Awhile back, I wrote about my struggle with the left-right brain dilemma for artists. I have written other times about my journey towards becoming a creative entrepreneur, and about my efforts to overcome my awkwardness in business skills.
I am still on that journey, and I am finding myself landing in some interesting places. I am finding people who are providing me with concrete and moral supports, and lots of encouragement. I am finding some fabulous blogs that are designed to help artists like me with business concerns (Artists Who Thrive, Better, Smarter, Richer, The Abundant Artist). And I am finding that leaders in my hometown of Canton, OH are deeply committed to seeing that I and other local artists succeed.
They are so committed, in fact, that they have developed a unique business/artist partnership to ensure the sustainability of the burgeoning arts community in Downtown Canton. This partnership, called “Artist Boot Camp”, is sponsored by Arts in Stark, the County Arts Council. Coordinated by artist and arts administrator Craig Joseph, the Artist Boot Camp is a series of workshops designed to bring artists and business leaders together to help artists become more effective in business.
Artist Boot Camp is a pilot program, bringing experts in various business topics together with artists to share their expertise. These experts donate their time as a way to support the arts in the community. So far we have had leaders speak with us about grant writing, taxes & legal issues, and marketing strategies, and they have all been incredibly helpful. A number of other topics are lined up for future sessions, such as social media marketing and the one we ALL need, basic accounting and financial planning.
Each artist is paired with a business mentor who will continue to work with us after the classes are completed. My mentor, Jessica Bennett (pictured to the right), is the Marketing Director for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Director for Indigo Ink Press.
Jessica was one of our presenters this week, providing us information about public relations, writing press releases, and email marketing. I am looking forward to working with Jessica. I know that I can learn a lot from her!
I feel very blessed to be chosen to be a part of this pilot program, which is sure to grow into an ongoing effort to help many artists in the Canton/Stark County area. I thank Arts in Stark for making the commitment that they have to the artists in Canton, and to all the business leaders for their interest and contribution.
My hope is that other cities will follow Canton’s lead and recognize the value of such partnerships to grow communities through the arts.
Because, well, it’s just good business to support the arts.
Life is an Adventure!