PDP’s Core Weekend in Nashville

As the Creative Capital presenters introduced themselves at our PDP Weekend Workshop last July, the staff of the Arts & Business Council was not sure exactly what to expect. It’s safe to say our participating artists felt the same way. We had heard lots of word-of-mouth about the PDP experience, but nothing could have fully prepared us for the life-change, renewed sense of community and rejuvenation brought about through one weekend in a drawing studio at a local university.

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville (ABC) hosted a Core Weekend Workshop in late July at Belmont University. As the PDP program fit squarely into ABC’s larger mission of improving sustainability for the arts, we jumped at our first opportunity to present a program of this scope and depth, knowing we didn’t have the resources in our community to do this level of training. At Creative Capital, we found extraordinary leaders who could speak to our artists on a peer-to-peer level.

Our 24 participants were selected through an application process resulting in a diverse group of Nashville artists ranging from a country-music songwriter to a juggler to a performance artist to a portrait painter. Since presenting the workshop, we have been privileged to watch these participants continue to develop as individual artists and pursue collaborations. Participants have shared that the workshop gave them not just the confidence to execute their work and vision, but also the confidence that they could succeed in Nashville. This is critical to help a city of Nashville’s size retain talented and diverse artists.

The most unexpected part of the weekend was the impact it has had on our organization. The three members of our small team attended the whole weekend program and each brought back many pages of notes. We now find ourselves using Creative Capital maxims around the office like “Do less with more” and “What are we waiting for? No one is coming to help!” The Creative Capital program also inspired and engaged our board, thanks to the moving participant testimonials and tangible results.

Now word has officially gotten out in the community. One year ago, the PDP workshop was a new concept for Nashville. Now, artists are asking the ABC to bring the program back next year so they can participate!

Casey Summar is the Director of the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, the cornerstone program of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, providing pro bono legal and business services to the creative community.

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