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 they are artists themselves. Kirby and our other leaders can relate to the joys and challenges of being a professional artist. His own personal and professional experience is 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.

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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

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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: photos ???? Jacques-Jean Tiziou /

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

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.

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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.

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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

Setting Goals to Overcome Career Blocks

The Island, SuttonBeresCuller, 2005

The Island, SuttonBeresCuller, 2005

Artists are by definition visionary. This ability to envision the future doesn’t necessarily apply to our careers. It’s impossible to navigate to a destination you don’t know you’re going. Goal-setting gives you the agency to direct your own path to creative fulfillment. Take stock of your current situation. What are your wildest dreams? How do you get those career-defining commissions, win the most prestigious fellowship or get that fully funded international residency?

You’ll find some tips to get you started below. To develop an in-depth plan, sign up for Susan Koblin Schear’s upcoming Creative Capital webinar, Values-Based Goal Setting. The webinar explores how your values and guiding principles impact your art practice and provides a framework for establishing attainable goals that reflect these principles.  Continue reading

Social Networks: A Page From Our Handbook

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 an in-depth look at the current best practices for social media use, join museum marketer, comedian and social media expert Brad Stephenson for Social Media – How to Be Everywhere All the Time on September 14 at 7:00pm.

Jon Kessler , "The Web," 2013

Jon Kessler , “The Web,” 2013

Social networks have revolutionized the way people use the Internet. These online platforms for community engagement have impacted politics, culture and journalism. And they have done so quickly and completely through their potential for viral reach (if you tell two friends and they tell two friends, the effect multiplies exponentially). When you join a social network, you are participating in a multiparty conversation. This can be both liberating and confusing; staying on top your social networking presence can take a lot of time.
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Making Space for Your Practice: Upcoming Residency Opportunities

Uninterrupted time for art making is precious and too often elusive. A residency can reinvigorate an idling practice or provide essential time to finish a big project. The list below has something for artists of all disciplines with opportunities in international metropolises and remote villages.

An artist-in-residence at Fjúk Arts Centre making a sound recording in a local lake

An artist-in-residence at Fjúk Arts Centre in Iceland making a sound recording in a local lake

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