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Writing an Artist's Statement

Courtesy of Side Street Projects

Writing an Artist's Statement can be an important exercise in developing your work as well as providing key insights for curators, gallerists, funders and others. Find out the types of statements commonly requested, and whats, whys and hows of successful Artist's Statements.

Performance Checklist

Karen Atkinson, GYST / Side Street Projects, LA

Once you have a performance venue, make sure you find out the answers to the following questions, and follow the suggested timeline below.  Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue.


(Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue.)

• Dates for the performance(s).

• What is the honorarium or artist’s fee?  Will you receive a share of the gate?

• What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

Billing and Collection

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Keeping track of who owes you money will reduce a lot of headaches in the future.  Create a bill of sale for each work you sell.  Make sure you use a contract for every agreement you enter into.

If you make special payment plans for certain individuals, make sure you include that payment plan in the bill of sale.  You should always retain the work until the final payment is made.

Always get a list of the work located at a dealer, a gallery, or an art consultant.  Keep in touch with them regarding sales.  Know where you work is.

Documenting Your Work

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Documenting your work is an important aspect of business as an artist.  Many times, the documentation will be the only thing a curator, an arts writer, or juror will see.  Your work should be reflected in good quality images.  You are responsible for these images, either by documenting the work yourself, or finding a good photographer, videographer or digital professional to take the images.

Checklist for Finding a Studio

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects
  • Figure out how much you can afford for a separate studio space, or if you will need to consider an additional room in your home or apartment.
  • Calculate the space that you actually need to make your work. If you are on a tight budget, consider the minimal amount of space you need.
  • What kind of facilities do you need? 220 for electrical? How many electrical outlets? Adequate ventilation? Natural light? Oversize doors?

Charitable Contributions

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Since artists are always being asked to donate something, here is a brief list of things you need to know about donations.


By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

One of the best ways of making connections is networking.  This means being visible, going to events and openings, participating on panels, going to lectures and accepting visiting artist lecture gigs.  If you stay home in your studio, you are not going to meet the person who will open doors for your next show, or give you a good idea, or tell you about a public art project  opportunity.

Community Service

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Participating as a volunteer at a nonprofit organization, teaching classes in the field, and generally giving back to the community is a good way to keep in touch with what is going on in the art world, your neighborhood, or your region.

Taxes and Record Keeping

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

Keeping records is vital to a successful business.  I have included a list of items that you should keep track of in the taxes section.

Things to consider regarding keeping records:

  • Get and keep a ledger, either on your computer or by hand, of all your income and expenses.
  • Keep track of your billing and collection of those payments

Developing a Teaching Portfolio

By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

What is a teaching portfolio?  A portfolio or dossier is a collection of material that depicts the nature and quality of an individual's teaching and students' learning. Portfolios are structured deliberately to reflect particular aspects of teaching and learning – they are not trunks full of teaching artifacts and memorabilia. At its best, a portfolio documents an instructor's approach to teaching, combining specific evidence of instructional strategies, and effectiveness in a way that captures teaching's intellectual substance and complexity. (William Cerbin, 1993)


By Karen Atkinson, courtesy of Side Street Projects

There are basically six types of businesses, 'the self-employed', 'the builder of businesses', 'the inventor', 'the franchise owner', 'the marketer', and 'the speculator'. Most artists fit into the self-employment category which we will address here. It is known legally as the sole proprietorship. You and you alone own all the assets and assume all the liabilities.

Things to Consider:

New York Foundation for the Arts

The Benefits of Belonging

Making the most of art organizations like the College Art Association

The College Art Association (CAA) came into existence in 1911 as a professional organization for both art historians and artists, in particular those who teach at the college level. What are the benefits to artists of belonging to an organization like CAA?

Dr. Art on Buying a Home

by Matthew Deleget, New York Foundation for the Arts

Part 1: How Much Can You Afford?

How many artists reading this article own their own home? Personally, I don’t know very many. I can probably count them on one hand.

Venture Philanthropy and Funding Credits

Ask Artemisia, Melissa Potter, New York Foundation for the Arts

What is venture philanthropy? Do any of these funders make grants in the arts?

Venture philanthropy shares many characteristics with the “venture capital” model of the for-profit sector. With a final goal of sustainability and organizational capacity building, venture philanthropy combines active relationships between funders and grantees with carefully considered investments in initiatives that have measurable potential.

The Artist's Guide to Career Self-Assessment and Setting Goals

By Susan Koblin Schear, courtesy of New York Foundation for the Arts

You are not alone! No matter which discipline you work in, you will find comfort in knowing that many artists face the same challenges. These include being able to define their vision, evaluate their career, and set and achieve goals.

Using the Internet to Market Your Work

By Beth Kanter, courtesy of New York Foundation for the Arts

An artist who wants to get her or his work noticed must enter the marketplace with a good plan and set of tools. The Internet has become an essential channel for distributing traditional artist marketing tools such as résumés, press releases, work samples, and business cards. This essay provides basic advice about using the Internet to enhance your marketing efforts.

Can an artist Website bring you fame and fortune?

The simple answer is no! Artist Websites work best as an extension of traditional marketing efforts and can save time and money.

The Etiquette of Getting Grants

Shakurra Amatulla (The Grant Lady), courtesy of New York Foundation for the Arts

A little grant writing advice can go a long way. In the following article, Shakurra Amatulla outlines some of the basic information necessary for researching and writing grants.

So you want a grant—that chunk of money that’s "out there" just waiting for your request? But you’re impatient, sometimes believing that the road to success must open before you faster than Moses parted the Red Sea. In your search for grants, you buy and read everything about this free cash, continually look for people to guide you to said loot, and still you haven’t gotten any closer to it.

New York Foundation for the Arts

Money Basics - What is a Budget?

Courtesy of New York Foundation for the Arts

A budget is simply a plan for how you earn, spend, save and invest your money. Creating your budget is one of the first things you should do as you begin to organize your personal finances.

Why? Because having a budget is the key to making your money work for you. Until you actually calculate how much money you earn after taxes - and until you figure out how much money you spend every month - it's impossible to establish a savings or investment plan that will work.

The Art of Self-Promotion

Proving your worth in the marketplace

Although most artists, writers, and musicians wish for an agent or manager to help them sell their work, most must first prove their worth in the marketplace.