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A Look Behind the Curtain of Art Business Night School

Katie Creyts

Board Member

Katie Creyts, Goldilocks, As Told by the Mirror, gilded and etched glass, ready-made frames, 12”x24”, 2013.

I am an artist and an art professor and never had a course or workshop focused on professional practice. My interest in the Artist Trust’s professional development program started as a participant in the EDGE Professional Development Program, a week-long seminar held in Port Townsend. The experience was profound for a number of reasons; the people, the seminar content, and the synthesis of content by artists to suit their professional goals. The people involved in this program included efficient and accommodating staff, a wide range of enthusiastic seminar leaders who were experts in their fields, and 18 visual artists eager to network and grow their practice. The comprehensive content ranged from the artist statement to issues of copyright to grant writing. Embedded in these learning sections were opportunities to apply this new knowledge, critique in small groups, and revise.  I left feeling pleased and slightly overwhelmed with new business goals and practices.

Why change a good program?

• The structure of the EDGE program was exclusive in that it was costly and participants had to be able to leave work for a week;
• The program was not inclusive of the range of artists Artist Trust would like to serve, such as musicians, performers, filmmakers, and interdisciplinary artists;
• The intensive nature of the program did not allow time for thoughtful reflection, implementation of practice, and follow-up questions;
• A modular program would allow participants to focus on certain facets of development. This also allows Artist Trust to package smaller programs and workshops throughout the WA State;
• The EDGE curriculum needed to be updated to reflect current trends in creative careers, financial management, digital culture, and business practices.

When Artist Trust approached me about revising the EDGE curriculum, I was eager to help. My process for rewriting the curriculum involved editing, updating, and streamlining hundreds of pages of curriculum into four themed modules. I researched best practices in books, online, and sourced ideas from successful practicing creative people. I submitted and revised based on the invested feedback of Brian McGuigan, Artist Trust’s program director. The work resulted in a new structure for the Artist Trust professional practice workshop, Art Business Night School!

The curriculum addresses all the aforementioned changes. There are four themed sections that are taught in six-week modules. Participants meet once weekly for a two-hour section taught by an expert in the subject matter. Meeting weekly allows participants to digest and implement the curriculum. The coursework is interdisciplinary in the arts, promoting networking and cross-pollination. The curriculum is flexible and relevant, allowing the instructor to prioritize the participants’ needs and encourage connective conversation.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to start a creative career or need to jump start your practice, Art Business Night School will give you a great support system, tactics, structure, and resources to help you on your way to success. It’s all in there, and after meeting the instructors I can’t be more excited for the implementation of this program.

Based on our long-running EDGE Professional Development Program, Art Business Night School provides a comprehensive survey of business practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum. Topics covered include: Business Fundamentals, Career in Focus, Polish and Prep for Opportunities, and Promotion Fundamentals.

View our current course schedule on our website at Programs Calendar.