Artists Summer Institute: A Professional Development Intensive in Lower Manhattan

Artists Summer Institute 2012 participants, workshop leaders and staff
In May, Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program (PDP) collaborated with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to produce the third annual Artists Summer Institute (ASI), one of our most ambitious workshops. ASI is a free, five-day professional development intensive for 55 New York City artists working in all disciplines. Although we regularly partner with arts and community organizations to offer our one- and two-day workshops, ASI has been a unique opportunity to work together with LMCC staff and leaders to plan and present more content in an extended format. This was a particularly great group of artists and the Creative Capital staff felt so lucky to work with them!

Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program Director Alyson Pou (second from left) leading ASI participants in a Goal Setting exercise.
Held in Lower Manhattan on May 9-13, 2012, ASI offered a unique opportunity for New York City artists to step out of their daily routines to focus on their professional skills and artistic goals. It was designed to not only offer a mix of conceptual frameworks and practical tools, but also to give the participants opportunities to learn from each other.

ASI 2012 participants Kimberly Mayhorn, Yalini Dream and John Leo
One participant said, “This is an incredibly clear and empowering program. It gives the ability to not only invest in what you are learning, but in the artists that are learning with you. This intensive builds a community of support.”

ASI 2012 participants Daniel Coeyman, Armando Batista and Nicola Lervasi
In response to the Strategic Planning lecture, one participant remarked: “I had no idea what this term meant, but…once defined and broken down, it gave me a way to realize my dreams.”

Participant Melissa Attebery giving a daily introduction
At the start of the week, each artist gave a three-minute presentation on their creative work.  Every morning participants re-introduced themselves and briefly described their work. This repeated exercise helped participants remember each other and get more comfortable sharing about themselves and their artwork—a topic covered in great detail on the Verbal Communications day with Creative Capital leaders Kirby Tepper and Richard Move. One participant reported, “This session was amazing. It made me realize that we share a lot of the same fears and concerns between artists.”

LMCC Director of Grants & Services, Kay Takeda, not only worked with Creative Capital to organize the workshop, she also gave a lecture on Budgeting and Financials.
The Financials day was one that artists were particularly apprehensive about. “I expected it to be dry and boring and instead it was exciting, empowering and accessible,” said one participant.

ASI 2012 participant looking at “Seek and Share” posters

ASI 2012 participants sharing ideas in a Goal Setting exercise
Participants found that one of the most valuable resources in the workshop was their fellow artists. “Seek and Share” posters quickly took over a large section of the room! Judging from the feedback we received, participants also enjoyed the brainstorming and working group sessions offered throughout the week: “I actually learned a lot about myself in this session. The advice I tried to give others was also advice that I too needed.”

William Powhida, Matthew Deleget, Amy Whitaker and Catherine Woolard discuss the topic of artists as entrepreneur.
On the final day participants heard from three working artists for an “Artist As Entrepreneur” Round Table Discussion, which offered a detailed look at how these artists make a living not only from their artistic practice but also from related art world activities. These presenters seem to have made quite an impact. “The three artist case studies presentation was amazingly diverse and revolutionary,” observed one participant.
Creative Capital and LMCC offer ASI just once a year—and we are already planning for Spring/Summer 2013. If you are a NYC artist interested in participating next year sign up for our mailing list. Meanwhile, we offer two webinars per month on a variety of topics— check them out!
All photos courtesy of David Godlis.

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