The Art of Business and the Business of Art

The Art of Business and the Business of Art

You can have the greatest idea, product or service in the world, but if you don’t have the business savvy to build it, promote it and sell it, it’s virtually impossible to be successful. In the same sense, mingling arts and business is critical to helping working actors, painters, sculptors and writers succeed.

As part of our mission to support artists, Nickel Plate Arts, with the help of several key partners, will pilot business training classes for artists beginning in August 2015. Indianapolis law firm Brannon Sowers & Cracraft PC has stepped up as an early adopter of the project. BSC’s director, John Brannon, is a Noblesville resident and strong supporter of the local creative community.

In addition to helping artists, our ultimate goal is to develop a community of supporters, all of whom share a stake in seeing the project succeed. We want this to be a resource for supporters on multiple levels, giving business leaders a chance to get to know artists and learn from their creativity and unique experiences. This cross-pollination should prove to be an economic asset and emphasize that this is a great area for businesses of all sizes to find talent and do business.

We have been carefully cultivating this project through a complex process of exploring and connecting ideas, opportunities, resources, partnerships and perspectives over the past three years. Here’s how it happened.

We listened to artists’ needs.

Through online surveys, formal feedback sessions and casual conversations, we learned that many artists in our network are interested in sharpening their business skills. They seek opportunities to learn more about marketing, social media, accounting and other technical subjects, but few, if any, formal resources are available that are specifically designed for the needs and interests of artists.

We tapped into the business-related community.

Next, we sought out local partners. We chatted up organizations in our area, and discovered key groups that shared goals and values that seemed to mesh with artists’ requests for business training. It seemed to us that each of these organizations could play an important role in the development of business training resources for artists.

We convened conversations with the hopes of creating a model to test.

The result of these conversations is a plan for a pilot program that will be unrolled in stages and will harness the strengths of each partner involved.

We’re set to test the model.

The first stage of the program will consist of two panel discussions, each covering a different broad topic with subject experts related to the discussion theme. The first panel discussion will take place Wednesday, Aug. 26, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Hamilton East Public Library in Noblesville and cost $5 for each artist participant. We hope that from these discussions, artists will begin to get a sense of the value of the program, and we better understand which teachers or subjects artists like and need.

And then we’ll dive deeper.

The second phase of the project, slated to begin in the fall, will include in-depth workshops for smaller groups of people taught by topical experts. Themes for these workshops will be based on feedback from the panel discussions. The final phase may include an interactive web component that will allow artists to not only see upcoming events, but also to reserve their spots, find archived resources and more.

The first Business of Art class will be Aug. 26, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Noblesville Library. Cost is $5. Email to register.

Law Firm’s Expanding Support of NPArts

Brannon Sowers & Cracraft has been a Nickel Plate Arts First Friday sponsor since the summer of 2014, but as of July 2015, the law firm will increase its support level to become a Community Development Sponsor and help us infuse creativity into each of our six communities. Patty Hughel, Attorney/Director at BCS, will assist us in planning sessions and participate as a panel member and workshop leader. Patty will provide insights into copyright law and how artists can best protect their works in the modern, digital world.

  • The Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, has a network of leaders from businesses of all sizes who are interested in connecting with, learning from and providing mentorship to artists of all kinds.
  • The Fishers Arts Council seeks to promote and support local artists as small business entrepreneurs, or “art-repreneurs,” as they have begun to refer to them. Its current strategic plan calls for identifying and developing resources that can support artistic entrepreneurialism.
  • The Hamilton East Public Library system has recently adopted a new brand and a new set of core values — innovation, diversity, equality, and access — and seeks to be the community hub for new ideas, collaborations and ways of thinking.
Curtis Honeycutt