Being a professional artist encompasses much more than creating a masterpiece. The business side of being a professional artist can be frustrating and creative individuals may find it difficult to bring all the different pieces together in order to create a thriving business as a professional artist. There is a tremendous amount of detail involved, from the amount of time an artist spends learning and perfecting their craft, to the stories tied to the artwork; from the pricing of the raw materials, to targeting markets and valuing the final product.
DISCOVER & IDENTIFY NEEDS
Through conversations with artists, arts organizations, and professional folklorists, NC Folk discovered there was a shortage of centralized, practical business information available to self-taught and folk artists across the nation. There are many artists who would take advantage of practical resources, if only they knew they were available. Small, independent businesses needed access to resources and answers to common business questions. NC Folk wanted to help.
Seeing the lack of business guidance available to North Carolina folk and traditional artists, NC Folk created a free, easy to follow guide to the process of becoming a working artist. The Handbook for North Carolina Folk and Traditional Artists offers helpful information for creating a website, writing an artist statement, and even figuring out a good place to sell your work.
CREATE PROJECT TIMELINE
Over the course of 2016 NC Folk worked with community partners to develop a user-friendly, easy-to update, and easily accessible artist tool. In a little over a year, NC Folk developed a NC-based design model, created content and graphics and worked with interns to edit the guide and make it web-ready.
IMPLEMENT & ENERGIZE
NC Folk anticipates a warm reception for The Handbook for North Carolina Folk and Traditional Artists. NC Folk will use social media, folk centered list serves, and the NC Arts Council to announce the availability for artists to freely use, download and share the handbook. NC Folk will also send announcements through its mailing list and will promote the handbook’s availability through its website and other channels as available.
EVALUATE & IMPROVE
NC Folk is asking for user feedback, and we appreciate all the valuable feedback we’ve already received. In this ever-evolving world of “the internet”, we realized that we were not paying enough attention to our younger, NC artists. Tradition evolves in every age group, and millennial artists are quick to adapt to new technology. NC Folk will continue to run evaluations and gather new data so we can make this publication more interactive and as current as possible, so thank you!
“There is clearly a need for the kind of basic information in plain language that the handbook contains. Because few people are equally gifted with both artistic and business talents, most artists stand to benefit from practical, promotional, and legal advice. Sometimes, however, they don’t realize how they could benefit from it, or they are reluctant to seek it, or the advice is simply not accessible to them. For artists outside the cultural mainstream, to whom the Handbook was originally targeted, these obstacles, and their very need for technical assistance, may loom especially large. As we have assessed new advice and information to add to the Handbook for this edition, brought on changing realities like internet use and digital technology, the need for a basic source of guidance to grassroots artists seems more important than ever.”
~ Robert Cogswell, Former Folklife Director, Tennessee Arts Commission