It was about 4:30 a.m. one September night in 2007, during my senior year of college, when I found myself staring at my sloping ceiling, eating barbeque potato chips, and wondering what on earth to do with myself when I graduated. I didn’t sleep that night, though not for lack of trying. After slipping under my covers for a few minutes to try to doze off, I found myself sitting at my computer, looking through various graduate colleges’ programs in writing or literature, and mulling over many questions: What did I want to get my degree in? Did I want an MFA or an MA?
As an author, self-promoting your work is becoming increasingly important as an escalating numbers of books are published every year. One way to be heard over the noise is to promote your books online. I’m the owner of a literary blog that specializes in reviews of books by Chicago authors and publishers, and I’ve seen lots of books generate interest through online mediums. Reaching out to literary blogs in particular is a great strategy.
Literary blogs have grown increasingly popular in recent years as sources of news, reviews, and dialogue about books. As newspapers are cutting back their book sections—and in some cases, cutting them out entirely—the web has become an even more important space to represent authors.
An important tool for revitalizing Chicago's neighborhood businesses -- including arts and creative businesses -- is the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program. SBIF uses local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues to help
owners or tenants of commercial and industrial properties within
specific TIF districts to repair or remodel their facilities.
Artists interested in
operating a home-based Artist Live/Work Space
should consider the following licensing information from the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer
"Showing your art or another person's art to friends or for a private
party, in your home, not open to the public or advertised to the
public, and even selling art in your home does not require a business
can make art in any residence in
without a license.
"The old approaches are dead. Screw submitting for exhibits and doing residencies and going on auditions. We artists must return to the Wild Wild West, and make brilliant careers out of dirt and chutzpah and shamelessness.
For many artists, performers, and writers, income taxes are especially loathsome, and in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seems to be making the process even scarier. The IRS has announced that it is starting a special initiative to audit individual income tax returns with Schedule C’s that show a loss. (The Schedule C is the tax form most artists use to report their business income and related expenses).
The Arts Engagement
Exchange (AEE) is a learning network for Chicago arts and cultural groups on topics related
to audience engagement. Created through a partnership between the Chicago
Community Trust and the Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the
Wallace Foundation, the AEE works to build Chicago’s arts audiences by offering free events and
audience development grants to local arts organizations. The AEE website expands the opportunities for dialogue with other organizations that wish to
increase participation in the arts, reach diverse audiences, and deepen
existing audiences’ participation.
Fiscal Sponsorship is a critical way for individual artists, artists' collaborative projects, and emerging arts organizations in all disciplines to apply for funding usually available only to organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The right fiscal sponsor will not only allow you to manage your project efficiently, but can actually help you to raise more money and realize your artistic vision.
Musicians at Work Forums strengthen Chicago's music industry by presenting experts in candid discussions about the music business. Launched in 2003, MAWF have covered topics ranging from how to get a gig, build your audience, license your music, songwriting, touring and more. Notable presenters include: Jim DeRogatis, Greg Kot, Martin Atkins, Shala Akintunde, Bettina Richards, Steve Albini, and many more.
Now available, courtesy of the Chicago Music Commission, is a free audio archive of past forums:
The Actors Fund’s Health Insurance Resource Center (HIRC), in partnership with The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), has launched a national artists’ health care reform website, Artists United for Health Care.
As attention to health care reform takes center stage nationally, the Artists United for Health Care site brings attention to the critical place of artists in the reform debate.
Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network (PAN) is the only
professional network in the United States dedicated to the field of
public art. As a program of Americans for the Arts, PAN strengthens
efforts to advocate for policies and best practices that serve
communities creating public art. More than 350 public art programs
exist in the United States at the federal, state, and local level.
QUESTION: What are my options if I do not know how to build my own website and don’t want to be dependent on someone else every time I want to change or update my site?
ANSWER: You have a few options for putting your portfolio online, without knowing any html code or web-building software: Free, Fee-based, Curated or Annual Fee self-administered portfolio sites.
OPTION 1: FREE ONLINE PORTFOLIO
Tough economic times may be the best time for entrepreneurs to get a leg up. Just ask the 200 or more Chicago entrepreneurs that have enrolled into the City of Chicago's Business Start-Up Certificate program. Take it from entrepreneur David Clayton, "This program is outstanding, it provided me with the absolute fundamental knowledge to start a business."
By Deanna Isaacs
Originally printed on February 24, 2006 in the Chicago Reader, this article discusses the dos
and don'ts for approaching gallery owners based on a discussion at a Chicago Artists At Work forum.
The following article was originally printed in the “Our Town” section of the Chicago Reader on February 28, 2008.
You’ve seen public art everywhere: On the floors, walls, and ceilings of airports, police stations, libraries, parks, plazas, bus shelters. Made from all manner of materials: Mosaic, terrazzo, glass, video projections. But
as a studio artist, you may be wondering how those artists got their
work in there and if you can become a public artist, too. And what is a “public artist” anyway? Is there a path you can take from making art for galleries to art in public spaces? What
Arts at the Core: A Guidebook and Planning Tool is a helpful resource for arts educators across the disciplines created by the Illinois Arts Alliance. The guidebook addresses major questions posed by teachers and administrators, such as what constitutes a quality curriculum, how to integrate the arts into other subjects, and how to deal with a lack of resources.
The Actors Fund Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC) has been connecting artists, craftspeople and entertainment industry workers around the country to health insurance and affordable health care since 1998.