A Page From Our Handbook: Determining Your Artist Fee

From Jim Findlay's Botanica, 2012

From Jim Findlay’s Botanica, 2012. Photo by Joshua Higgason

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendees, written by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about all of our PDP workshops and webinars here. For more strategies on building a strong foundation for your business as an artist, check out Art Business Management on February 18.

Turning in a budget with no artist fee can lead a reader to think you are not accounting for your own time. A benefit to adding an artist fee to your budget is that you can track the investment you make in your work; this can lead to better pricing strategies, a revised timeline for projects and better long-term financial stability. Continue reading

Finding Time & Money in the New Year: Opportunities for Artists

Kooshk Artist Residency Award Participants 2015

2015 Resident Artists at Kooshk Arts Center Working

We all know that the beginning of a new year is a popular time for setting lofty goals and dreaming big. Resolutions are a great starting point, but making time to put your goals to paper and developing a plan will help you climb out of the impending resolution rut. Start with researching what financial and material resources you need for your next project, potential partners and residencies in locales that will complement your practice. Below you’ll find national and international artists residencies to get you started, as well as listings where you can find more more residencies, fellowships and funding opportunities. The Creative Capital blog is also a great knowledge base of resources from our staff, awardees and professional development leaders. Check out Tips and Tools for quick guides to writing letters of interest, preparing proposals, social media, promoting your work and more. Continue reading

How to Write a Compelling Letter of Interest

"Bower," Lynn Basa, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

“Bower,” Lynn Basa, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

Are you interested in winning public art commissions but find yourself overwhelmed by the application process? Many public art projects begin with an RFQ, or request for qualifications. Answering an RFQ with a compelling letter of interest is crucial to advancing past the initial stages of selection. Each letter you submit should be specific to each project. The following frame for writing an effective letter of interest is drawn from Lynn Basa’s Creative Capital webinar, Demystifying Public Art. Register for the next session, happening December 17, 7:00-8:30pm EST.

First Paragraph:
Specifically address your interest in the project. Refer to the RFQ, but be careful not to just reword what it says. Your letter of interest should show that you understand what the agency or selection committee is looking for, that you feel an affinity for it and that you took the time to do some research. Continue reading

Meet Kirby Tepper: Communications Coach for Artists

Kirby Tepper leading a workshop at Artists Summer Institute 2013

Kirby Tepper leading a workshop at Artists Summer Institute 2013

Kirby Tepper is a Renaissance man: performer, songwriter and actor are just a few of the hats he wears beyond the confines of his day job as a licensed psychotherapist. The same interpersonal expertise that makes him valuable to the clients in his practice also serves to empower his artist peers.

Perhaps you’ve caught Kirby on television shows like Cheers or Wings or maybe you’ve found yourself humming along to one his songs, like “Merry Men” in Shrek. One of the hallmarks of our professional development leaders is that they are artists themselves. Kirby and our other leaders can relate to the joys and challenges of being a working artist. His own personal and professional experience serves as a resource for the artists he coaches.

Though he particularly enjoys working with artists, Kirby has helped people from many backgrounds, including doctors, writers and lawyers, find a more confident, direct communications style. On his verbal communications training, he says, “In this work I continually rediscover the need everyone has—artist or not—to acquire skills that help in developing friends and business relationships. I love working on those issues—even being specific about how to make small talk at parties or how to overcome fear in public speaking.”

Kirby Tepper

Interested in consulting with Kirby on an upcoming presentation, speaking engagement, meeting or negotiation? Click the button below for more details on Creative Capital’s Career Coaching for Artists series.

register here

Finding Balance as Artists and Parents

In Artists Raising Kids, Andrew Simonet points out, “We live in a culture that’s not very good at supporting artists and we also live in a culture that’s not very good at supporting parents.” Pursuing a creative life in our society may feel like a relentless uphill run. Add children and that molehill can quickly become a mountain.

Choreographer and Webinar Leader Andrew Simonet with his two sons Nicolo and Jesse

Choreographer and Webinar Leader Andrew Simonet with his two sons Nicolo and Jesse

Continue reading

4 Myths about Artists’ Finances

Headlong Dance Theater: rehearsal for 'Desire' - with Andrew Simonet, Amy Smith and David Brick et al at The Performance Garage. For more info: www.Headlong.org photos ???? Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.net

Andrew Simonet during a rehearsal for Headlong Dance Theater’s “Desire” at The Performance Garage. Photo: Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.net

There are a great deal of misconceptions about artists and money in our society. Regrettably, too many artists have internalized the stereotype of the starving artist or the idea that their competence with numbers is lacking. Choreographer Andrew Simonet dispels several myths about the finances of artists in the webinar, Real Life Budgeting.

MYTH: Artists are bad with money.
Ask an artist about the jobs they’ve done, unimaginable amount of hours they’ve worked and the paychecks they’ve stretched to make sure their art could be made. Most artists are incredibly adept at managing their revenue, they just don’t have enough of it.

Continue reading

Building and Sustaining Professional Relationships: Tips from Sharon Louden


Sharon Louden recording an interview with Bad At Sports

Sharon recording an interview for Bad At Sports

Sharon Louden is a remarkable individual; she is a successful artist, editor, teacher, consultant and leader in Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program. Sharon delivers invaluable guidance on communicating with art world figures in the four-part webinar, How to Approach and Engage with the Gatekeepers of the Art World. Sharon’s transparent and earnest approach to sustaining professional connections is drawn from her own experiences and her decades of experience working with other artists. Below you’ll find some tips adapted from Sharon’s course that we and past webinar participants have found most useful. Continue reading

10 Tips for Performance Artists Working With Museums

Sarah Michelson's performance at the Whitney Museum in 2014. Sarah also performed at the "New Circuits" conference at the Walker this past month.

Sarah Michelson’s performance at the Whitney Museum in 2014. Sarah also performed at the “New Circuits” conference at the Walker this past month.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting with colleagues for New Circuits: Curating Contemporary Performance at Walker Art Center, a convening supported by a curatorial fellowship grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. We came together to discuss new models of performance curating, particular how they are supported within the museum setting. In addition to learning about the incredible work being created across the country by these forward thinking artists and curators, I learned a lot about what artists can do to better advocate for themselves. Here is my Top Ten list, the best things I heard from curators who want to help you help yourselves!

  1. Before accepting a commission, performance or residency, instead of giving the director or curator your proposal, Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA), suggested that artists provide a wish list instead.  That way the curator or director can tell you how they can support your creative process and how they can’t.

Continue reading

Best Practices for Building Your Artist’s Website

This is an excerpt from our Internet for Artists (IFA) Handbook. The IFA handbook is a collaborative online resource given to participants in Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists workshops. Register for the Website, Blog, & Email Essentials webinar on October 8, 7:00-8:30pm ET to learn the full scope of best practices for your website.

Sue Schaffner discusses Internet Strategies for Artists at Artists Summer Institute 2014

Sue Schaffner discusses Internet Strategies for Artists at the Creative Capital | LMCC Artists Summer Institute 2014

Your website should be completely dedicated to you and your work. Think of it as a studio visit or a reading where you are not present. Continue reading

Non-Writing Tips for Getting Published

Have you been grinding away at your novel for years? Maybe you’ve got a great book in you but don’t know where to take it? Or perhaps publishing a book is the next step to establishing your expertise in your field. Creative Capital is launching a brand new workshop this month for artists seeking publishing strategies. Join us for Storyselling: The Secrets of Successful Book Proposals at Creative Capital’s office in Downtown Manhattan on September 30, 6:15-9:15pm for an intensive “how-to” on getting your words out there.  The experienced editor, author, and workshop leader Victoria Rowan offers the tips below for aspiring authors. 

Victoria Rowan

Victoria Rowan at the Ideasmyth Event “Monogamy Memoirists Meet their Match,” displaying all the finished products of our the Ideasmyth Family

Here’s the good news: Over my 30+ years of working as an editor or writing coach to all types of creative professionals, I have personally witnessed that anyone who really wants to be a published writer will succeed.

The reason why so many people fail is that they aren’t aware of some of these essential non-writing tips: Continue reading