Lowell, MA, USA, July 17, 2017 – From April to June of 2017, professional marketer Susu Wong and executive/financial behavior coach Szifra Birke partnered to launch a series of workshops designed to help artists and creatives with their business sustainability. The four-session course equipped the artists with the tools, strategies, confidence, and accountability to turn their passion for producing fine art into a more profitable business.
The workshops were partially sponsored by a grant from Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). The MCC is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grant programs, partnerships, and services for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.
To help support the artists to achieve their business goal, the City of Lowell generously offered ten grants of $2,000 to eligible artists to implement the marketing ideas they generated through the Business of Art Program. According to Allison Lamey, Director of Lowell Economic Development: “The arts community is a key component in Lowell’s economic success. We were thrilled to work with Tomo360 and Birke Consulting and are excited about supporting participating artists through our grant program.”
All four workshops were held at the Innovation Hub, a co-working and collaboration space of UMass Lowell at the Hamilton District.
Ten participants completed the program, 80% of which are currently working in Lowell.
- Antoinette Indge of Cinderloop, a handmade clothing store.
- Kevin Harkins of Harkins Photography
- Meghan Moore, owner of Megpix: Super-Duper People Photography!
- Maria Leaman is(oops) co-owner of Mill City Glass Works; her husband Aron Leaman, offers fuse glass classes.
- Jay Hungate of Hungate Sculpture and Design,
- Chrissy Hungate, a Studio Artist at the Brush Art Gallery and Studios,
- Engelie Blomerus is the Principal of Lighthouse Art School.
- Jennifer Carland of Carland Cartography creates abstract drawings of street maps.
Artists working outside of Lowell:
- Colleen Sgroi, is the owner of Colleen Gallery or Arts and Classes in Billerica, MA.
- Andrew Chen, is owner of Andrew Chen Photography in Andover, MA
From Left: Kevin Harkins, Meghan Moore, Antoinette Indge, Szifra Birke, Susu Wong, Engelie Blomer, Colleen Sgroi, Jay Hungate, Jennifer Carland, Chrissy Hungate, and Maria Leaman
The Business of Arts Workshops
The first workshop focused on identifying artists’ attitudes and habits about selling and money. Artists had the opportunity to identify their attitudes and habits, then to consider new ideas and mindsets that would help them increase their business success.
In the second workshop, the artists put their marketing plan together in class using a customized plan that Susu Wong created. Susu’s Marketing Canvas helped each attendee quickly and efficiently draft a preliminary marketing plan. One artist said of the workshop: “(I) learned a number of things that allow me to formulate an overall picture of what a marketing plan might look like for me, and create a structure in which to carry it through.”
After attendees drafted their marketing plans, they learned tricks and tips for social media to promote their artwork. The final session allowed time for the attendees to tie everything together, with short term and long term goals, as well as actionable plans to work on after the completion of the workshop series.
One workshop graduate left the workshop with a newfound understanding of marketing, saying, “I had some preconceived notion about how difficult it is to market my businesses. We addressed all of these, and I have ideas for the right way to move forward.” Another added “Susu and Szifra’s classes have helped me look at the term “Marketing” in a new way and really encouraged me to streamline my efforts for maximum impact.”
The group of attending artists decided, on their own, to meet on a monthly basis and hold each other accountable for their progress and plans. The name of their newly formed group is Marketing Accountability Group or MAGpies! You can count on artists to be creative!
We are a dynamic team of experienced business and marketing experts who love to help our clients in achieving their sales potential. By tapping into our team of experts in different areas, we develop customized marketing strategies that are unique to our clients’ industries and targeted customers. Our mission is to help you to grow your business! To learn more, visit our website at www.tomo360.com or email us at [email protected].
About Birke Consulting
Szifra (pronounced “SHifra”) Birke tells it like it is–and is amazingly effective at helping others to do the same. She has developed a reputation for teaching no-nonsense, straightforward communication practices for CEOs, private practitioners, dentists, financial professionals and other service providers. Her style is simple and accessible; her knowledge and experience are deep and diverse. To learn more, visit her website at http://birkeconsulting.com or email her at [email protected].