WhOAh, My Peeps, You Did it!

YOU are unbelievable!

In less than 24 hours, over 250 of you stopped what you were doing, read my “Help” email, then jumped right in and voted for smARTist!

For those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, it’s the Chase Small Business grant contest.

I only stumbled across this a couple of days before the deadline (tomorrow!) and the two basic requirements were 1) filling out the application, and 2) having your community vote for you.

Honestly, I didn’t have a moment during the day to do a darn thing about it. The application had penetrating questions I knew would take me a while to nail, so a huge part of me just let the opportunity go.

Only, another part of me (goodness, how many are there anyway ;-)…

took the bull by the horn (bull? what bull? did anyone see a bull??) and decided, at midnight Wednesday, to answer the first question and see how it went.

It went until 6 am – sunrise!!

Now, before you go all gaga on me, remember that I’m the inveterate night owl. I’ve done this before – granted, not on a weekly basis – but I have watched the sun come up after pulling an all nighter more than once.

Then, I had to rally my unbelievably loyal team and have them switch gears and pop out the emails to you (and that was with Jordan in one of the fire embattled towns in CO wondering if her home was going to go up in flames… see what I mean by loyalty?).

And, WOWsie! You came through for smARTist in a big way. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Of course, there are thousands of businesses who got through the first two gates, so now it’s up to the panel to decide who gets the grants.

Want to see what I wrote?

I have no idea if I hit the markers the grant panel will be looking for besides the “Energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and passion for your business” criteria.

But I thought it would be a quirky “Thank You,” and cool, if I showed you what I submitted and what you actually voted for!

It’s looooong, so of course I’ll forgive you for skimmin’!

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Small Business Application:

Tell us about your business; how successful is it and why is it unique?

For thousands of years, the four pillars of all great human civilizations have been social structure, commerce, government, and the arts. Yet in our 21st Century, we see the arts either marginalized as “luxury” items, or over-hyped by the astronomical auction bids splashed across the media.

Meanwhile, America’s arts generate $135.2 billion in economic activity from our nonprofit arts and culture organizations, as well as $74.1 billion from event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.1 million full-time jobs and produces $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year. And this isn’t just about ticket sales, but the overspill to local restaurants, hotels, gift shops, galleries, etc. The Tourism industry research tells us that arts tourists stay longer and spend more than the average traveler, making the arts a vital contribution to our economic recovery.

In spite of this wealth, an individual visual artist can still find herself struggling to make a living whether she is an emerging, mid-career, or even established artist. Because, alongside producing works of art, an artist must also be an entrepreneur–a bracing reality that art schools and fine art degree programs fail to address.

With minimal exceptions, there is no art business or marketing school that trains visual fine artists with the most current tools and strategies they need to succeed.

For six years, smARTist has created a range of professional development materials, from the only professional development conference for artists (the smARTist Telesummit – longest running telesummit online), to ebooks on all aspects of being an artist (how to get into galleries, use social media for sales, set up a website/blog, develop a winning portfolio, etc.), to interviews with successful artists and leading art career authorities, to private coaching/mentoring, to a virtual version of the Art Salons of the 19th century–BlueStockingArtSalon.com.

Thousands of visual fine artists depend on smARTist for the most current information on bridging the gap between making art and making a living. The comments from artists over the years are so extensive we had to create a separate page.

“I received much more than I expected from the smARTist® Telesummit, and feel that my time and money were well spent. As an emerging artist, who didn’t know where her career was headed, I’ve spent many restless nights not wanting to wake up the next day, fearing the future. Now, with the information from your smARTist experts, I have goals to achieve and sources that I can turn to for help. I wish this had been available when I first graduated from art school a decade ago! Although I have taken similar courses locally, the depth and breadth of the conference astounded me. It gave me new found confidence and invaluable knowledge.” —Michelle Casey

smARTist, as a business venture, has consistently operated in the black, with net margins between 15% and 25% coming from multiple streams of income: online event sales, book sales, coaching programs, and information products.

How is your business involved with the community you serve?

Besides being the backbone of its online presence, the founder of smARTist, Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D., contributes to the local arts community by participating in brick ‘n mortar conferences, attending gallery openings, as well as holding local workshops and mentoring artists at all levels.

What would a $250k grant mean to your business plan and how will you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?

There are three main areas where the $250k grant will help smARTist maintain long-term viability:

1. Sustaining an online presence that uses the most current technological innovations is critical for retaining the smARTist, visual artist customer, and for developing the tools that can teach the same technological innovations to that customer. Two immediate needs are: a) maintaining a more consistent and professional video presence, and b) developing online strategies for mobile devices–both of these require technical development and assistance beyond the current budget allocations.

2. Creating new programs and informational products is at the heart of smARTist, and the provenance of the founder, Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D, author of “Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work,” the only manual for visual artists on a critical piece of their portfolios, the artist statement, needed for gallery submissions, as well as grant and residency applications.

The grant will help support the writing and publication of three books that Dr. Goodwin has outlined to be written over the next 2 years: “The 10 Zen Habits of Highly Successful Artists,” (this book is 50% written) “How to Start and Run An Artist Coop,” (with over 10,000 artist coops nationwide, to date there is no manual of best practices for founding, administrating, or the daily running of these businesses), and “The Artist Next Door: A Peek Into an Ordinary Day of Extraordinary People,” a collection of stories about living artists today: their struggles, triumphs, and everyday excursions into creativity.

3. Producing and directing a multi-media arts project that will showcase some of the best visual artists in the smARTist community in order to promote smARTist to a larger audience while also gaining visibility for the smARTist community of talented artists.

What types of challenges can you identify with your plan and how will you overcome them?

1. Challenges for “sustaining an online presence that uses the most current technological innovations” include identifying the right freelance candidates for development (overcome by thorough research and vetting by my entire team), keeping up with the technological changes in real time (overcome by staying connected to online communities, blogs, and networks within the visual arts industry), and staying relevant to the needs of my artist community (overcome by soliciting direct feedback from surveys, forum discussions, and one-on-one conversations).

2. Challenges for “creating new programs and informational products” include staying relevant to the needs of my artist community (overcome by soliciting direct feedback, before development, from surveys, forum discussions, one-on-one conversations), and setting up a variety of distribution channels (overcome by maintaining established channels and finding new, innovative channels through social media and with strategies co-developed with my team and my artist community).

3. Challenges for “producing and directing a multi-media arts project” include identifying the right talent for the right job (overcome by research, recommendations, and references), staying within budget (overcome by disciplined planning with anticipated delays and additional expenses built into the original blueprint), and setting up a variety of distribution channels (overcome by finding supportive partners within the arts industry whose visions are supported or expanded by the smARTist vision as it is executed within the project itself).

Additional relevant information you would like to share

Without visual art, our daily lives would be impoverished and dry as dust.

Without artists, there would be no paintings, sculptures, handcrafted high-end jewelry, furniture or pottery. Nor music, dance, theater and film. Beauty would be forever downgraded to commercials, and our souls left to languish in the desert.

There would also be a $231 billion dollar hole blown open in our economy. When a economic feasibility study was conducted in Boston, MA in the 1990s, the original report missed one of the city’s top ten employers because of a blind prejudice born of our collective cliché of the “starving artist”: the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

We cannot afford such prejudice or oversight. Supporting artists so they are successful supports the bottom line of every community and every business within that community. Collectively, that’s the whole country.

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And that, my lovely peeps, is what took me all night.

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btw, voting is still open until midnight Saturday June 30, 2012 – for icing on my cake – in case you just feel the urge, you can:

1. Click here

2. Sign in w/ Facebk on the right

3. Type “smARTist” in the search field on the left (be sure the town and state are either blank or: Millers Falls, MA)

4. Vote

And remember – You, brave artist, Are The Best!!!!

13 Responses to “WhOAh, My Peeps, You Did it!”

  1. Congratulations!!!!! Awesome!
    Annell

    • Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. says:

      Oh, my, THANK YOU, Annell,

      I dearly appreciate your help with this. My vision always seems to outstrip the budget, so *when* smARTist (thinking positive!) gets the grant, I’ll be able to knock some fun things out of the art’s ballpark (now that would be something to see, yes? An arts ballpark!)

  2. Ariane, Wonderful! You are the true wordsmith, you made it clear that SmARTist fills a much needed void.

    I responded immediately – stopped working on my biggest print job to date and voted. OK, it only took a moment and I needed a break. But it was important to me to make my contribution to SmARTist to get a chance at the grant.

    You rock! BTW, I am looking forward to your new books!

    • Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. says:

      What do you do, wear smARTist Blog on your wrist? :-)

      That you are here, time after time, jumping in to contribute – it’s like I have a real smARTist sister out there in Virtual Wonderland… so cool, Michelle, so cool…

      • Thanks Ariane, There is a new technology that pops up your email on your smart phone. When you get an email it dings… so you can glance at the header. — But seriously, it came in just as I was checking my email… (that break I needed) so I responded.

        Your work in helping artists is such a needed resource and I regularly send my artist friends to your blog and promote your SmARTist seminar. You can lead them to water… So I’m a huge fan of what you are doing and I too feel a kindred spirit bond in the ether-net.

  3. Brilliant……I’m so excited for you, Ariane! I am new to SMARTist, and so far very impressed with the information I have explored. I’m looking forward to seeing more, and truly believe that what you are doing is revolutionary. As an artist, I “have your back, girl”!!! Go get ’em :0) ~ Jenn

    • Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. says:

      Well, Jenn, welcome aboard the smARTist ship where all hands are always on deck (unless they’re not :-)…

      I love when new artists appear and add their brilliance to shining the light on the True Self.

      …and I LOVE the idea of being “revolutionary…” Stay tuned, as I just may use that handle in the future…

      And, thank you!

  4. Jo Castillo says:

    Congratulations and best of wishes to get the grant. Thanks for taking on the project. You are a help to us all.

  5. Oana Lauric says:

    Congratulations, Ariane!!! I am very happy that you succeeded in getting this grant (not only needed, but well deserved and sure to be put to good use), and am so glad that I could lend a hand! I look forward to reading your new books :-)

    • Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. says:

      Oh, Oana, don’t I wish I had gotten the grant – not quite yet!

      This voting was to put smARTist into the next level, where now a panel of “experts” will vet the businesses they feel have the most chance of success using the grant money.

      That said, I’m holding the vision of being one of those recipients in Sept – that’s when we’ll know.

      … and thank you!!!

  6. Kate Aubrey says:

    Congrats and hugs and the very best of luck! Hard Work Gets Results. I made myself a sign that says that, and it lives in a prominent place in my studio. Love today’s beach photo at the top. Have you ever been there? It’s a special place, good for thinking/communing. Take care, and again, good luck, Bluestocking Kate Aubrey

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