the lifespan of an individual person, and creating strategies to decentralize power. I seek to remove barriers for others to lead.
I seek to remove barriers for others to lead.
NICOLE: What is your relationship with art and artistic practice? What kind of art do you love to create?
KAT: Throughout my life, the arts have helped me organize my thoughts and navigate social spaces. I create art that is highly detailed and connected to beliefs I have about myself and my place in the world. I enjoy the very specific processes of lithography and relief printmaking as well as the exactness of counted cross stitch. Like the pyramids of Egypt, craft and art combine to create a moment in time. My art is my meditation to quiet the gale-force winds of my mind.
NICOLE: What are you working on right now that really excites you?
KAT: I don't know that excitement is the right word. I'm anticipating the moment where I look back on all the meticulous work I've done with my multicolored cat cross-stitch project, and remember all the things I was thinking about when I was doing it. Each section is a catalogue of memories akin to a memory palace of experiences I had while making it. I'm looking forward to the final product where I can remember my life within a structure.
NICOLE: Do you have a favorite quote or some words of inspiration you'd like to share with folks?
KAT: When people show you who they are, believe them.
This interview has been edited for length or clarity.