“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
This is a favorite quote among my friends who pursued liberal arts degrees. It speaks to both the dream and reality of trying to build a career around creative talents. AKA it’s damn hard.
Google “least valuable college majors” and you’ll see a laundry list of arts degrees: creative writing, film, philosophy, photography and especially music.
What’s always funny to me about these lists is that they assume a salary is the only way to judge value. Books, movies, visual art, and especially music bring immeasurable joy to our lives. Without them we could never be transported to distant imaginary lands, feel the pain of another person’s suffering, or know what it’s like to have a one-person dance party while sitting at a stop light. WE NEED ART, which means we need artists who aren’t living in a van down by the river.
One problem with the current arts education system is that it lacks a business aspect. Few if any art students start their senior year with the knowledge they need to successful seek, find, communicate with, and supply a paying audience. They’re afraid, or worse, completely oblivious to the business world, unaware of how to be both the artist and CEO. Likewise, business people assume artists are flakes and vagabonds, and so are hesitant to invest money into art-based ventures.
Well artists, it’s time to put up or shut up. Arts Incubator of the Rockies just launched a comprehensive new series of workshops and seminars that are designed to connect artists to the business training they need and business people to the artistic ventures that Colorado craves.
If you’re a local band that’s looking for a way to turn that demo tape into a record contract, a painter looking to show your work in galleries where people will actually buy it, or a crafter whose friends have been saying “you should really sell these” for years, this is one educational series you can’t afford to miss.
AIR Shift Workshop: A 3 day learning event that will teach you how to change your thinking about art, value and community, help you develop your business pitch, and connect you with the diverse community of artists and art lovers that can help make your dream a reality. Learn more about dates, topics, and prices.
AIR Evolve Program: After you’ve taken the Shift Workshop, the next step is to put what you’ve got on paper into practice. Yes, drummers and bass players, this means developing a business plan. Yes, writers and painters, this means learning how to model and track your finances. At the end of this six month program, you’ll find yourself pitching your creative venture to a panel of local business people. Learn more about dates, topics, and prices.
Image via drgonzo/Flickr