The term “starving artist” is a dirty word in the artist circles I run with. For me the image that comes to mind is a red-and-white tent in an old mall parking lot, where landscape and other knockoff art from unknown origins are sold at questionably low prices.
In reality, artists may find themselves scratching their heads wondering if their art careers will be cut short, not for lack of talent, but over business and marketing skills. I’ve seen horrific artists succeed because they had excellent skills in business and marketing.
Launching any career should be backed up with the tools required to succeed. Where does an artist get the entrepreneurial skill set to turn a passion into a career, even if it’s part-time income?
Enter Fresh Arts, one of Houston’s most prolific arts organizations focused on the success of artists and creative entrepreneurs.
Fresh Arts is a nonprofit organization that champions local artists and creative entrepreneurs to succeed in the business of art. Fresh Arts will launch the Fresh Arts Summit, an artist-centered, skill-building initiative, over the weekend of July 19-20. The two-day program, held at Silver Street Studios (2000 Edwards St.), will convene more than 150 local and regional independent makers and creative entrepreneurs of all disciplines to focus on tools essential to building artistic business literacy and networks.
The summit will provide programming suited to the creative entrepreneur, including topics such as marketing and self-promotion, fundraising and finances, legal resources and technological skills related to arts entrepreneurship. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, artists are more than three times more likely than the total U.S. workforce to be self-employed. As such, Fresh Arts is leveraging its 10-year history of programming workshops to build the Fresh Arts Summit curriculum. The summit was developed to empower artists through entrepreneurial knowledge to make informed decisions for their artistic practices, creative enterprises and community.
“For the future and longevity of the Houston arts community, it is vital that we provide a wealth of skill-building programming to local creatives,” said Marci Dallas, the executive director of Fresh Arts.
Fresh Arts also is offering five full and 14 partial scholarships to attend the summit, aiming to fund more than 10 percent of attendees.
Highlights of the summit span an attendee reception, networking opportunities, multimedia presentations, hands-on workshops and roundtable discussions designed to foster an ongoing conversation about business ownership, community building and audience cultivation. There also will be an “Arts Expo” that connects creatives to local businesses, resources and organizations as well as “Mentor Power Hours” that function as breakout sessions in which attendees can speak to lead mentors in an intimate group setting.
Artists demonstrating financial need and commitment to their practice can apply for the 2019 Artist Summit Scholarship by June 21 to have all or part of the admission fee waived. Panelists will evaluate submissions based on applicant responses, work samples and potential for growth. These scholarships were made possible by local artists, Friends of Fresh Arts and the Houston Endowment for the Arts.
Registration is set at $125 until June 21 and will increase afterward.
Learn more about Fresh Arts and register for the Fresh Arts Summit by visiting www.fresharts.org/content/summit-registration.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.