An Artist in Need of a Map
In late 2016, a local arts enthusiast in my community organised an open-entry show featuring all the artists in the area who cared to contribute, and invited members of the Montana Arts Council to attend the opening. In addition to attending our local art show, council members gave a presentation about the Montana Artrepreneur Program, (MAP for artists).
Without hesitation, I joined a small cohort of local artists and began what continues to be an amazing and rewarding journey.
MAP has been exactly what I needed.
I was a young, unestablished artist with a developing skillset and a growing body of work who had made the choice to live in a small rural community, and I didn’t know how to take the crucial step from “aspiring” to “professional” artist - how to sell my art, price it, find my audience, get into galleries, track inventory and accounting, and all other aspects of the business-of-art.
With a format structured around the creation of 35 professional “tools” for artists, including everything from a logo to a website, from press kit and resumé, to business and marketing plans, to grant applications ... this program provides concrete assistance and direction (a MAP!) for aspiring artists like me.
Best of all, MAP offered me a supportive and thriving community of other artists who were going through exactly the same process, or had already completed their own “toolbox” for certification from the Arts Council, and this community of artists has been by far the greatest resource of all. I began my course of study in early 2017, and I received my certification in summer of 2018!
It’s a time-consuming process to construct all the pieces initially, which is frustrating when it whenever it keeps me out of the studio, but a good administrative foundation and a coherent organisational system throughout my business of art are essential to keep things running smoothly as I (with support from my audience, disciplined hard work, and a little luck along the way) grow that business into a sustainable way to make a living while letting me stay connected to my audience and not lose the soul of my work to commercialised standards.
The things I’ve learned so far have already helped immensely, and of course learning is a journey that never ends. I want to extend my boundless gratitude to everyone who helped me get this far and make the most of this opportunity, and for the patience of everyone who put up with me crunching numbers and reading textbooks. Now I'm finally ready to get back to making more art again.
Here's my official medallion of certification!