Spring "Artist Business Trainings" a Success

May 2010
The Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and its partners at North Quabbin Woods, C3, Art for the Soul Gallery and Springfield Technical Community College held three Artist Business trainings.  This one-and a half day training were held in three locations- one each in Franklin, Hampshire and Franklin Counties. 

Attendance at each training was limited to 25 artists.  Each session consisted of four key components: (1) A  1 ½  day artist business training led by Arts Extension Service (AES) instructors Maren Brown and Dee Boyle-Clapp, which included Business Basics, Marketing, and finding income in the new economy;  (2) individual phone consultations with AES staff; (3) facilitated Networking meetings with Site Coordinators who began to host monthly meetings to help build artist peer groups; and (4) handouts including a copy of the Arts Extension Service’s Artist in Business workbook, and access to a private Artist Business Resource area on the AES website.

Interested artists registered with the site coordinator at each location.

• The Franklin County training was held on April 21-22 at the Petersham Town Hall.  Thanks go to Annette Ermini of North Quabbin Woods, office@northquabbinwoods.org or 978-544-3332. 

• The Hamden County training was held on April 28-29 at Springfield Technical Community College.  Site coordinator Tracy Woods of Art for the Soul Gallery, took care of registration and so much more.  She can be contacted at artforthesoul@verizon.net

• The Hampshire County training was held on May 5-6 at the former Dynamite Records space, Thorne’s Marketplace, and was coordinated with Commonwealth Center for Change (C3) co-director Julia Handschuh.  Contact C3 at info@commonwealthcenter.org.

This program was offered free of charge to resident artists with support from the Community Foundation of Western MA’s Buxton Charitable Foundation Fund, Bank of America, Trustee, and the Credit Data Services, Inc. Fund and the Springfield Cultural Council.
The Arts Extension Service (AES) is a national arts service organization located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  AES offers online arts management classes, two Arts Management Certificates, workshops and trainings to artists and arts managers across the country, and conducts research with a focus on cultural and creative economy work. 

According to Arts Extension Service Director, Maren Brown, “We are grateful to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts for their support of the region’s artists.  The economic downturn has deeply impacted the arts in the United States and the region.  Across the country, artists are experiencing vastly disproportionate unemployment rates: 50% more than other professionals with equal education, according to a recently released National Endowment for the Arts report.  According to a recent report by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, our region has a 61% higher proportion of creative workers than the national average.  If our artists and their small businesses fail, our region’s economy is at risk.”  

Says AES Program Coordinator, Dee Boyle-Clapp, “We hope to offer these workshops again, and welcome calls from artists to be placed on a mailing list.  Artists are the backbone of the Creative Economy, and their work has defined much of how we enjoy life in the Pioneer Valley.  While their contributions are appreciated by visitors and residents, the nature of the work can make many artists economically vulnerable in the best of times.  One of our goals is to provide artists with a network of similarly focused artists, so they can not only turn to their Site Coordinator and AES for business-related ideas and information, but to one another for support for the work, awareness of the issues, and mutual understanding that only another artist can provide.”