March 18, 2019
10 things

40 Things I Know About ... Arts & business

Juliet Feibel

To celebrate the nonprofit's 40th anniversary, ArtsWorcester Executive director Juliet Feibel will write four business advice columns related to the arts community throughout the year.

Ways artists are great entrepreneurs

When one painting bears a price of $5,000 but a similar one only commands $500, chances are the more expensive artist absorbed lessons from the world of business.

40) There is no such thing as a solitary genius. Artists network all the time. Renowned Worcester artist Howard Johnson shows up to everything.

39) Smart artists know their market. StART on the Street and Paradise City Arts Festivals attract very different audiences, with different interests and pocketbooks.

38) Artists need a brand. Madge Evers's mushroom spore prints are at the nexus of printmaking, antique photography, and environmental studies. The sleekness and environmental consciousness of her minimalist style are carried through her website, social media feeds, and artist statements.

37) Pricing is its own art form. Artists have to figure in their material expenses, their time, and look at similar artworks.

36) Management is key. Keeping records of art sales and expenses, staying on top of grant and submission deadlines, and responding to emails and phone calls makes all the difference.

35) Elevator pitches matter. Carrie Crane, who produces intellectually complex, abstract artwork, can explain in the simplest of terms how it engages with ideas of science, measurements and truthiness to any audience, in less than three sentences.

34) A command of bureaucracy can be better than brilliance. Massachusetts' fine art laws benefit everyone, but not every artist knows those laws exist, much less what they cover.

33) Embrace rejection. If 99 percent of an entrepreneur's attempts to raise money fail, the artist's percentage is even higher. Thousands of people will walk by an artwork before one even considers buying it.

32) Ask for feedback, and use it. Teresa Lamacchia started exhibiting work in our group members exhibitions. When her proposal for a solo was declined, she asked for the committee's responses. The next proposal she made was approved – and funded.

31) Stay optimistic. ArtsWorcester's sales revenue has increased steadily since 2014, as people increasingly appreciate one-of-a-kind artworks.

For the next feature in Feibel's series about the future of the Worcester creative economy, check out the June 24 issue of WBJ.

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