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Beyond Richard Florida

A Cultural Sector of Our Own

Now that Richard Florida has moved on from the “rise” of the creative class to the “flight” of the creative class, the cultural sector is left with the question: are we better off today than before he re-classified us?

Managing to Succeed

Article by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

Whatever your personal goal as a photographer (to earn a living, to develop a reputation, to share your passion with friends and family—or all of the above), you need to manage your photographic practice.

What that means, simply, is organizing your work so that you are both efficient (giving minimum effort) and effective (getting maximum results).

Most of us are very efficient. We’re getting alot of stuff done. The question is: Is it the right stuff? Are we actually being effective with our energy, accomplishing the most important things?

Mission Accomplished

by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

By day I am a cool-headed consultant, advising arts organizations and leading workshops with titles such as "How to Write a Mission Statement That Succeeds." But tonight I am a frustrated board member, just back from another meeting that leaves me wondering about the future of this organization and our capacity to help it move forward. Without a clear sense of mission, we are hamstrung. There is no coherent viewpoint from month to month, and therefore no consistent criteria for making decisions, plans, or innovations.

Defining Your Brand Identity: What business are you in?

Article by by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

What business are you in?

It's a deceptively simple question. And it isn't a rhetorical one, either. At last June's Dance/USA Roundtable in Miami, opening keynote speaker Alberto Ibargüen, editor of The Miami Herald, urged every attendee to consider the question seriously. Are you primarily an entertainer, he prompted, or an employer? "What," he asked, "do you stand for?"

Unemployment Benefits for Artists

by Melissa Potter, New York Foundation for the Arts

Unemployment insurance provides an income to workers who have been laid off or terminated without cause by an employer. Employers pay a separate tax, which the New York State Department of Labor uses to pay these benefits. Unemployment insurance is a universal entitlement to those who qualify, even for some artists who work seasonally or part-time. However, many artists who are self-employed or work freelance may not qualify for unemployment benefits.

Copyright, Public Domain and Work for Hire Overview

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available for both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

Screening Checklist

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Once you have a screening 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 screening(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?

Writing an Artist's Statement

Courtesy of Side Street Projects

Writing an Artist's Statement can be an important exercise in developing your work as well as providing key insights for curators, gallerists, funders and others. Find out the types of statements commonly requested, and whats, whys and hows of successful Artist's Statements.

Lecture Checklist

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Once you have a lecture 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 lecture and the venue.)

• Date and time for the lecture.

• What is the honorarium or artist‘s fee?

• Who is your audience?

• How long are you expected to talk?

Writer's Block

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Writing an artist's statement can be challenging.  Below are some suggestions if you're experiencing writer's block.  These may be helpful exercises for other forms of writing.

1. If you can’t get a handle on your own work, or are stuck, record a conversation between you and another person talking about your work.

2. Use other written materials about your work, i.e. your mentor’s reports, a review, an article.

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?

Checklist for Finding a Studio

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects
  • Figure out how much you can afford for a separate studio space, or if you will need to consider an additional room in your home or apartment.
  • Calculate the space that you actually need to make your work. If you are on a tight budget, consider the minimal amount of space you need.
  • What kind of facilities do you need? 220 for electrical? How many electrical outlets? Adequate ventilation? Natural light? Oversize doors?

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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:

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