Grace Cho doesn’t believe artists should have to struggle to get their work seen or earn a decent wage.
This corporate power player and no-nonsense New Yorker who once worked for GE Capital, NBCUniversal and Nielsen, dreamed of becoming a painter as a child. While she abandoned her dream for a while to conquer the corporate ladder, she has come full circle to help others hone their passion for art through artrepreneur.com, an innovative website that allows artists to create online portfolios and business plans and provides a virtual marketplace to sell their art.
Cho spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale about being fearless and mastering the business of art & design for the DBA [Doing Business as Artists] Closing Forum on June 20 that was presented by Broward Cultural Division in conjunction with its popular Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute seminar.
“Some people believe art is for the one percent. Before they even try, many artists sadly give up because they don’t know where to begin. Artists face so many challenges and I quickly realized, if someone with my background was struggling, I’d love to apply some of the same skills I learned in business to help other artists.”GRACE CHO
Sporting a white linen jacket and bold smoky eye shadow, Cho got into the nitty gritty of goal setting, marketing, and how art and tech have always been intertwined.
“Being an artist is such a solitary profession in so many ways. You often feel overwhelmed. What is it you’re trying to achieve with your art over the next five years? Do you have copyrights and trademarks in place? Do you have a strategy for taxes? You have to write up a complete business plan just like you would for any other business or company and stick with it. Every artist is the CEO of their own brand,” she noted.
Cho advises developing a plan for rate negotiation, SEO strategies and breaking a business plan down into tactical steps. “Do not be afraid of technology,” Cho said. “Knowledge is confidence and confidence ensures success.”
While anyone can join Artrepreneur for free and gain access to the site’s blog content and panel discussions, there is a monthly paid pro membership at $9 a month that unlocks more features for artists such as how-to instructions on adding a video biography to a portfolio, preferred search placement and more.
“The whole spirit of this site is we help creatives succeed,” Cho said. “Art is the fuel that keeps me curious and I never want to lose that excitement. We have a job board with over 2,000 creative industry jobs on our platform. We have a marketplace for art with 10 percent fees and 90 percent back to that artist.”
Although Artrepreneur is currently focused on visual arts, Cho plans to one day expand to include all aspects of performance art including music and beyond. “You can use our site to expand your list globally and the site also reaches buyers and collectors,” Cho said.
Cho encourages anyone with a passion for art to never let go of that desire. “It takes a ton of courage to make art and if you have a passion to make art, just try it,” Cho said. “Don’t wake up at 80 with any regrets!”