Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls is offering three courses this winter and spring for local artists looking to pick up business skills that will help them be more productive and less stressed. “With it being the new year, 2020, I think it’s really important for artists and creatives to really think about where they really want to be, both in their artistic career and also professionally,” says artist development director Naomi Schliesman. “They can actually take this workshop, where they can set up new goals or even new benchmarks that they want to achieve throughout this year to get them to where they want to be.”
Business skills aren’t typically taught in college art programs or even graduate Master of Fine Arts programs. “With the Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists, that’s where we are giving them the tools and resources to really be thinking about how they could be running their business as an individual who is an artist,” says Schliesman, who says she herself was not taught business skills when she got her M.F.A.
These skills are invaluable for all artists, whether they rely on freelancing or not. “It’s for all artists,” Schliesman says. “Like with career planning, it’s having you really think about where you want to be artistically, in your art practice and what you’re making, but also about how you need to be professional about your work and how you plan it out. We can always have these great ideas as to what we want to be doing within our art career, but also we need to sit down and think about it, write it out and have a plan, an action, as to how we want to develop our artistic skills throughout our growth and journey of being an artist.”
The first course is offered this month on Jan. 27, and focuses on career planning. It asks artists where they want to be artistically and professionally and helps them identify key choices and career goals to get where they want to be. They can look at assets they already have, either personally or in the community, and see what they still need or want in order to reach their next career level.
The second course is record keeping and takes place on Feb. 3. “With tax season coming up, that’s where we’re offering our record keeping,” says Schliesman. This workshop will help teach artists how to keep track of their revenue and expenses, what records they should keep and for how long, how to think about projections and how to create budgets for marketing and other costs.
On Monday, March 30 the workshop will be focusing on grant writing. “Artists and also smaller organizations can learn about the essentials of grant writing, along with resources for searching and structuring their proposal as to when they want to be applying for a certain grant,” Schliesman says. “The benefit of the grant writing one, I feel, is giving the artists and organizations a voice to write proposals, to have new projects or new ideas funded.” Participants will be able to see examples of how grants are written and see what grants are offered locally, throughout the state and nationally.
Schliesman will be leading the career planning and record-keeping workshops, and rural program director Michele Anderson will be leading the grant-writing workshop. Anderson writes the grants for the programming at Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, and is herself a writer and musician.
The workshops are free but artists should register in advance online at springboardforthearts.org/events. It’s a great opportunity for any artists who want help staying on track with goals, understanding how to keep track of record keeping and what to be keeping and why and learning about resources and tools for grant writing as a way to potentially get some funding for their work.