Saturday, April 12, 2008

Artists and Pricing

A couple of weeks ago, I got an interesting and unusual invitation. The Community Partnership for Arts & Culture, the group established to sell the region on public funding for the arts (they were successful in getting Issue 18 passed, which generates about $15 million a year in cigarette taxes for arts organizations), convenes classes for artists that help them with the business side of their pursuits. They call it the Artist as Entrepreneur Insitute. The classes attract mostly visual artists, but a smattering of writers have also been showing up, and so CPAC decided to add a few writers to the mix of presenters. And so last night I joined a panel devoted to the subject of pricing one's services. A charming woman named Joan Perch, of the Red Dot Project, knew way more about this subject than I do, so I listened and learned along with everyone else. And then I tried to add my two cents about establishing one's creative brand, and leveraging the web to build your practice. While none of the assembled artists seemed to be using the web to promote their work, Red Dot (funded by the Civic Innovation Lab) does a wonderful job of it, and even has an excellent blog. All in all, an enjoyable session yesterday afternoon at Kent State, followed by an equally enjoyable catch-up dinner with my young friend Theresa, about whom I've previously written.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Nice to hear about such things. Teaching us about how to manage a career as a business was woefully lacking when I was in music school. It's only in the past ten years or so that art schools have started to add business classes to their curricula. Which I think is a great thing: it's not about fame and riches, it's about survival. My whole life might have been different had this sort of thing been available when I was in music school. (No regrets, just an observation.)

Pricing is a very complex issue. I admit I haven't cracked it. I probably undercharge in order just to get the work, most times. I have once or twice deliberately overcharged because I didn't like the client or the gig; on the other hand, one time they didn't bat an eye at my exorbitant estimate, and I was elegantly miserable for a short time. Ah, the life of a freelance creative.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, Art. I think pricing is almost completely about psychology. A creative person first has to really value their own work before they can assign a meaningful price to it. So you have to believe in yourself and your work first.


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