The notion of a starving artist may sound romantic, but the reality stinks.
That’s why Tapp’s Arts Center is presenting “ArtistsU: Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist.” The workshop, set for Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5, is free – just right for those trying to get an art career off the ground in Columbia.
Experienced artists will lead discussions on a variety of topics, among them:
▪ Why artists are poor and why they shouldn’t be
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▪ Tools artists have used to make things easier
▪ How to build a life that is balanced, productive, and sustainable
In advance of the workshop, we asked one of the leaders, Michaela Pilar Brown, for a bit of insight on what it’s like to be an artist in Columbia.
Q: Can you offer five pieces of advice for someone considering a career as an artist in Columbia?
A: Considering the principals of Artists U:
1. Make a plan.
2. Make a sustainable budget to support the plan.
3. Make a realistic schedule for yourself that includes dedicated time to make art and time for renewing the creative spirit.
4. Define your mission: What do you make? Why do you make it? Why will others care?
5. Finally, start where you are. Make incremental changes in your life that move you toward your goal of making a career in art.
Q: What are the special challenges in Columbia?
A: Columbia is a small arts community, with fewer arts funding, and fewer commercial opportunities for professional artists. But this challenge is also Columbia’s strength. There are lots of opportunities to join the arts conversation in this city and not be drowned by a cacophony of voices. You can build an intimate arts community in Columbia. You can find people sincerely interested in looking at new artists in all areas of the arts.
Q: Why is Columbia a good place to be an artist?
A: This is a city committed to growing its arts opportunities from all sides. The government is committed to this effort; the arts institutions are actively engaged in the work of inclusion both in their offerings and in the voices they expose. The public library’s renovation included makers’ spaces, performance auditoriums, and communal work space. Columbia has the best Arts Commission of any state I’ve lived in, actively advocating for the state’s artists, educators and patrons. This is a city on the come up!
Q: How do you get your work shown here?
A: Look for opportunities that match your level of professional achievement. If you’re just starting, look for smaller opportunities in public and community arts spaces. Cultivate relationships with your peer group. You are moving along together – you will provide each other opportunities as you move along.
Q: What was the best advice you got from a fellow Columbia artist?
A: Show up and make work. Keep making work. Working moves you forward, from Tyrone Geter.
Lezlie Patterson, Special to Go Columbia
If you go
ArtistsU: Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist
WHERE: Tapp’s Art Center, 1644 Main St.
WHEN: 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5
WORTH NOTING: Register at www.tappsartscenter.com. Class size is limited. Beverages and lunch on Saturday will be provided.