Its one thing to be an artist, but its another to make money doing it. Thats where the Small Business Development Center of Southwest Colorado hopes to step in and help with a six-week Leading Edge for Creatives class.
The class will cover business concepts as they relate to creative industries and will help participants create their own business plan.
The class is partially funded by a $3,000 grant from the Creative Industries Division under the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Grants were offered to small-business development centers across the state to increase the number of artists who know how to run and grow their businesses, said Joe Keck, executive director of the business development center.
As Durangos arts community continues to grow, there is a niche and need for a class to help artists succeed business-wise, said Sheri Rochford Figgs, executive director of the Durango Arts Center.
All artists have that entrepreneur spirit, but a lot dont have an understanding of how to do it from a business sense, Rochford Figgs said.
Pat Senecal, an artist who will be co-teaching the course, put it another way.
(Artists) can have a different mind set, said Senecal, whose specialty is pastel portraits of animals. The way we work our art, its all intuitive, but with business its always good to have a plan to bounce your intuition into.
The class was one that Keck had been discussing for a while before it became a reality.
The arts community is such a big part of tourist economies such as Durango, Keck said hes glad the Small Business Development Center was finally able to offer a class for arts businesses.
Senecal has teaching and consulting experience in organizational development and communication and is the outgoing town planner and interim town manager in Ignacio.
She will teach the course with Erich Bussian, an entrepreneur who also worked with San Juan Bioenergy and is business adviser with the Small Business Development Center.
The two will cover concepts such as creating a business template, identifying competition, branding and marketing and arts-specific legal, financial and tax information. They also plan to bring in guest speakers and assign participants to interview people who have been successful in arts-related businesses.
Class participants will create their own business plans in the process.
Helping artists succeed helps the city of Durango as a whole, Bussian said.
There are lot of really talented artists in Durango, and the more that these artists can figure out how to sell their art it, the more it helps Durango become known as a place to go for art, he said.