The Artist’s Magazine published in its April issue Christine Sharp’s interesting article “Surviving Tough Economic Times.” Sharp offers 12 suggestions on how to survive the recent economic downturn. Starting a supporting group is listed as the first of her advices. She writes: “… a supportive group of artist friends can really help boost your mood, your sales, and your creativity.”
My artist friends agree that being surrounded by creative people who share same interests, hopes, and frustrations is inspiring, helpful and extremely important not just during recession, but also during prosperous economic times.
Wisconsin artists have been cooperating and forming different supporting groups for years. They are organized around local art centers, art cooperatives, artist critique groups, art alliances, studio groups, etc.
In order to help the local artists to not just share creative support, but improve their business skills, and to strengthen the western Wisconsin economy, UW-La Crosse Continuing Education and Extension and SBDC jointly developed two professional development programs: Learning Communities of Artists: Best Business Practices, and Artists Planning for Profit to provide education and management support to visual artists and art organizations. Two ten month programs were designed to strengthen artist’s professional and business capacity to build sustainable art businesses and to achieve financial success without sacrificing creativity. The participating artists learn in a learning community environment. Many of the learning outcomes are self-selected and self-directed, respectful of scheduling and learning style preferences. The participating artists have been successfully introduced to the tools of general business management and a strong network of peers. They recognized the need to adapt and embrace the new ways of conducting and marketing their art businesses in order to gain or maintain the competitive edge.
They will celebrate their participation in the programs by showcasing their new artworks during one-day “CABIN FEVER ART SHOW & SALE.”
The show will be held Saturday, March 14, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Campus. For more information please see: http://www.uwlax.edu/sbdc/Professional-Development-for-Artists.htm