Thursday, June 16, 2011

...we ate the cake, too...

This past Monday there was a reception in Staples for the grantees of 2010. It was a nice event, good conversation, and great cake!

If you are a resident of Minnesota and an artist likely you might be interested in knowing that the Springboard For The Arts offers career counseling services. I have re-posted the original article below and can be viewed at the Five Wings Arts Council website.

I would also like to say that after having a few articles written on my work I can affirm the saying ...'you can't believe everything that you read'... such as a very small example here... '
She knows that sales there as well as via Ugallery have been stimulated by her participation in Artprize.' My attendance at Artprize have resulted in sales both on and off Ugallery, though I can not claim for a fact that sales at the Affordable Art Fair in NY were a direct result of Artprize. A minor 'mistake', but none the less, it is still a very nice and well written article.

Mingling, Munching and Mentoring

Monday evening, June 13, 2011, the Five Wings Arts Council hosted a reception for the Grantees of 2010 exhibit currently on display in the Middle Ground Gallery. Visual and literary artists whose careers have been enhanced by a FWAC Individual Artist Grant in 2010 were invited to display three items each. As a result, the work of seven artists from the five-county region has been on display since the beginning of May and will continue through July. Those artists include: David Rickert, painting; Douglas Wolff, photography; Kayleen Horsma, painting; Candace Simar, writing; Charmaine Donovan, poetry; Kent Scheer, sculpture and digitally manipulated photography. (Visit our gallery page to see the work of these artists.)

The 6:00 p.m. reception, billed as Mingling, Munching and Mentoring was an opportunity for folks from the region to meet the artists and for the artists to get acquainted with each other. Attendees munched on fresh fruit and a one-of-a-kind art cake while viewing the work and voting for their favorite piece. Kent Scheer was chosen to receive the People’s Choice award: a commemorative plaque and a $50 stipend.

Always on the lookout for ways to optimize mentoring, FWAC invited Springboard for the Art’s new regional career counselor Mary Warner to give an overview of her work in a presentation at 7:00 p.m. followed by Kayleen Horsma who discussed her experiences at Artprize and Ugallery.

Warner, a fiber artist and writer from Little Falls, completed Springboard’s Work of Art workshop series last fall and received additional training for her position with them. She’s prepared to assist artists in setting goals, working with time management, budget planning and writing artist statements. She is also an experienced blogger and will offer online tips and tricks. To schedule an appointment

with Mary, go to the Springboard website, click on the “for artists” tab, then on “consultations.” The website is being updated and though you might not see Mary’s picture, she’s available for appointments by clicking on the “Sign up for a Consultation” button. The $45 hourly fee is tax deductible. Five Wings may offer a free consultation, one per artist, in the future. Call 877-654-2166 if you’d like to be on the waiting list.

Kayleen Horsma, the FWAC Master Artist of 2011, is constantly on the lookout for ways to increase her visibility as an artist. She credits a recent uptick in the sale of her work to her exposure at Artprize and through her representation by an online art site, Ugallery.

Artprize is an open art competition with what the Grand Rapids, Michigan, organizers claim as the world’s largest top prize at $250,000. Horsma decided that her participation in Artprize 2011, the third year of this event, even without winning the top prize, could be a career altering experience. Her research showed that large scale works gained the most attention and that her choice of a venue was also important. Artists choose from among the galleries, restaurants, and other sites available for display during the three-week spring run of the show. Horsma’s 5 foot by 5 foot oil on canvas titled “The Right Stuff” was seen by an estimated 30,000 over the course of the event. She drove her piece to Grand Rapids, saving a $1000 shipping cost, stayed with a host family and spent most of the days of Artprize with her painting, meeting viewers and talking about her work. She was interviewed for both radio and television programs, gaining the valuable exposure she sought.

Horsma’s online searches also turned up Ugallery, an initiative started by students at the University of Arizona. The founders explained how that happened: “For a class project, we ventured to solve a fundamental problem in the art business - how can promising artists connect with people looking to buy reasonably priced, original artwork? Our solution was, a virtual gallery that does that and more. Upon graduation in 2006, we decided to take the leap and turn Ugallery into a reality.” Learn more about these young entrepreneurs at (You’ll even see Horsma’s work on the Ugallery website’s “about” page, in a photo of the founders taken while they attended the Affordable Art Fair in New York. Look on the right side of the photo.)

How it works: artists are invited to submit their work for consideration by Ugallery. Upon acceptance, images of the artwork are uploaded to the site. Sales are handled by Ugallery and artists who are located near a UPS store need only take the work to the store along with the shipping label provided by Ugallery. Ugallery gets a 50% cut but also works with artists to set prices that are agreeable to both the artist and Ugallery. Since Horsma doesn’t live near a shipping center, she handles her own packaging but is reimbursed by Ugallery for those expenses. She says Ugallery is a good business and responsive to phone calls.

Horsma’s representation on Ugallery led to an invitation to show her work at the Affordable Art Fair in New York. She sent 14 pieces. She knows that sales there as well as via Ugallery have been stimulated by her participation in Artprize. Her diligent work in “getting out there” is paying off. She proves that the distance from a small town (Menahga, Minnesota, population 1306) to the rest of the world isn’t as far as it used to be.

The last mentoring bit offered at the artists’ reception was about the online funding resource Kickstarter . This pledge system for supporting creative projects is an innovative approach to gathering financial support. Project planners provide a detailed profile of their project, the cost estimate and their reward system for supporters. Pledges are made by visitors to the site. When the total is met, supporters are charged via credit cards, Kickstarter gets a 5% commission and the project is off and running. Brainerd’s Phil Holbrook of Egofest fame, has funded movie projects through Kickstarter and is happy to talk about this experience.

These marketing ideas are only the tip of the iceberg. They reflect the 21st century philosophy that artists and creative thinkers will be the driving force of economic recovery.

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