Throughout 2020, the entire world was turned upside by the pandemic, and artists faced unprecedented challenges.
But during that seemingly insurmountable time, the Broward Cultural Division did what they do best—they got creative and demonstrated ingenuity in the face of adversity. The virtual “Business Skills for the Modern Creator” series was developed in response to the COVID-19 shutdown, which prevented the presentation of Broward Cultural Division’s annual in-person Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute program (AEI).
Teaching artists how to transform their art into a successful business, the series earned Broward Cultural Division an Achievement Award in Community and Economic Development from the National Association of Counties. “Business Skills for the Modern Creator” was livestreamed free of charge through the Broward Cultural Division’s YouTube channel and Facebook page where it has been viewed by thousands globally.
“It’s always great to receive recognition for your work,” Broward Cultural Division Director Phillip Dunlap said. “It helps to reaffirm we’re on the right track and that our staff’s hard work is being recognized.”
Dunlap, who has been at the helm of Broward Cultural Division since 2019, is proud of how his team navigated the uncharted waters of the pandemic. “I think we did a really good job at being responsive and in a very short order,” Dunlap said. “We did a wonderful job of recognizing that despite the pandemic, the need for the skills AEI offered was still relevant and we continued the work and did it in a format that spoke to where we were as a society.”
While programming is constantly evolving within Broward Cultural Division, the opportunity the pandemic presented to expand to a virtual space will continue. “One of the silver linings is that although the pandemic really pushed us into some uncomfortable spaces, it increased our capacity and ability to take our programs online to reach a wider audience,” Dunlap said. “The use of technology to amplify our programming beyond physical spaces is not just something we’re going to lose when things return to normal.”
The Business Skills series returns this summer with new sessions on July 10,17, 24 and 31,10:30 a.m. Each session features industry professionals covering topics from how to apply for grant funding to mastering the art of negotiation. A session conducted entirely in Spanish will take place Aug. 21to better serve Broward County’s growing community of Spanish-speaking creatives.
Rafael Cruz, an executive consultant, and, George Gadson (pictured), a business consultant and market growth expert and artist, who are both with Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Atlantic University, have a longtime affiliation with the AEI program and are looking forward to the return of “Business Skills For Creatives.” Both were part of the 2020 program.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve trained over 900 artists. South Florida is known for its creative sector and creative economy and now they’re getting the support necessary to leverage their talents and skills so they can have not only make a creative impact, but an economic impact, which creates intergenerational wealth,” said Cruz.
For any artists interested in the program, don’t wait until the last minute to sign up because the demand causes the class to fill up quickly,” advises Gadson.
For those interested in “Business Skills for Creatives,” check out ArtsCalendar.com/BizSkills, where you can find a full listing of the program’s offerings.