On February 8, Creative Capital hosted a Spanish-Language Workshop in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs as our partner and with the generous support of Tequila Herradura. In our Core Curriculum for Spanish-speaking artists, we focus on strategic planning for artists of all disciplines as well as the basics of budgeting, promotion and verbal communications.
Part One in a series, The Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing: Tools for Artists to Advance Their Careers and Communities.
“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood
In 2012, I gave a presentation on strategic marketing at the Creative Capital Artist Retreat for first-time awardees in Visual Arts and Film/Video. They seemed instinctively wary of the topic, which I understood. Marketing is often used to exercise commercial, cultural or political influence over how we live our lives. The process can also suggest manipulation and illusion, a spectacle of bright lights and electronic billboards dedicated to making something much bigger than it can or should possibly be. The artist generally stands in contrast to this. She may have the same conflicted response to public regard as anyone else, but she is driven by a call that begins privately, often inside a workspace where she won’t be sucked into or sucked dry by what feels like an endless popularity contest.
Singer Eddie Vedder, whose band Pearl Jam was caught in the ’90s media glare on Seattle, addresses the consequences in the song, “Blood.” The lyrics switch from first person to third person as if vampiric forces of promotion have made him into separate people, one of whom he loathes: “Spin me round, roll me over, fuckin’ circus… Paint Ed big, turn Ed into one of his enemies.”
But as artists and as people, we seek validation—from an audience of one or of 100. We also know that, as a practical matter, while we make art in private, we make our careers in public—what some call “the real world”—and doing so requires learning how to talk about ourselves in a self-empowering way. Continue reading
In January, we kicked off our series of Tequila Herradura-supported workshops in Chicago, with our amazing Financial Literacy Workshop leader Amy Smith of Headlong Dance hosting two workshops in one weekend, first at 3Arts and then at the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC). Amy had a fantastic time leading the sessions, telling us, “The artists who participated in the 3Arts and CAC workshops were great. There was an amazing amount of trust and candor and sharing of knowledge in the room at both workshops. Many of the artists left feeling more empowered to value their own time more accurately and ask for what they need financially, and also to start figuring out long-term solutions to their financial problems.”
Latin Grammy nominated Toto Gonzalez, AKA Mr. Pauer, came from Venezuela twenty years ago and is a self-described performing artist and musician “with a passion for music and design” currently working as a producer, re-mixer, DJ and new media artist. We met up at the Creative Capital office this past summer and talked about his experience taking Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistas (our Spanish-language workshop) in 2012 with the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Throughout our conversation, we discussed the changes Gonzalez has made to his career since the workshop, many of which are due to his skillful strategic planning and sense of purpose with each career move he makes.
For Gonzalez, the workshop “was an eye opening experience, and it was a reality check too… I moved from my downtown studio—which was a basement—to a great location at The Light Box with a studio that really fits my needs, surrounded by different types of artists.” Continue reading
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 our PDP workshops and webinars here.
The road to success involves more than a single application and a ‘yes’ or ‘no‘ response. With grantmakers and donors of all stripes you’ll need to build relationships, just as you would when working with other partners—venues, galleries or collaborators. Funders and donors talk to each other and change jobs. Similarly, a regular contributor may love your work enough to bring friends and potential contributors to your next show—all you have to do is ask! The great impression you make on one funder may not yield immediate results, but it may help you down the line. Continue reading
We’re very pleased to announce that Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia will be a new Professional Development Program partner this April, when we will host a Spanish-language workshop there.
In exploring their website, it’s clear how dedicated Taller is to enriching the lives of the Latino community in Philadelphia, and we’re delighted to become a part of their mission! Their site describes the evolution of Taller as an institution, explaining that it’s grown from “a grassroots, Puerto Rican graphic arts community center to a respected institution that celebrates the arts of Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean. Providing an outlet for neighborhood children and youth, by providing after-school activities and programming rich in artistic and cultural discipline, remains central to the organization’s ongoing work.”
This year, Creative Capital was honored to be chosen as the charitable beneficiary of Herradura Tequila’s inaugural Barrel Art Program, in which the company challenged 77 artists in eight U.S. cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Austin, Miami and Santa Fe) to transform Tequila Herradura barrels into original works of art. In each city, a jury of local arts professionals and tastemakers chose one winner to receive a $10,000 prize and an invitation to the national competition, held last week during the art fairs in Miami, where the creator of the winning artwork received $100,000—one of the more generous monetary prizes in the contemporary art world.
As part of their commitment to the arts and individual artists, Herradura gave an additional generous contribution to Creative Capital to underwrite Professional Development Program (PDP) workshops and webinars for more than 200 artists in the competition cities. Continue reading
2013 is a landmark year for Creative Capital—we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of our Professional Development Program! In that decade, we’ve worked with more than 6,500 artists in 275 communities. In honor of each of those artists, we present the new monthly series PDP Stories, in which we’ll share our participants’ accounts of how we’ve impacted their careers and lives.
This month’s PDP story comes from Audrey Phillips, an artist from Maitland, FL, who attended a 2007 Core Workshop hosted by the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.
The Creative Capital PDP program made me aware of the task ahead: if you want to be a successful professional artist you have to diversify and stretch your talent. Even before the big market crash of 2008, the PDP program was introducing artists to different ways to get your art seen and purchased. It was making artists aware that the days of being solely represented (and funded) by galleries is over and we have to diversify our venues—and we, as artists, have to take charge of that. It was a hard-hitting message and a valuable lesson. Continue reading
Every few weeks, we’ll be posting 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 will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.
Getting Started: Almost all of your fundraising will be done through partnerships: with venues and presenters, advisory boards, and directly with funders and donors. Creative Capital advocates thorough and clear communications about money betwen funders, venues and artists. The better you articulate what you want, what you do and how much it costs, the better off the entire field will be. Thinking of your funders and donors as partners will help you find more opportunities and will make you easier to work with. You will be ready when a venue says, “We found a commission to apply for your project. We need 250 words and a few images. TODAY!” Conversely, if you find a funding source your partners haven’t reached out to yet, you’ll know how to help them through the necessary steps to bring more funding to your project. Partners will want to work with you again and again because you help them help you.
Something about the Artist Summer Institute (ASI), created and developed by Creative Capital and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), feels like the set up for a joke. “Fifty five artists walk into a workshop on tax basics and….” But the ASI is far from comedy. Over the four years it has been offered, ASI has become a fundamental resource that provides the best of LMCC’s Basic Finance for Artists program and Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program (PDP) to artists in all stages of their careers working across a broad spectrum of disciplines. And it has also become high in demand. ASI receives hundreds of applications to fill the 55 spots for the free week-long program.