A Page from Our Handbook: Designing and Building Your Artist Site

In Detroit, Rola Nashef and Donavan Glover receiving their Creative Capital Artist's Tools Handbook

In Detroit, Rola Nashef and Donavan Glover receiving their Creative Capital Artist’s Tools Handbook. Photo Credit: Sarah Nesbitt, ArtServe Michigan. 

The following post comes from the Professional Development Program’s (PDP) Artist’s Tools and Internet For Artists handbooks, which are used in our workshops. If this piece leaves you wanting more, you’re in luck! On Monday February 13, PDP leader and artist Sue Schaffner will host a webinar on Web, Blog & Email Essentials. For more information on Creative Capital’s workshops and webinars, see our online calendar.

The first impression of your site is the most important. It should spark the viewer’s interest, either through an evocative image, media or through clearly presented information about you and your work. For some artists this can be simply a name, email link and a photo; for others it’s a menu of links to bios, catalog, media and an archive.

Start by looking at sites you love and see what strategies you can adopt. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

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Organizing Tax Returns? Top Tips for Artists!

Tax time isn’t fun for most people, but it’s especially hard on artists who have a diverse range of income from freelance jobs, gigs, commissions and part time jobs. That’s why every tax season, our Professional Development Program offers a workshop to help artists with their returns. On February 22nd, Creative Capital will host a workshop with Sandra Karas, an attorney specializing in taxes and financial planning (sign up here).

To get an idea of what she would be discussing, Sandra was kind enough to take some time out of her seasonably packed schedule to answer some questions!

Alex Teplitzky: Preparing taxes is especially difficult for artists. Can you give us 3 quick tips artists need to know before preparing their returns?

Sandra Karas: Organize! Organize! Organize! Those are the best 3 tips for any artistic professional, especially those who are self-employed or are independent contractors. If you don’t organize your records, who will? And if you don’t, you’ll lose valuable deductions on your individual and business tax returns.

Keep careful records of your expenditures and the receipts that prove that you spent the money. Conduct yourself as a consummate business professional, so that your website, promotional efforts, business bank account and other indications of your standing in the community are unimpeachable.

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Lessons in Sustainability: Five Questions for Sharon Louden

Sharon teaching at Chautauqua

Sharon Louden teaches at the Chautauqua Institution.

Sharon Louden needs no introduction. A successful artist, editor, author and advocate for artists, Sharon’s transparent and earnest approach to sustaining professional connections has made her four-part webinar, How to Approach and Engage with the Gatekeepers of the Art World, one of Creative Capital Professional Development Program’s most sought-out offerings. Back by popular demand, Sharon will be leading her series starting January 31st.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Sharon Louden and ask her five questions about how she manages to sustain her own practice, and what she’s learned along the way. If you want to learn more about how to communicate and build relationships with art world professionals, don’t forget to register for Sharon’s webinar.

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Financial Literacy: A Cheat Sheet for Artists

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Amy Smith and dancers from Headlong Dance Company performed at the 2015 Creative Capital Benefit.

It’s a well-worn cliche, but it’s true: “Knowledge is power,” and nowhere is this more apparent than in our financial lives. Because being deeply invested in money management often feels uncreative, many artists get comfortable with keeping their understanding of their financial health and future as vague as possible, a kind of “if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist” approach.

On January 25th, performing artist turned finance guru Amy Smith will be empowering artists to raise their level of financial awareness and literacy — regardless of their prior experience. It’s an excellent opportunity for artists to gain critical understanding ahead of tax season, a great primer for our Tax Preparation for Artists workshop coming up in February, and a unique chance for artists to set themselves on the right financial track going into 2017. Below is a sneak peek of many of the great insights Amy will be sharing during the workshop. For more detailed information, be sure to join us at the Creative Capital office on Wednesday January 25th, for “Financial Literacy for Artists.

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Tips and Tools: Advice from a First-Time Grant Winner

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“Assent” by Laine Nixon, Courtesy of Laine Nixon

Abstract painter and Professional Development Program alumna Laine Nixon recently applied for and won her first major arts grant: the John Ringling Towers Fund Individual Artist Award. When she talks about her recent win, Laine stresses the lessons she learned through Creative Capital’s “Grantwriting for Artists” webinar and was kind enough to share the top tips she walked away with that helped push her application over the top.

To experience Tracie Holder’s highly requested webinar for yourself, join Creative Capital on January 18th for “Grantwriting for Artists.

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Telling Our Stories on Our Terms — The Power of Strategic Marketing

The dangerous power of negative marketing, clockwise from top left: Detroit = miserable (photo by Rebecca Cook for Reuters); Occupy Wall Street = directionless (photo by Odell Payne); “A Fire In My Belly” video = sacrilegious; and prospective travelers = potential terrorists (photo by Craig Walker for AP).

The dangerous power of negative marketing, clockwise from top left: Detroit = miserable (photo by Rebecca Cook for Reuters); Occupy Wall Street = directionless (photo by Odell Payne); “A Fire In My Belly” video = sacrilegious; and prospective travelers = potential terrorists (photo by Craig Walker for AP).

As the saying goes, “everyone is trying to sell you something,” and in today’s hyper-connected digital world it couldn’t be more true. Whether it’s algorithmically personalized ads across social media, spam emails or product placement in popular music videos, we are constantly bombarded with branded marketing that is subtly attempting to influence the way we think about our selves, our desires and the people  in our lives.

Given all of this, why should artists want to participate?

On Thursday January 12, join Creative Capital artist leader and marketing expert Brian Tate for Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing, where he will detail how and why artists can and should understand marketing their work in a way that’s strategic and authentic.

According to Brian Tate, there are three main reasons why strategic marketing is essential for artists (now more than ever.)

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Internet for Artists: Best Practices for Effective Emails

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This is an excerpt from our Internet for Artists (IFA) Handbook. The IFA handbook is a collaborative online resource given to participants of Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists workshops. On January 23, from 7:00-8:30pm ET, join artist leader Sue Schaffner for our Website, Blog, & Email Essentials webinar where you will learn the full scope of best practices for managing your internet presence as an artist.

Some basic strategies for effective email communications

With the help of email, sending out communications about your projects couldn’t be any easier. Now commonplace and long accepted as a norm within the arts community, email is fast, easy, and cost-effective, but it’s not without its challenges. Getting your reader to open your message and read it is more difficult than you may imagine. Some strategies include:

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A Page From Our Handbook: Developing a Promotional Strategy

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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 how to build a promotional campaign that expresses the quality and character of your work, be sure to attend our November 7th workshop, Promoting Your Work with Jackie Battenfield.

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Congratulations to Stacey Kirby on her ArtPrize 8 Win!

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Excerpt from Stacey Kirby’s “The Declaration Project”

What would you do with $200,000?

That’s the question facing performance installation artist Stacey Kirby who recently won the $200,000 grand prize at ArtPrize Eight for her interactive performance piece, “The Bureau of Personal Belonging.”

Visitors to The Bureau engage with Kirby and other performers in the designated areas of the Bureau of Personal Belonging: the Department of Declarations, the Civil Validation Department and the Board of Elections and the Facility Permit Office. Each is occupied by a performer in the role of a government official and evokes an office setting tailored to represent the governmental process it critically examines – from issuing bathroom permits (in direct response to the infamous House Bill 2 passed in Stacey’s home state of North Carolina) to determining the validity of individual lives and experiences. The work culminates with participants’ handwritten responses being processed and mailed to public officials. President Barack Obama, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, various North Carolina Legislators and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are among recipients of Kirby’s work.

You can visit The Bureau remotely through the video of her work below:

It’s easy to treat massive wins like this as though they happened overnight and miss the hard work and learned lessons that make them possible. To this end, Stacey Kirby was kind enough to share 4 lessons she learned that helped pave her path to the ArtPrize grand prize.

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Be the Advocate Your Art Deserves: 4 Ways to Better Document Your Work

Documentation of On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Genocide and Slavery, a performance by Dread Scott, 2014. Produced by More Art. Photography by Mark Von Holden Photography (c) Dread Scott

Documentation of On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Genocide and Slavery, a performance by Dread Scott, 2014. Produced by More Art. Photography by Mark Von Holden Photography (c) Dread Scott

An effective marketing strategy keeps one truth at its heart – it’s all about relationships.
The goal of marketing your work is not to suddenly act like a used car salesman, but instead to facilitate the conversation between your work and your audience.

On October 13th, artist Dread Scot will be leading our Creating a Marketing Strategy webinar. Pulling from his long and storied career, (He once had former President George H. W Bush call his work ‘disgraceful’), Dread Scott will be sharing actionable tools and tactics for artists to create a marketing strategy that allows them to leverage their work into a greater conversation. Register Here
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