Art & Development, Values

Professional Development for Artists

This past week, in addition to wrapping up some freelance graphic design projects, I’ve been busy with professional development courtesy of the Creative Capital Foundation In 2006, I was nominated by the wonderful people at the alternative art space, Intersection for the Arts, to participate in a Creative Capital Professional Development workshop, which covered everything from fine-tuning one’s self-promotion and grant-writing skills, to interpersonal communications skill building, to improving one’s attitude about money, to planning one’s life in the arts strategically. It did wonders for my attitude and professional skills — it even influenced my art (I decided to become an optimist!).

Creative Capital hasn’t offered the workshop locally since, but they partnered with Intersection again to offer a one-day communication workshop with Kirby Tepper. It fine-tuned my skills, and gave me new skills that I hope to carry out in the coming week.

I’m a Creative Capital enthusiast. They are building a model from the ground up — their trainers are successful artists and business world pros. I hope to reciprocate the support I’ve received from Intersection and Creative Capital one day.

It’s too bad there is such a need for professional development among artists, but few artists every have the opportunity to participate in trainings that are truly supportive. Sadly, cynicism, co-miseration and resignation to suffering for one’s art or the unfairness in the art world are dominant modes of discourse among artists. But what good does that do to anyone? While it helps to be realistic — having a life in the arts is challenging — it certainly doesn’t support artists or improve their success when one can’t imagine that having a life in the arts is compatible with success and happiness.

So I wanted to plug the Center for Cultural Innovation’s new book, The Business of Art: The Artist’s Guide to Profitable Self-Employment. I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but knowing CCI’s work is rooted in data gathered directly from practicing artists, I’m sure that it will be practical and useful.

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