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Artists learn to code with nonprofit organization Fractured Atlas

Adam Huttler, executive director of nonprofit organization Fractured Atlas, believes that artists shouldn't have to starve starve. Instead, he thinks they should learn how to code.

fractured atlas fellowship Artists can apply to learn to code with Fractured Atlas.
Credit: Fractured Atlas

Adam Huttler believes that artists shouldn't have to starve while pursuing their craft. Instead, they can broaden their skills by learning how to code.

Huttler, executive director of the nonprofit organization Fractured Atlas,and his team are launching a software development fellowship for artists led by the organization's senior developers. Huttler said the summer fellowship, which lasts three months and pays a stipend of $5,000, is completely in line with his organization's mission to help artists succeed as entrepreneurs. Fractured Atlas is based in New York, but artists from around the country are invited to apply, as fellows can work remotely.

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"Our work is all about helping artists succeed and figure out new ways to build and sustain their careers, and a huge part of that is the day jobs that the vast majority of artists need to have," he said. "There's only a very small percentage of artists who make enough to live on from their art alone."

Huttler said in addition to helping artists build well-paid, stable careers, the fellowship will also provide the industry with programmers who have a deep understanding of the arts. "We have to build systems that incorporate terminology and concepts in the arts and culture world," he said.

Christine Zagrobelny participated in the pilot program in the fall and now works as an assistant developer at Fractured Atlas. Zagrobelny said she had been teaching herself to code for about a year, but learning from senior developers accelerated her learning process.

"It completely built my experience on Ruby on Rails, Javascript and web development from the ground up," she said. "When you have access to senior developers and people who can explain concepts to you and why something is built the way it's built, you're able to have a much more comprehensive understanding of the language than you are when you're muddling through it yourself."

Zagrobelny, who directs and produces theater, said programming offers her a flexible and fulfilling option to make ends meet. "Before starting the fellowship, I was working a reception job that was 40 or 20 to 30 hours a week," she said. "I still had to put in that amount of time at a job that wasn't in theater, and now I enjoy my day so much more and I get to work with things that are directly in my field during the day."

Huttler pointed out that software developers can often work remotely, and the higher pay rate allows them to take on fewer hours. "There’s a lot of flexibility baked into the career, which I think is very accommodating to a career in the arts," he said.

The deadline for applying for the Fractured Atlas Software Development Fellowship is April 30. More details and application guidelines can be found here. Three candidates will be selected to join the fellowship program, which will begin in June.

Here are other places where you can learn to code for free.

 
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