Why Make.Art.Work. Should be Your Partner

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This past Saturday, for the launch of Make.Art.Work., Andrew Simonet, artist and author of Making Your Life as an Artist, opened and closed his keynote talk with the same sentiment: “Thank you for making your work, for doing all the hard stuff in life to bring your work into the world. Our culture needs you, even if it doesn’t always know how to show it.” He added that being an artist is hard work and sometimes hard to explain. His opening remarks got nods, smiles and thoughtful murmurs of approval from a room full of working Connecticut artists.

Andrew’s advice? Define what a balanced, productive and sustainable art practice looks like for you. How do you begin to do this? Apply now to Make.Art.Work.! Make.Art.Work. wants to be your partner offering the tools, tactics and information to help you plan for your artistic success with focused monthly sessions on the topics you need to know lead by coaches, enhanced by peers and experts, and chock full of resources. Make.Art.Work. brings together groups of 15 artists each in Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven. Why so small? Because there is power in deepening and learning from your artist peers and building your creative community.

Here are some insights from three Make.Art.Work. alumni for whom the program provided everything from validation, a stepping stone to a full-fledged reorientation of one’s art practice.

  • Steve Balkun who completed Make.Art.Work. in 2014 said that it was during the program that his “art became primary, not secondary.” Steve was hugely inspired by the community of support which he found with the other artists, so much so that he and his wife Anita opened their home and studios to the group. This bonded cohort of 11 artists continues to meet 6 months after the program ended and has a group show in the works!
  • Cynthia MacCollum completed Make.Art.Work. in 2013 and as she put it, that was when she chose to take herself and her art seriously. For her, committing to that made all the difference. For the first time she put her art first and fit in everything else around it. Since Make.Art.Work., she has shown in numerous group shows in California, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, and had her first solo show in a CT gallery in August 2014.
  • Judith Barbour Osborne chose to do Make.Art.Work….twice! Of huge value to her was connecting with like-minded people on a regular basis to “commiserate, encourage and inspire.” Through all these budding relationships, Judith found her way into her first solo show in 5 years and many group shows, one of which lead to an invitation for a second solo show! One of her biggest tactical takeaways was “organizing what to do when” rather than having one giant wishful “to do list.” Clearly, it has had an impact!

Applications for Make.Art.Work. 2015 are now available at www.MakeArtWork.org! Working artists are encouraged to apply to the Fairfield, Hartford or New Haven cohort, to engage in a sixth-month intensive peer learning experience. Cohorts will meet for six three-hour sessions January through June. Sessions will address topics including goal setting, time management, promoting and selling work, financial and legal issues, and funding your career. To culminate the program, the cohort artists will organize an exhibit of their work next summer. Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. Apply early as each cohort will be limited to 15 participants. Final deadline: January 5, 2015.

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