Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Success is in the eyes of the beholder"

Well, it's been a little while since my last blog entry. It isn't because I didn't want to write, it's because I haven't have the time to write. I decided back in March that come April I was going to take a class through the local arts council and that decision has managed to have positive side effects. One of those is the lack of time. I know normally this is a bad thing, however, in this case, it is good and I am grateful for it.

The Arts Council of New Orleans has had a program for a long time called Artists as Entrepreneurs. I found out about it a while back and wanted to take it. The problem with that is I live in Baton Rouge. Not convenient although I was determined that I would try to make it work if I could. Lucky for me, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge was already working with Gene Meneray of the Arts Council of Greater New Orleans to bring that class to BR.  Bingo, I signed up. This is an 8-week course and we met on Tuesdays from mid-April through the first of June from 4:30-6:30 pm.  A hard thing to manage between soccer season practices, swim practices, final exam prep time, and regular homework. I managed to only miss 2 of the 8 so I am calling success on that.

The classes covered a variety of the aspects of the business of art some of which included business goals, self promotion, marketing and social media, branding, galleries and venues, business plans and financing, and career planning. My goal was to try and make sure I was on the right path with my work and hope to get a couple of good things out of the program. I got so much more. I went into this thinking I had covered everything that I could possibly cover within my means of time, money, involvement. I was wrong. There are so many more things to think about with our art. Plus, I managed to meet artists that work in media that is so different from what I do. We all have different visions of art. We are all creative beings. We all came together looking for different things out of this program and I am sure that what the other 15 participants managed to take away with them is different than what I got out of it. And, I believe, that was part of the success of the class.

One of the most important things I discovered in this class is who I am and what I can do right now. I know my limitations and that is very important.  I know what I can do right now and what I don't have to do. I can listen to what others want from me or do what I want and help others to see that what I am doing is what they want from me. My focus has shifted a little.  

One of things that struck a cord with me is something a rep from one of the local galleries said.  She discussed the point "how do you know you are ready for gallery representation". She said that an important aspect of the artists they work with regularly is that they are the ones that make the time commitment to the work. They need to paint. This is what they want and they do it all the time. They are committed and consistent in their work. They also can show progression in their work, meaning it is growing and developing over time. She is right. Painting consistently is a priority. So is showing up at the easel to paint.

There was so much more in this program other than these few things but too much to put down here.  I've learned so much and I've started putting these things into practice in a more dedicated and consistent approach.  

And, for our big finale to this course, we have our upcoming art exhibit titled "ARTrepreneur 2014: A group exhibition featuring works by recent Artist as Entrepreneur Alumni" which will hang at the Firehouse Gallery at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge from August 8th through September 5th.  Our reception is Friday, August 8th from 5:30-7:30.  This is a unique opportunity for me both as an artist and as someone who appreciates art. I can't wait to see what the other artists will show and I can't wait to show my new paintings. You are now officially invited to our show. You should come. You must come. You will see cool and wonderful pieces of art. You can meet all the artists, too. And, as always, it's a great opportunity to buy art and make it a part of your life. Success.

One final note. At the last class, I asked Gene Meneray how many artists that had already taken this class were successful. He said it depends on how you define success. There are those that managed to expand their brand and their business by doing everything discussed throughout the course. There are those that decided this was not the path they really wanted and didn't go further. That is success, too, knowing what you want and don't want. There have been those who determined that smaller steps over time work for them while others go by leaps and bounds. I think I have found what works for me and I know this is success. Thank you, Sarah, Gene, and the numerous guest speakers for helping me see that.
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