Q: I am an emerging visual artist in the Toronto area. I’m interested in receiving some professional guidance around the marketing of my art work. Currently, I work out of my home and it can get somewhat unprofessional hosting guests there, so ideally I’d also be looking for affordable exhibition space, too. Can you point me in the right direction of any artist non-profit organizations?
In the past, I’ve joined a few but nothing as substantial as I was looking for or with the commitment to helping me establish myself as a businessman as well as a visual artist.
In my opinion that’s something a lot of artists are lacking. We’ve got the talent but not many of us know how to work it as a business as well. Thanks.
A: Thanks for writing in, Illan! Are you familiar with the Artists’ Network of Riverdale (www.artistsnetworkofriverdale.org)? I can totally understand what you mean by the need for artists to marry their artistic talents with a strong awareness and expertise in how to navigate the industry as intelligent and competitive business people, too. Being business savvy only makes clients take you that much more seriously and as an artist it will also increase your staying power as you’d have the know-how of how to promote yourself at your best for less and negotiate sales and showings of your work.
The Artists’ Network of Riverdale is a non-profit initiative that strives to help visual artists become self-efficient entrepreneurs. You should also note that the Artists’ Network is very well backed by the corporate community there as well. I find it’s always nice when both the arts and corporate worlds can see the value in sustaining one another. All too often, the arts suffer as communities don’t realize the benefits to their corporate economy in fostering arts and arts opportunities for emerging artists like yourself; hence the cuts to funding of so many arts related programs. As a member, you will gain access to networking seminar events, artists trips, discounted studio space and exhibition opportunities, various calls for artists submissions, private and group consultations as well as access to a weekly eBulletin which reportedly sometimes has more than 60 pages of listed opportunities for artists. (That’s a lot more leads than the 10 or 12 postings I sometimes see outside of some “organizations,” stapled on a make-shift postings wall next to the bathroom).
Check them out and learn more about the Riverdale Art Walk (RAW), the Little Art Show and Hang Man Gallery among others. As a friendly FYI, they’ve got two upcoming network seminars I think you’ll enjoy: Tomorrow, one about learning how to market your work to clients and other industry heavyweights, and on July 19 the spotlight is on learning the ins and outs on approaching galleries. This one might be especially cool for you since your home is currently wearing two hats! Good luck with this connection, Illan, and tell me how it goes. I’ve always had a special appreciation for the visual arts. I just never quite got the hang of it myself beyond my classic stick figure family illustrations. I do enjoy photography, though.
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.
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