As we move through various phases of reopening of our county, arts and cultural organizations are figuring out how to rebuild their organizations and infrastructure. Seasons have been cancelled, projects rescheduled or nixed, and artists have lost months of work. However, despite these losses, there have been many great strides made in the virtual space that have added new and innovative opportunities for public engagement as organizations work to rebuild.
One of the things we had to do was find a way to effectively transform the Artist as Entrepreneur Institute (AEI), a mainstay of the Cultural Division for nearly 15 years, and catapult this unique and much-needed program into the digital sphere. Founded by Arts Cleveland, AEI taught artists of all disciplines how to understand and master the business side of their work, and it has been quite successful at doing so, with more than 1,000 alumni of the program creating and selling their work in South Florida.
As a product of formal music study, I can attest to the fact that music school is great at teaching the craft but does not adequately address the development of the business acumen needed to be an artist.
Creativity and craft are important, but if you are not able to market your product, navigate copyright law, or know your way around a contract, being successful in business will be much more challenging.
As of June 13, the AEI program has moved online and been renamed Business Skills for the Modern Creator. While the goals of the program remain largely the same, the online space offers greater flexibility in the timing of sessions and guest speakers. For example, what used to be four all-day sessions in June will now be six three-hour morning sessions every other Saturday through summer. This online flexibility also enables nationally recognized presenters to be featured alongside local business leaders. In addition, creatives everywhere will be able to access the recorded classes at any time on YouTube.
While we do not plan to keep this program exclusively virtual, the pandemic has given us and many other organizations a reason to push further into the digital realm. As things gradually return to a semblance of normal, we’ll continue to explore this new knowledge and opportunity and how it can be combined with traditional and in-person programming. In all, I think the outcome will be positive.
Business Skills for the Modern Creator will take place through August.
Visit Broward.org/Arts to register for these free sessions.