On a recent weekend in Miami, 13 artists had the chance to experience one of the Professional Development Program‘s (PDP) newest two-day workshop combinations: Authentic Branding and Internet for Artists, hosted by the incredibly supportive Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Creative Capital’s Krista Fabian DeCastro joined the group in Miami and let us in on the weekend’s events:
The PDP Authentic Branding workshop begins with the humbling and illuminating First Impressions Exercise. Each artist stands up and the rest of the group has 45 seconds to mark down all the adjectives that describe them. “We size each other up in seven seconds,” says Authentic Branding workshop leader Maxine Lapiduss. “It’s not good or bad, it’s just how our brain works.”
Maxine then leads the participants through a process of figuring out the essence of who they are, the essence they portray, the essence they want to portray, and WHY they make art, so that they can craft a story that will be memorable and attract audiences and supporters. “People want to get to know someone and come see their work if they are being authentic,” Maxine advises. “Weave your deficits and strengths into a story, show your vulnerabilities.”
After grappling with these questions, the participants start to re-craft the language of their bios and artist statements to better reflect what makes their work, as well as themselves, unique. By the end of the day, it’s clear that everyone is well on their way toward accomplishing the goals set out in the morning, which were:
- Carve out and clarify your authentic persona
- Identify your audience/target them effectively
- Craft your bio
- Simplify your message
With that, the group is ready to move onto day two, Internet for Artists.
Now that the artists are beginning to understand how they want to portray themselves and their work, workshop leaders Dread Scott and Sue Schaffner, both Creative Capital grantees, introduce online sharing tools that can advance their careers and grow their community of followers, as well as online administrative tools to help keep it all from being overwhelming. How do you share content online while also protecting yourself? How do you set clear goals for what you want from your online presence? How can you keep up with all the technology platforms without sucking half your week into it, time you could be spending creating your art? A large part of the day is spent on website best practices and personal website review and advice for each artist.
“This is very powerful,” says Claudia Calle, a Miami-based artist. “Since I took the first workshop, it changed my career. I’m getting more organized, I have more tools, and more clarity about my work, why I do it. Maxine is very powerful. She pushes you to go in and to find the essence of who you are. Very challenging questions, but very powerful.”
Adriana Perez, Programs Administrator at the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, who hosted the workshop, says, “Each time we gather for one of Creative Capital’s Professional Development workshop sessions, I see the artists around the table take the new tools and skills they have acquired and move up to the next level both professionally and personally. During this particular workshop, I observed the participants getting comfortable in their own skins and embracing who they are, and not conforming to who they thought they were supposed to be.”
PDP is always inspired by working with the talented artist community in Miami. Luckily, those outside of Miami have opportunities to engage with our webinar leaders as well. Both Sue Schaffner and Dread Scott are leading upcoming PDP webinars, on topics directly pulled from this workshop. We hope you can join them! Sue will host a “Web, Blog & Email Essentials” session on October 6th, and Dread will offer his “Creating a Marketing Strategy” webinar on October 9th. You can participate from home by signing up here.
Photos courtesy of Krista Fabian DeCastro.