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Performance Checklist

Karen Atkinson, GYST / Side Street Projects, LA

Once you have a performance venue, make sure you find out the answers to the following questions, and follow the suggested timeline below.  Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue.

INITIAL INQUIRIES

(Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue.)

• Dates for the performance(s).

• What is the honorarium or artist’s fee?  Will you receive a share of the gate?

• What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

Documenting Your Work

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Documenting your work is an important aspect of business as an artist.  Many times, the documentation will be the only thing a curator, an arts writer, or juror will see.  Your work should be reflected in good quality images.  You are responsible for these images, either by documenting the work yourself, or finding a good photographer, videographer or digital professional to take the images.

Billing and Collection

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Keeping track of who owes you money will reduce a lot of headaches in the future.  Create a bill of sale for each work you sell.  Make sure you use a contract for every agreement you enter into.

If you make special payment plans for certain individuals, make sure you include that payment plan in the bill of sale.  You should always retain the work until the final payment is made.

Always get a list of the work located at a dealer, a gallery, or an art consultant.  Keep in touch with them regarding sales.  Know where you work is.

Curating

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Curating creates a collection of works or artists’ projects that are grouped around an idea or theme.  Many artists curate shows as a way of gathering various voices together to create new meaning or to create or extend a context for their own work.  Curating is a great way to make connections with other artists, to expand your own ideas in your work, to create a dialog within a particular community, or to give an idea a public face.  Whether in a traditional gallery space or a public site, curating can give the artist experience which may lead to a job, new work, or a new community.

Charitable Contributions

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Since artists are always being asked to donate something, here is a brief list of things you need to know about donations.

Pricing Your Work

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

There is no perfect formula for pricing your work, but here are a few helpful hints in doing so:

Networking

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

One of the best ways of making connections is networking.  This means being visible, going to events and openings, participating on panels, going to lectures and accepting visiting artist lecture gigs.  If you stay home in your studio, you are not going to meet the person who will open doors for your next show, or give you a good idea, or tell you about a public art project  opportunity.

Community Service

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Participating as a volunteer at a nonprofit organization, teaching classes in the field, and generally giving back to the community is a good way to keep in touch with what is going on in the art world, your neighborhood, or your region.

cca.edu

Gathering Voices

Some Curatorial Perspectives

I was asked to address different models of curatorial practice.

Taxes and Record Keeping

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Keeping records is vital to a successful business.  I have included a list of items that you should keep track of in the taxes section.

Things to consider regarding keeping records:

  • Get and keep a ledger, either on your computer or by hand, of all your income and expenses.
  • Keep track of your billing and collection of those payments

Alternative Presentation Sites

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


In addition to traditional venues, the following presentation sites are also worth considering. Be sure to get the required permits or permission if needed.

Self-Employment

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

There are basically six types of businesses, 'the self-employed', 'the builder of businesses', 'the inventor', 'the franchise owner', 'the marketer', and 'the speculator'. Most artists fit into the self-employment category which we will address here. It is known legally as the sole proprietorship. You and you alone own all the assets and assume all the liabilities.

Things to Consider:

Developing a Teaching Portfolio

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

What is a teaching portfolio?  A portfolio or dossier is a collection of material that depicts the nature and quality of an individual's teaching and students' learning. Portfolios are structured deliberately to reflect particular aspects of teaching and learning – they are not trunks full of teaching artifacts and memorabilia. At its best, a portfolio documents an instructor's approach to teaching, combining specific evidence of instructional strategies, and effectiveness in a way that captures teaching's intellectual substance and complexity. (William Cerbin, 1993)

Public Art Programs

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Commission and sale opportunities to artists sponsored by federal, state, municipal agencies and independent organizations for work in a public context.

Juried Exhibitions

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT:  Offered worldwide, through galleries, museums, organizations and arts councils.

EXPECTATIONS:  Usually have entry fees attached.  They may offer prizes or awards, and sometimes a catalog.

PROS:  One way to get visibility for your work.  Sometimes have established curators as jurors.

Co-op Galleries

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT:  Based on artist participation and membership, in which the artists share the expenses and business responsibilities of the gallery.

EXPECTATIONS: Monthly or annual fees in return for a guaranteed show for each member. Artists must apply for membership.

PROS:  Guaranteed venue.  Some of the older ones are well respected and reviewed.

Auctions and Benefits

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT: Donating work to an auction is a great way to help out a nonprofit organization or a good cause, and gain exposure for your artwork.

EXPECTATIONS: Artist donates the work, and the organization takes care of the sales. Sometimes an artist needs to set the minimum bid.

Vanity Galleries

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT:  For-profit galleries that require artists to pay for exhibition and related expenses.  They may also require an additional commission on work sold.

EXPECTATIONS:  Generally charge for all associated expenses of the exhibition, including publicity, rental of the space, shipping etc.

PROS:  A chance to show work.

SideStreetProjects

Online Galleries and Sales Sites

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT:  Both for-profit and nonprofit, these are generally curated and allow artists to post work on a host’s Web site for sale and/or visibility.

EXPECTATIONS: Some membership organizations allow members to post work on their Web site.  Other Web sites are exclusively for showing or sales, and artists are curated into the online collection.  Commercial online galleries take a commission on sales.

Open Studios

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

The information below is part of a series of guides that outline the pros and cons of various types of venues.


ABOUT:  An artist or group of artists hosts an event for viewing, celebration, and selling of artwork.

EXPECTATIONS: Based on the organizer of the event.  If an individual open studio, the artist does all the work.

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