Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council has long provided innovative ways to support the arts community. They provide funding, as well as timely and relevant business training for artists.
This past weekend they brought Creative Capital’s professional development “Internet for Artists” workshop. The overarching theme was for artists to take control of their web presence. Twenty artists gathered over three days at the McColl Center for Visual Art. This was a diverse bunch, ranging from painters, storytellers and improv performers to singers, mixed-media artists and more.
The Arts & Science Council is a Knight Arts grantee, as is the McColl Center for Visual Art. It is equally important to note that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation also supports Creative Capital’s work. Creative Capital (out of New York City) provides substantial artist project funding and has a complimentary professional development program that trains numerous artists in the business of art.
Over nine years, their professional development program has served more than 4,200 artists, through 205 workshops in which they partnered with arts agencies, not-for-profits and colleges in more than 73 communities across the country.
Creative Capital has an artist-centered approach, understanding that each artist’s career plan is different and stems from personal goals and aspirations. This workshop was led by knowledgeable, practicing artists who are successfully using the very tools they shared with Charlotte area artists in their own practices.
Another interesting aspect — adding to the depth of the experience — is that this local group represented artists in a variety of disciplines and stages of their careers. The combination of the diverse group and the intensive workshop structure — which includes artists having time to network throughout the weekend — promotes further growth of our local art community.
In one way, artists create magic. They often make their art behind the scenes, in a studio tucked away from the mainstream world. They connect with others by interpreting life in new ways and sharing their story, not just their artwork. But many artists are also the sole business person too, and it can be very tough to juggle the two. Art often grows out of open-ended, creative meandering, but that same open-ended style is terrible when running a business.
Creative Capital teaches artists to look at their own business differently and work strategically. In the case of the “Internet for Artists” workshop, the business training was specifically geared towards a new and complex frontier for many artists.
The artists participating are given a tremendous amount of information and material to process. Although it may seem overwhelming, many Creative Capital professional development program alumni speak highly of this programs’ life-changing impact. As artist Marcee Musgrove said the last day, “Thank you Creative Capital and Arts & Science Council. Once again, you incite change and growth.”