Monday, April 23, 2007

Entrepreneurship & the Arts

Michael and I attended the inaugural Entrepreneurship & the Arts at the University of Tampa on Saturday. It was an intensive all-day conference of information and networking. As I repeat often to my salon group, Out of Hand Artists, there's a meager amount of marketing/business resources available to artists so take advantage. The presenters were outstanding. The highlights for us were:

Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design. He was the first speaker and set the tone for "strategic thinking". Providing us with a list of "guerrilla marketing" tactics, we were on our way to getting down to business. Ringling will be offering the first ever art business major in 2008. A concept way overdue.

Brent C.J. Britton, Esq., Attorney, Squire Sanders & Dempsey. Brent was a fascinating, dynamic speaker jamming a ton of copyright and contract information into 50 minutes. Complex yet so vitally important to anyone creating anything. To summarize: get it in writing!

George Charles Koch, Chair, Artomatic Inc. This was Michael's favorite speaker. Artomatic is an idea conceived to promote change and build community by artists. After persuading owners of large empty buildings to lend them to the arts for six weeks out of the year, the idea has grown into a yearly, hugely anticipated and attended event. Besides visual artists, musicians, poets and other performance artists participate. George was great inspiration to anyone trying to create change in the arts on a local level.

Jeff Whipple, Artist/Writer. Wow, could this guy draw and paint! I loved listening to his captivating presentation which followed a time line from his college days. Jeff has received a long list of grants, awards, solo shows, and other accolades. I had a chance to chat with him at the reception and he revealed his frustration at not being able to market his controversial work. Thanks for being so candid, Jeff. It's still an incredible body of work.

mover and shaker"The Mover and Shaker" 2007 oil on canvas, 70"x70" by Jeff Whipple