“During my 30 years at Americans for the Arts, I have had the great privilege to visit and learn about a different community nearly every week. While they differ vastly from one another, there is one common strength I have observed: the arts have made a profound impact on the health of each community.”
Robert L. Lynch, President, Americans for the Arts
What started in the Fall of 2013 as a monthly happy hour that took place "Every Single Second Thursday", Every Single Artist Lounge (ESAL) began as the brainchild of Mason Martin, current Project Manager for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville (CCGJ). With the mission of building community amongst the artists in the Jacksonville area, the Cultural Council extended an invitation to "every single artist in our area, so that we may alert you to opportunities". Interested parties would meet at The Volstead in Downtown Jacksonville to exchange ideas, network, and learn about opportunities available to them.
While the event garnered a fair amount of success, visibility, and engagement, by 2016 participation and involvement had waned. A need to reimagine a plan of attack for rebuilding momentum became evident. It was then that Mason enlisted the help of Patrick Fisher - former Community and Collaboration Manager for the CCGJ - to breathe life back into the initiative. At that point it was determined that ESAL needed to be open to all age groups (not restricted to the 21+ requirements of the venue), it was decided that a different venue would be chosen as a host location from month to month, and finally, local artists would serve as regular co-hosts of the event.
Photo Credit: Toni Smailagic
As an artist there is a high probability that you've contemplated how you can gain exposure and increase your professional opportunities. Some believe that giving away your work is a necessary evil to gain exposure. It isn't. Giving away your work devalues your time, your process, and the work your create.
If you give away your work you will be operating at a loss, which isn't sustainable. No one goes to a mechanic after they have opened a new shop and expects them to do a tune-up free of charge. So why is that mentality applied to emerging and mid-career artists?
Every artist is a small business. Because of that, you have to be mindful in your approach to gaining exposure, generating interest, and attracting new customers. Below you will find step-by-step action items you can take as an emerging and mid-career artist to help develop your identity, promote your brand, and generate sales.
I’ve received a generous amount of positive feedback in regards to my article “Five Steps to Become a Working Artist,” which I posted to the Cultural Council’s blog in September. The article was also printed by EU Jacksonville in October’s Arts Issue. In that article I outlined a series of steps an artist can take to positively impact their career.
I’m a systematic individual. I have a tendency to analyze projects as a series of sequential steps. Because of this, I am able to break down large projects, which as a whole can feel overwhelming, in to manageable pieces.
This article is intended to help anyone that has the passion and desire to become a working artist. You must be willing to put in the time and effort if you wish to earn a living through your artistic endeavors. A certain level of resourcefulness and grit are necessary as you face any obstacles that may present themselves. For those who seek a career in the arts, the following article outlines five steps you can take to become a working artist.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email Jihan@CulturalCouncil.org