ARTISTS FIRST!

Across the breakfast table at an Oakland cafe, my friend and colleague’s eyes fill with tears.  “I’ve been so worried about my films.  I haven’t been able to finish the last one… I miss it so much.”  My own eyes blur with tears. You see, we are both founders of start-ups in the arts (no, this is not an oxymoron), and we are continually up to our eyeballs with what it takes to build profitable businesses with scalable futures while staying true to vibrant social missions. I’m the CEO and founder of ArtSpark, and Holly Million is the founder and

Read More
Business for Artists 101: Protecting Your Assets

Business for Artists 101: Protecting Your Assets

(Thanks to guest blogger, Marlo Spieth from Avvo.com, for this blog post!) Salvador Dalí was an artist unsatisfied to be famous posthumously. Breaking with tradition, it was his priority to be recognized and compensated for his work during his lifetime. How did Dalí achieve financial success? It has been said that Dalí was revolutionary in the sense that he was both an artist and a businessman. History remembers him as an eccentric but, in fact, his peculiarities were the result of a fierce commitment to his brand. In 1924, Andre Breton defined surrealism as “the actual functioning of thought…. in

Read More
Business Model Canvas for ARTISTS

Business Model Canvas for ARTISTS

  Six amazing artists came together for two evenings in September, creating a “Business Model Canvas” to think about how their creative work could produce income.  ArtSpark discovered the “Business Model Canvas” during the Start Up Weekend in Albuquerque last year.  After working intensely with a start-up team using the model all weekend, I quickly realized that it was the PERFECT approach for artists, artisans, designers and other creatives.  Yes, it needed to be modified so that it made sense to artists who often don’t relate to business terms like “customer segments” and “value proposition.”  Yet, the short and sweet

Read More
Life in the Day of an Artist, OR when do I have time to make ART?

Life in the Day of an Artist, OR when do I have time to make ART?

This post is inspired by James Judd, writer/comedian/NPR storyteller, who wrote an article for Pyragraph in early spring entitled “My Day as a Working Artist.”  It’s a funny piece, but also poignant because at the end of a very long day, Judd writes:  “Was it artistically fulfilling? No. It didn’t include any work on my script or, heaven forbid, rehearsal.  Nothing in it made me feel like I’m becoming a better artist.” For many artists, days like this are typical:  massive numbers of hours working on the business of getting their creative work out there (Judd’s day began at 8:30am

Read More

Resource ThuRsdays: Linked In #3, Best Practices for Artists

(Please forgive the re-post! This post did not make it through a recent update.) To sum up our ongoing discussion of LinkedIn and how it relates to the nonprofit art sector and individual artists, artisans, designers, writers, and other creatives, we at ArtSpark have compiled a few resources that will help you put your best foot forward on this professional networking site. In this excellent post that has 9 tips for using LinkedIn as an artist (whichever type you identify as), you’ll find some basic suggestions and a few rare gems of advice. My favorite is #7, which basically says:

Read More

Resource ThuRsdays: Linked In #2, for Nonprofit Organizations

(This post got deleted through an update to our website, so please excuse the double-post!) It is fascinating seeing and interacting with so many people in the arts and culture nonprofit sector. Though the focus of their philanthropy or awareness-raising work varies, their mission was always the same: create art & inspire others, truly connect with communities and individuals needed to make the creativeproject happen, make a plan & a budget, find funding, somehow pull it all off, make a difference, and then… repeat! What’s at the heart of all successful arts and culture projects in the nonprofit arena? Artists,

Read More