Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pass the kool-aid!

So I have put in my first 3 weeks (and then some!) at the new job, and have decided to share what I am doing. I made this decision based on a couple of things: 1) I'm not that important there (no decision making power, no influence) 2) it's a fascinating and wonderful program that deserves lots of attention, and 3) their own credo that all of this valuable information should be shared.

So as you can see from #2 I clearly drank some of that delicious kool-aid.
The job I took is that of assistant in the Professional Development Program at Creative Capital. It is a part time low glamour, low wage position. There may be some confusion about why someone with such clear and evident capabilities would take a position like this (the people hiring me were not afraid to ask). Easy, I want a part time job doing something I care about, in an environment that is creative and flexible where I can learn things. One of the first projects I was involved in was preparing for, and then attending the yearly retreatfor the grantees.Here's how the program works: a grant is awarded for a project proposal (all initial funds are the same). After that the artist services kicks in. This includes the retreat, plus additional guidance and opportunities for the artist. The artist can apply for a variety of follow up grants to take advantage of opportunities which ensure the success of the project. The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times describe it as a 'venture capital model,' and New York Magazine describes it as a 'bohemian boot camp.'

The retreat consists of 2 days of intense professional development, time to meet and network with the other grantees and alumni grantees, and 2 days of panels presented by an array of venues, funders, and others.The professional development program has itself spun off into providing weekend workshops to artists around the country. Now for a little more specifically about the pdp... This program provides informative discussions, practices and one on one consultations which help develop better professional practices-like strategic planning, marketing, time management, fiscal management, pr, writing and talking about your work, budgeting, fundraising. All the things that can help an artist run their 'business' more successfully.

Most of it is not a revelation to anyone with some amount of business acumen, but it does reinforce the need to apply this knowledge to our art practices. Hire assistants, hire fundraisers, one managers, pr help, etc. Sure, it's hard to hire someone when you aren't making any money, but it is the old business adage that you have to invest so grow.The bottom line is that they are breaking down the stereotype of the poor starving artist working alone in a garret. (Which I never bought into anyway- although I would like a garret).
Well I think you get the gist of this whole thing. It's a great program (Creative Capital as a whole, and the Professional Development Program), but I won't go on about it. I will follow with more hints and helpful information that you can apply to your practice, but for now its back to work.

Expect to see new images of the large 'soma' series soon, I have finished 4 of them and a handful of the crystalline drawing series which I am handing over to be photographed. More about art making later...

All photos courtesy of Phototake - a scientific and medical stock photography site. Images are (from top to bottom): Juvenille Nuerons, Marine Diatoms, Nuerons, Colon Cancer and Multipolar Nuerons.

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