5. The business of being a teaching artist.

Started Thursday 26th June, 2014

While there is some evidence that artists and teaching artists enjoy higher job satisfaction than employees in other sectors of the economy, there is also concern that individual artists face precarious economic security. What distinctive habits of mind and personal skills are essential for teaching artists to prosper? 


Judith Mclean Sat 28th Jun, 2014 15:23pm
I would like to talk about what challenges teaching artists uniquely face? and what bodies of knowledge do teaching artists need for a sustainable career?
Judith Mclean Sun 29th Jun, 2014 12:47pm
I would also like to discuss the art of being a teaching artist?
Graham Hay Mon 30th Jun, 2014 06:44am
I was often told when I was a high school art student, that; "you can't make a living form art". After a 20 year detour, I have proved them wrong.

Yet I am unsure if it was the quality of my art, or my social and technical skills with digital media, which contributed the most to my cultural and financial success.

A WA art critic once said the only people who succeed as artists, are those who can do nothing else.
Judith Mclean Tue 1st Jul, 2014 10:27am
Disagree Graham look forward to talking with you about this today
Graham Hay Tue 1st Jul, 2014 13:08pm
If we are talking about a "business" (self employment) then it's common knowledge that

a) the self employed have higher job satisfaction than most employees.
b) 90% of Micro-enterprise businesses fail within the first year.

I suspect freelance artists trying to be self employment, face a similar experience.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, maybe we just need to edit and then pass a copy of any "how to survive in a Micro-enterprise" text to aspiring teaching artists?
Judith Mclean Tue 1st Jul, 2014 14:33pm
Pi think there are many ways teaching artists can 'grow their business.
Graham have a talk to the people from Goat Track Theatre. Just attended their workshop and they have grown an excellent business.
Eric Booth Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 07:00am

I try to present the entrepreneurial side of a teaching artist's work as an organic extension of the artistic drive. The goal is to support people's capacity to make personally relevant connections inside arts experiences. That is what brings them back; that is what taps the universality of the arts. Teaching artists are the designated experts of this process.  And if that is my top goal, as I think it may well be for all artists, there are many many ways to help achieve that goal. Only some of them have to do with making "nouns" of art (yes a great thing to do, but not the only thing to do)--there are many other ways to support people's capacity to accomplish that act of consequence, making a personally-relevant connection inside an artwork. And the entreprenuerial energy is to create many additional, clever, appealing, powerful, effective ways to achieve that goal. When I work with business groups, we don't use an arts vocabulary, but we are deeply engaged in the "verbs" of art, to achieve what they wish to accomplish.

Graham Hay Fri 4th Jul, 2014 16:46pm
Thanks for the tip Judith. Rather than create a large organisation, I've gone a slightly different self sustaining micro route. I've limited myself to weekly studio teaching (apart from one-off requests) to 8 hours a week, to free up the rest of the time for studio making, exhibiting etc. Seems to be still working for me 16 years later.