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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Columnist interviews artist, founder of ‘Bad at Sports’ podcast

This summer I was accepted as a recipient of the Stuart R. Givens Memorial Fellowship Grant, which funded an opportunity to intern in an art gallery in New York City this past summer.

While there, I interviewed several people working in New York in varying creative professions.

Amanda Browder is a fine artist living and working in New York City. She is also one of the founders of “Bad at Sports,” a well known podcast about contemporary art, and taught at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to moving to the city. Some of her recent installation work using textiles and ‘community sewing days’ can be found, and more of her work and shows at

Question: Where did you go to college, and what was that experience like?

Answer: [Well] I grew up in Missoula, Montana. I was always the confused child moving to the new place, so I went to Beloit College for my undergraduate … Nobody really trained me on how to apply for [grad] schools, I didn’t go visit any places because I couldn’t afford it, and [University of Wisconsin-Madison] was close. My professor knows that professor, so I applied and got in, which was great. And it ended up being an amazing school.

I didn’t know what to expect, had no clue. But they were a teaching university so I got a teacher’s assistant position for two years and ended up paying for two thirds of my degree. I have no debt because of it, which is [really] amazing, plus I got all of this teaching under my belt, which was unbelievable. Then I got a job teaching for the Art Institute for Chicago right out of grad school. So I was 24 when I started teaching, which is [really] insane. Thank God I’m tall, because all of my TA’s were older than me, and they were wearing suits when they walked in, and I was like “Aw [no] I’m wearing pigtails.” How do you be “Yes, I’m authoritative! I’m a mean art teacher” in pigtails?

Q: How did you start teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago?

A: In some ways, you need the blind optimism of “I just tried.” I [had] ended up emailing the chair of the department saying “Hi, you should get to know me, let’s make an appointment.” And that was it! Not “I needed a job.” You should get to know me, I do fibers, can we meet sometime because that would be great. I mean I don’t know why this woman showed up, but she showed up and I was so terrified. She’s such an amazing artist, I have so much respect for her. “Why am I here, who are you, and what are we doing here?” And I was just like “Aw, ah, here’s my art!” And then by luck of the draw they were looking for somebody to teach computer programming and art and fibers and I could do that. So it just happened to work out.

Q: And what’s really the worst that can happen? You don’t get a job?

A: Yeah, and a lot of those times people will remember you in the future. “Oh yeah I met this person, maybe you need this person.” And I try to do that as an artist too. I think it’s really important to give back after you get something, like some karmic return. It just makes sense; I enjoy that connection, that conversation.

Read the full interview at, and see more about Browder’s work with the podcast “Bad at Sports,” her conversation about graduate schools and some of her own work as an artist.

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