My head is fairly spinning from this past weekend. The trip to Kansas City, MO for the Arts Enterprise Summit was wonderful from many different perspectives. Professionally, from a Drawing Down the Vision standpoint, it was a complete success! Interacting with students from all over the country as well as fellow presenters, educators, entrepreneurs and artists was intensely rewarding. With only an hour (twice over) in which to present a bit about our workshop and the development of the process over time, Adam and I were overjoyed at the deep level of insight that participants gleaned from some simple exercises in such a short time. We could not have asked to be more well received and I am brimming with gratitude for the opportunity to take our project to this community of people.
As an artist working to walk the nebulous line of art and making a living, it was a breath of the cleanest, freshest air that I have had in a long time in my career. I met creative entrepreneurs, classical and jazz musicians, academics from the arts and business, visual artists, dancers and more. The connections made with all of them are new avenues for me to learn about how others are forging their careers. I believe wholeheartedly in continuously expanding my artistic community. It’s crucial for both professional and personal development. During the opening exercise at the conference called a Reciprocity Circle it became very clear how much we could all provide to and receive from each other if we just opened up the lines of communication about what we need to foster our careers (or build a backyard chicken coop, or find a local Irish Music session…) This exercise set the tone for the fast paced business-card-trading, information-exchanging, relationship-building atmosphere that would remain for the duration of the summit. I thought back to my last post and my musings on the notion of vulnerability. During this weekend, baby ideas were shared in the light of day by many people to see if they could get some help in nurturing them into viable projects. This took an intense amount of courage for many summit participants and I commend them. Only through opening themselves up to vulnerability by asking around for solutions were they able to get some answers. A positive community of supportive people is crucial to survive as an artist in the modern day. I am tickled to have a slew of brand new like-minded thinkers to add to my community!
One major theme of the summit was the changing face of the arts and entrepreneurship landscapes and how technology with its inherent fluidity and constant update capacity would shape how artists and entrepreneurs share and promote their work. I embrace this completely via this blog, my new Etsy account and opportunities to follow the progress of my work on Facebook and Twitter. That said, the message that Adam and I were bringing via Drawing Down the Vision was that in order to become an authentic voice in the midst of all of this technology, you have to know how to unplug enough to dig deep and know yourself. Only then can you provide something fresh and compelling online amidst the millions of others sharing their digital realities. And so I will continue to update my virtual self as much as humanly possible (for me at least). But between these updates, I will keep walking the woods with muddy dogs, splashing through puddles in my beloved wellie boots, watercoloring in my sketchbook, melting wax and juicy colors at the encaustic table, growing baby tomato plants, playing Irish Music, taxi-ing and supporting my amazing kids, crawling through caves, and painting with thread. For me the physicality of this one wild and precious life is more compelling than spending too much time in front of a computer screen. But with new, exciting and amazingly easy tools, my online presence only gets easier to maintain over time. I will finish up this post with a blast of links and snippets of the stories and people who made the AE Summit something I intend to attend next year…..
Just a few of my Fellow Presenters and event organizers (think of me as a little fish in a HUGE pond….)
Andrew Taylor: Keynote speaker on The Art of the Business Model. An all around hilarious and brilliant guy who is a fan of embracing the positive when thinking about the future of arts entrepreneurship. He is also now known by some of us as the C.I.E.I.O…. (something along the lines of Chief Information Entrepreneurship Insight Officer)
Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos: Keynote speaker on some of her current tech projects, InstantEncore and the YouTube World Symphony. A sage of what’s next on the horizon in the world where the arts meet technology. She is a cellist by training, tech entrepreneur via great ideas and hard work, and a friend of Peter Gabriel. (!) I find myself thinking about building a mobile app for my blog…..
New friends Andrew Charnik and Michael Mauskapf of Symphony Bros. with whom I attended a fabulous gypsy-jazz show, visited a fun karaoke bar, survived a brief ice storm and a late night search for cheesy food.
Kristie Aiuto : (also a veteran of the above post-presentation adventures) is from Cincinnati and a friend of Adam’s from P&G whose speciality is teaching people how to get paid for following their passions. Great to get to know her (and her friend Mike!) at the summit.
Micah Killion: Fellow panelist in the portfolio career discussion. It is my great hope that someday a puppet character of mine will need a trumpet voice. Micah is my guy for this idea…
Emily Weingarten at www.breadnutbakery.com. I have hope for the future of education after meeting Emily… she will be pursuing a Master’s in Special Education.
Jonathan Kuuskoski: An AE team member who makes this work possible. He too was part of the cheesy food search….
Nate Zeisler: Event organizer and our original contact at Arts Enterprise. This guy wears many hats and all of them well. He worked incredibly hard to make this summit what it was and I commend him for it! I look forward to teaming up with Nate again soon!!
I could go on and on. I am still looking up all of my new friends/co-workers and exploring their online presence. It’s fascinating and inspiring to see all of the various ways they are all cobbling together these amazing artistic lives. Before I log off here, one last really cool thing. I came home to find an email from Etsy that one of my paintings had been selected by a fellow artist to be a part of her themed and curated ‘treasury’ which is like an online art show. I am honored and humbled. (and tickled, of course) It’s nice to know people are at least looking at the work….. next stop sales. Get ’em while their hot people!