Creatives and caregivers: Meet the Fort Wayne transplant who launched Artist/Mother podcast

A Western New Yorker by birth, Kaylan Buteyn came to Fort Wayne by way of the small town, Paris, Tenn. Buteyn is not only an artist, but also the Founder of the Artist/Mother community and podcast, which focuses on the intersection of being a caregiver and an artist. 

In the latest episode, Buteyn sits down with artist Latoya Hobbs to talk about preserving culture and community through art. Other episodes cover topics, such as how to prepare for a successful solo show, how to turn your business acumen into a thriving art career, and a panel discussion about the Painting At Night show that was recently hosted by Artlink.

In collaboration with Artist/Mother Podcast, Artlink in Downtown Fort Wayne hosted a group exhibition, Painting at Night, in the winter of 2021, open internationally to artists identifying as mothers or lifelong caregivers.


Buteyn is also the founder of Stay Home Gallery in Paris, Tenn. where Artist/Mothers can apply for residency and bring their whole families along while dedicating time and energy to their craft. 

Input Fort Wayne caught up with Buteyn to learn about her work as a creative entrepreneur, how she landed here, and where she plans to take her artistic endeavors next.  

Artists Melanie Cooper Pennington and Kaylan Buteyn at a panel discussion about the Painting At Night show hosted by Artlink.

IFW: What brought you to Fort Wayne?

KB: We wanted to make a change for our family and move to a location that offered more options in terms of education, culture, arts, and diversity. My husband John was ready to move into a different position with his job, and he received an offer for the Director of Popular Music at Purdue Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne has been the perfect fit for our family during this season!

In collaboration with Artist/Mother Podcast, Artlink in Downtown Fort Wayne hosted a group exhibition, Painting at Night, in the winter of 2021, open internationally to artists identifying as mothers or lifelong caregivers.

IFW: Which neighborhoods did you consider when moving here?

KB: We looked a little bit at living in the 05, but we were 95 percent sure we wanted to live in the 07. I remember a rainy day in April 2020 while John was interviewing on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus, the kids and I drove around, and we saw all these encouraging signs about COVID and community in the 07. We fell in love with Foster Park and how the houses nearby offered such a direct link to the park and greenway. We feel so lucky to have gotten a home when we did as the market has changed a lot since we moved! 

In collaboration with Artist/Mother Podcast, Artlink in Downtown Fort Wayne hosted a group exhibition, Painting at Night, in the winter of 2021, open internationally to artists identifying as mothers or lifelong caregivers.

IFW: There are challenges and benefits to being an Artist/Mother, what are yours?

KB: Oh my, how much time do you have? Being an artist and being a mother have a similar impact on my life. Both roles or parts of my identity require so much energy and thinking space. In both roles, I experience a certain amount of loneliness and isolation. There is never enough time to create my work. In a lot of ways, they compete for my attention, and my children usually win. Being a mother has to come first, but being an artist feels like being myself… so, in denying my art life, I feel like I am sacrificing my essence sometimes. Of course, having children was a deliberate choice, one that I don’t regret. I am a better artist because of the ways I am forced to constantly grow and evolve for the sake of my children and family. 

There are also incredible cultural challenges to being an artist and a mother. Traditional “art world” lineage points us to artists for whom time was no leash, and space was no burden. Art by women remains drastically under-represented by the art world, and art made about the maternal experience can often be viewed as taboo or distasteful. Some days it definitely feels like there is a lot against us. However, I have found that the bonds created when artists who are also mothers come together in community are something I can’t imagine my life without. Artists need to be friends with other artists, but when that friendship is also compounded with the shared identity of being a parent, it’s an amazing connection, and the visibility it provides to your experience is incredible. 

Kaylan Buteyn and other Artist/Mothers in Downtown Fort Wayne.

IFW: What do you have planned for your podcast in 2022?

KB: More of what we are currently doing! Honestly, we have seen so much growth happen since we started in 2019. The podcast bloomed into exhibitions, programming, retreats, an online network, and more. Starting something new always comes with a lot of stress and decision making, so it’s been a challenging, yet so rewarding few years. Now that we are a few years in, it finally feels like we have settled into a rhythm. We know what we want to do in the world, what our vision is. We are putting effort into making those things happen without reinventing the wheel every time. 

We’ll be releasing episodes, continuing our Crit Group and Professional Practices program as well as hosting our annual community exhibition, Painting at Night, in New York state with Collarworks Gallery. We are planning on hosting our first in-person retreat since COVID hit in May of 2022 at Black Mountain, N.C., too!

Fort Wayne artist AfroPlump's work displayed at the Stay Home Gallery in Paris, Tenn.

Fort Wayne artist AfroPlump's work displayed at the Stay Home Gallery in Paris, Tenn.

IFW: Do you have any Fort Wayne artists currently being showcased at Stay Home Gallery?

KB: Yes! Lyndy Bazile! Honestly, Lyndy was a huge inspiration for our Represented Artists program at Stay Home Gallery. Representing artists wasn’t in our “plan” for the residency and gallery space, but when I met Lyndy in June 2020 and was talking with her about her wants and needs as an artist, I realized I had a resource I could share with her (a gallery space and platform to showcase her work). 

I pitched the idea of putting together a group of artists to my co-director at Stay Home, Pam Taylor. We came up with a plan to bring together eight artists and offer them a large group show at the space in 2021, as well as provide them with mentorship and resources throughout our year representing them. Lyndy was the first artist we asked, and it’s been such a pleasure getting to work with her and watch her work develop and grow over the past year. I feel so fortunate and lucky to know that amazing artists like Lyndy live in my community. I have never lived in a place where other artists like myself live, and I have so much gratitude for being in community with some amazing folks here. 

Buteyn is also the founder of Stay Home Gallery in Paris, Tenn.

IFW: What role does diversity and inclusion play in the Artist/Mother community and Stay Home Gallery?

KB: I feel like inclusion and diversity is pretty written into all of our conduct at A/M and SHG because we are coming from the perspective of providing visibility and opportunities for communities of people who feel marginalized by the art world. Representing artists who identify as women and nonbinary in both of our organizations and artists who are mothers creates space for growth and support for those people and allows them to advocate for change in their own communities. 

Buteyn is also the founder of Stay Home Gallery in Paris, Tenn.

Just like the art world, our communities skew more toward white and cisgender identifying persons, but we try very hard to make sure that we utilize the platforms and privilege we have at Artist/Mother and Stay Home to share the work of Women of Color and LGBTQIA+ artists. We partner with specific Black-run organizations like TILA, Black Women in the Visual Arts, and Tessera Arts to give residency opportunities to artists from those organizations. We offer scholarships for our programming at A/M and try to include and highlight as many leaders into our programming and jurying opportunities who are Persons of Color or who otherwise may be marginalized from traditional leadership positions because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or more. 

We also believe that the identity of “mother” is an open term and welcome conversations about all types of caregiving in our community. There is always more to do, and while we do this work of making our organizations more equitable imperfectly, we are committed to the journey. 

In collaboration with Artist/Mother Podcast, Artlink in Downtown Fort Wayne hosted a group exhibition, Painting at Night, in the winter of 2021, open internationally to artists identifying as mothers or lifelong caregivers.

IFW: What’s your favorite thing about Fort Wayne?

KB: My favorite thing about Fort Wayne is the people I have met and friends I have made so far and their genuine desire to put effort into making Fort Wayne a great place to live. I know a lot of locals who like to joke about how Fort Wayne is “not that bad,” and from my perspective, this place and the people who live here deserve a lot more credit. There is a deep intention I’ve found in the people here to make this place something special. Small businesses get a lot of support. Neighborhoods have an identity and culture of their own. People care about genuine goodwill and social justice. Conversations are happening about socioeconomics and racial diversity and how to bring more unity across the city. Restaurants care about supporting local farmers and producers of good food. There will always be more to do, but I really feel like people here are showing up and engaged in the work of intentionally building community here, and my family is full of gratitude to be a part of that spirit and join in that work.

In collaboration with Artist/Mother Podcast, Artlink in Downtown Fort Wayne hosted a group exhibition, Painting at Night, in the winter of 2021, open internationally to artists identifying as mothers or lifelong caregivers.

IFW: What impact do you hope to bring to the Fort Wayne art scene?

KB: I’m so grateful that I’ve been welcomed to the Fort Wayne art scene! I feel like there are still many more people to get to know and organizations to look into, which is a good feeling. I hope to provide more visibility and community for artists who are mothers in this area. I hope to engage with collectors and others who are interested in my art, not just my work with Artist/Mother. I’m looking forward to my first Fort Wayne show at Conjure Coffee in late March and April 2022!

Learn more

Artist/Mother Podcast & Community Founder
Website | Instagram 

Artist
Instagram | Website

Stay Home Gallery Founder in Paris, Tennessee 
Instagram | Website