Avoid “Artspeak”: Kirby Tepper On Talking Straight

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Kirby Tepper leading a workshop for Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program.

Kirby Tepper is a man of many talents: actor and educator 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. 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 February 27, Kirby will be giving a webinar on Effective Negotiation For Artists, where participants will learn how to ask for what they deserve with confidence. We asked him about his theatrical inspirations and the do’s and don’ts of artist communication. 

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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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Rule Your Universe: Dread Scott on Marketing Your Work

Dread Scott's "Burning the US Constitution."

Dread Scott’s “Burning the US Constitution.”

We all know that an artist’s work doesn’t end with her time at the studio. Artists are their own creators, and also their own cheerleaders. It is their passion for their art making that can get other people—be it viewers, curators, critics, or collectors—involved and interested in their practice.

Artist Dread Scott knows this better than most. The revolutionary potential of his own work—including installations, performances, and paintings—feeds off of the attention and participation of his community. On January 19th, he leads Creating a Marketing Strategy, our upcoming webinar that covers all aspects of marketing your work, including defining your goals, developing effective communication tactics, and building your support community. We asked Dread what artists need to know about MailChimp and how we can be rulers of our own universe. RSVP today!

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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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What Does Your Time Cost?: Real World Budgeting for Artists

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All artists should have a numerical value that represents the cost of their time that they use as a benchmark to assess how much they should be paid and as a clear signal for when they are selling themselves short. Remember – you are a skilled professional who deserves to be paid well for your work.

On Thursday December 15, choreographer Andrew Simonet will be leading “Real World Budgeting,” a comprehensive, artist-led webinar that focuses on the practical skills and knowledge artists need to change their relationship with their finances.

First on the agenda – knowing how much your time is worth.

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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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Community Engagement Projects: Breaking Down the Target Audience

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Amara Tabor Smith and Ellen Sebastien Chang perform “House/Full,” Photo by: Robbie Sweeny

If changing the world were easy, everyone would be doing it.
The goal of a community engagement campaign is to activate an audience to take action and make change happen — even when its not easy.

On November 10th, join Stephanie Bleyer for Producing and Funding Your Community Engagement Campaign, a 90-minute webinar dedicated to giving you all the tools you need to steer a successful and socially impactful community engagement project.

While it seems as though a social change campaign should have as broad an appeal as possible, it can often be more effective to be strategic about the audience that you are targeting. As Stephanie Bleyer stresses, unless you’re DisneyWorld or Taylor Swift, your message isn’t actually for “everyone.”

Defining your target audience is a critical step to take before attempting to fundraise or promote a project. In narrowing down your target audience it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

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