Program Faculty

Karen Atkinson

Karen Atkinson
Karen Atkinson is an installation artist, independent curator and founder of Side Street Projects, a nonprofit artist-run organization in Los Angeles founded in 1991, which exhibits the work of artists internationally. She gave it to the next generation in the year 2000 and it is still thriving. She is also the past President of the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (NAAO). She has exhibited and curated throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Cuba, Japan and South Africa and was included in the Fifth Havana Biennial in Cuba and the Paris Biennial. She has curated numerous gallery and traveling exhibitions and public projects, including the For the Time Being parking meter project, and Projections: intermission images — slides projected in commercial theaters between film screenings. She has produced a number of projects designed for the web and digital media. 

She teaches Getting Your Sh*t Together (GYST) workshops/classes/lectures both at CalArts and in the City of Los Angeles as well as around the country. She founded an artist run business for artists called GYSTInk, which creates software for visual artists to keep track of just about everything in their art career has support services, consultations and two publications about professional practices for artists. One is an artist manual and the other is a teaching manual for teaching professional practices. She also runs GYST Radio; and has a podcast called How The Art World Works. She has over 400 pages of vital information for artists on the GYST website for free, as well as online classes which she is currently developing. Feel free to drop me an email. I can be reached at or


Photo credit: Harry Gamboa Jr.