Revolutionizing Artist Empowerment through Fiscal Sponsorship

Time Period:
October, 2022 - June, 2023

Chrysalis is a groundbreaking initiative conceived to revolutionize artist empowerment, driven by the Mellon Fundnation's vision. Our primary objective is to empower artists, fostering financial strength, dignity, and freedom. Recognizing the pivotal role of fiscal sponsorship in achieving this mission, our project is strategically focused on enhancing its awareness and perception. Through extensive user research, we have identified key areas for improvement, including elevating fiscal sponsorship awareness, targeting audiences beyond the mainstream, fostering capacity building for both sponsors and artists, and establishing standardized processes with built-in flexibility. Chrysalis presents a unique opportunity to develop an innovative digital product that not only amplifies the impact of fiscal sponsorship but also transforms the overall experience for artists and sponsors alike.

Project Goal

A new infrastructure for fiscal sponsorship can complement the array of programs and services offered by sponsors-addressing our society's shortcomings in valuing artists through fair pay, worker benefits, efficient access to capital, and improving policies to better support artists.

Internal Interviews
Field Studies
Competitive analysis
Focus group Workshops
Empathy Map

User Journey
Infomation Architecture
Mid-Fi & High-Fi Prototypes
Interactive Design

Team Member

Alexis Stepanek
Director Product Strategy

Jassica Bouvier

Associate Strategy Director

Aimee Shi
UX Designer

Paul DeCotiis

Associate Design Director

Yael Gamson


By employing these user research methodology, Chrysalis aims to develop a digital product that not only meets the needs of its users but also exceeds expectations, fostering a transformative experience in the realm of artist empowerment and fiscal sponsorship.


Stakeholders Interviews
Artist Focus Group 

Competitor Research
Field Study
User Journey

Who will this product serve?

Primary User Groups

working artists and arts organizations

From all backgrounds, with a focus on those outside the mainstream

Independent, working artists and arts organizations

Global/national, state, and local organizations supporting artists of all kinds

Secondary User groups


Foundations and individual donors

Persona & Mindset

Within each mindset, we can also create personas to bring these mindsets to life. We have created examples that represent real people, to give them a stronger voice in this process. Mindsets can apply across multiple personas.

Primary User Groups

Artists and Art Organization

We are building personas based on three dimensions rooted in our conversations with artists:

"I'm excited for the future"
• Open and eager
• Willingness to own
• Goal-setting and planning

" feel overwhelmed and under-prepared"
• Closed off and frustrated
• Looking for someone else to manage
• Day-to-day

"I have faith in the ecosystem"
• Confident
• Looking for mentorship

"I'm skeptical of the ecosystem"
• Jaded, risk-averse
• Looking for insulation

Common needs across personas and mindsets

Funding your practice is a job in an of itself-leaving many artists with little time to create

Current funding models often do not take into account the true costs of an artist's practice

There are many kinds of administrative supports that artists are in need of, but rarely receive

Many artists feel alone in these challenges and lack meaningful ways to connect with one another