Tag: business plan

Peeling away the layers

Of all the materials we hand out at the Ignite seminar, the Presentation Scorecard tends to get the most use. We hand it out to all the participants on the first day, and then we hand copies of the Scorecard to the outside evaluators on the last day. The Scorecard lists ten areas where participants are evaluated. Of those ten areas, the Creative Offering receives the greatest amount of attention, both inside and outside the classroom.

When I asked Emy Imoh what she learned from Ignite, she talked about the elements of the creative offering. These elements — the mission, the vision, the value proposition, etc. — become part of the justification used to determine pricing. But, as Emy said, it requires peeling back the layers. Sometimes this process takes longer than six weeks, but it can happen with the help of fellow classmates, class facilitators, friends, colleagues in the field, and others.

It’s just one more reason to register today for Ignite.

In Her Own Words. In Her Own Art.

I met Tori Tinsley through Kamal Sinclair. Tori is a former participant of Kamal’s Entrepreneurship in the Arts seminar. When Kamal told me Tori’s story, I was so touched that I had to reach out to her. I asked her if she would write a little about her experience in the course. More importantly, I wanted her story to demonstrate that art is communication. It is how we have captured moments in this life. Brief. Beautiful. Moments.

This is Tori’s story…

Last year in March, my mother was diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), a progressive disease that shrinks the frontal temporal lobes of the brain and causes changes in personality, loss of memory, and eventually death. As my family and I struggled with this prognosis and looked ahead to what the future might bring, I continued to work in a highly stressful job as an art teacher at a residential treatment facility for youth with behavioral and emotional challenges. As my summer break approached, I spent hours online looking at summer programs, continuing education courses, and any other outlet I could find that would allow me to escape the anxiety, anger and fear that followed me day to day. While looking at Savannah College of Art’s continuing education courses, I saw a class for Arts and Entrepreneurship and signed up immediately. I had always been mad at myself for not taking a business course as an undergraduate painting major or as an art therapy graduate student. This class appeared to have enough sustenance to keep me busy over the break and might lead to the creation of a successful art business.

After the first class, I realized how little I knew about the importance of focusing my intention and market research. I knew it was going to be a lot of work over the next 8 weeks, but I was excited to learn more and the class fed my need for a creative outlet. Kamal Sinclair, our gifted and inspiring instructor, led us step-by-step through each phase of business planning. Because she’s done it herself, Kamal understands how an arts-based business is created and run.

During the second or third class, Kamal introduced us to the concept of a Blue Ocean, or a business idea that is not being developed by many others in the same market. During a discussion about Blue Oceans, our class watched a video about the artist and theoretical biologist Sala and his project One Thousand Paintings. Sala’s series takes a look at the value of art by providing a finite amount of paintings, each having a painted number from 1 to 1000 on canvas. As the number of sold paintings in the series increases, the price of the existing artworks also increases, thus following the laws of supply and demand (you can learn more about the process at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIbyLlnKk9s). I was so amazed that this biologist had cracked into theories behind the value of art without having an art background, that I was inspired that I might be able to investigate an important theory of my own through art as well.

As the pressures from my mother’s progressive illness   increased, I began to be consumed by it and looked for answers online. After having difficulty finding information about the disease and not having any FTD local support groups to turn to, my sister and I started talking about creating a website about FTD to help others find information and support. We wanted to call it Mom’s Laugh in order to pay homage to my mother, whose laugh was always the hallmark of her personality, and to highlight the effect FTD has on personality. One day around the same, the idea of the Mom’s Laugh Project surfaced. The bare bones of the project came first; basically, what if I created paintings and donated money from the proceeds to FTD research, but destroyed ones that were not sold in order to raise awareness of the disease. The more I thought about it, the more details developed and a stronger sense of purpose grew within me.

I remember running the idea by my husband and him saying, “Did you think of that by yourself?” I knew at that point that I had something and took it back to my class to get feedback and see how it could be developed further.

In class, Kamal and my classmates agreed that there was something special about the idea. In each subsequent lesson, they gave me feedback on how I could market my idea, who I should contact, and what directions I could take my business. By the end of the class, the Mom’s Laugh Project had a website, a board of advisors, and a small series of paintings started.

A few months after the class was over and I was back in my 9 to 5 job, I continued thinking about the Mom’s Laugh Project and working on it little by little. In March of 2010, one year after my mom’s diagnosis, I collaborated with my friend Jenny Henley to show the work in her gallery space. I had also contacted The Association of Fronto-temporal Dementias (AFTD) and they were delighted to assist in spreading the word about the project and exhibit. To date, 19 paintings have been sold and we have helped raise close to $1500 for the AFTD.

This past spring, I left a full-time job to focus on the Mom’s Laugh Project, spend time with my mother, and work as a contract art therapist with two organizations. In addition to the Association of Fronto-temporal Dementias, the project has also led to collaborations with the Alzheimer’s Association, Emory University’s Neurology Department, where my mother receives treatment, and Atria Buckhead, where my mother now lives. I do not believe I would have been able to channel my grief in such a positive and constructive way had I not taken the business class with Kamal last year. I highly recommend this class and ones similar to it to anyone looking to start an arts-based business, or any business for that matter.  

I want to wrap up with a favorite quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu that I often say to myself when overwhelmed with challenges stemming from taking care of my mother and her affairs: “Nothing is too much trouble for love.” It gets me through the most difficult of situations and always leaves me with a smile on my face. I encourage you to also state this affirmation when thinking about the kind of life you want to lead. If you want to love what you do and channel your creative spirit, then I say take the plunge and invest in yourself by allowing yourself to follow your dreams. It is one of the surest ways of leading a contented life that will benefit both you and the community in which you live.

To learn more about Tori Tinsley and her artwork, visit her website http://www.toritinsley.com

Entrepreneurship in the Arts

We are really excited to be offering the Entrepreneurship in the Arts seminar with Kamal Sinclair. Kamal and I began talking about offering a class similar to this two years ago. She has taught this course material in between that time at SCAD and through other organizations as well, but we really wanted to offer it to the C4 Atlanta community.

If you are working on a career in the arts, this class is for you. Kamal not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. She’s been the struggling artist-slash-administrator AND she has been apart of widely successful productions as well (uh, hem…STOMP to name just one). She is quickly becoming a rock star arts entrepreneur herself. Also, she is just a cool person to know.

Artists make great entrepreneurs. It’s true. But often we have not been given the tools to put all of our creativity into a context that can help us earn a living. This class will not only inspire you to pursue (and refine) your goals–it will also give the tools to do so.

I hope to see you in class! To register Click Here

The Guts of C4 Atlanta

The Guts of C4 Atlanta

This is our BUSINESS MODEL coming together. Oooohhh. See how it glows. One day, it will get it’s wish and become a real boy…uh, a real Business PLAN.

Okay. You want to know what we are up to–more specifically, what is it that we plan to offer AND how is that different from other organizations. Well, it is simple. It is true that we do serve the arts–we support artistry. Our services are designed to answer one HUGE problem for all artists and arts organizations: sustainability. By providing resources that help support artistry (access to insurance, collective bargaining, expert training opportunities, partnerships in K-12 education, technology innovation & a philosophy of social responsibility) C4 Atlanta contributes to the cultivation of a healthy arts ecosystem.

Jessyca & Lyre Work on The Business Model

How is that different from what others might be offering?

Research & Development – artists and arts organizations often do not have time to invest in honing in on the next technology, business or educational trend. C4 Atlanta does…that is what we do. We research. We keep up with national and local trends in arenas other than just the arts. Combine that with feedback from the people whom we serve, and we have a constantly changing network that saves artists time and money. We figure out the best routes for implementation and evaluation of services for an entire ecosystem.

C4 is somewhat like a social service program for the arts community. Our programs are interventions that help individuals and organizations create and sustain a business. However, we also believe in community. We believe in the intrinsic and extrinsic value of art.

Still Working On the Business Model
Joe & Lyre. Still Working On the Business Model

Just Around the Corner…

We envision a community where the arts are not some separate appendage from the rest of society; rather, it is an integral component of responsible citizenship–it is a measure of the health of the community.

Ingrained in our business plan is transparency. C4 Atlanta works with the community to find solutions to problems and to track trends and issues affecting the arts ecosystem. We do not see a hierarchy of organizations, sectors or people. That is out modded thinking. Networks (or image a series of webs) are how we learn, communicate and interact with one another.

In the spirit of transparency, I am posting a link to our guts…our wiki. This wiki contains brainstorms, notes and specific outlines about C4 Atlanta tasks. Feel free to comment, ask questions or add to the mix. You will not be able to edit, but there is a field for you to leave your thoughts. NOTE: keep in mind that some of the service we have outlined are short term goals, but many are long term that carry with them particular dependencies. Internally, we have goals for one month, three months, one year, and so on.

Enjoy! Here is the link to our Wiki: http://c4atlanta.pbworks.com

Beanie. He would rather be chewing on Jessyca’s shoes.