September 27, 2015

KAF#15 Professional Development: Resourcing Your Practice

How does the old expression go? There’s no bad time to get a Kresge? True enough, but I have to say, as an early-career writer and artist trying to get my shit together with little formal training on these matters, I surely appreciate the intervention in my development. I try to show up for as many of these skills-building events as possible (and like to remind everyone that they are open to the public), and basically every time I do, I learn something about what I need to learn a lot more about.

An emerging motif of my Kresge year is learning which skills to develop in myself, and which to outsource to far more qualified people or organizations. Mike Medow, COO of Allied Media Projects was one of the presenters at this latest event, and it was interesting to hear that they have a sideline in offering fiscal back-end services/grant management to artists or creative organizations who receive grants they can’t manage otherwise. It’s a problem I’d love to have someday soon, and if I ever do, I am 100% clear on what to do about it. Hint: it is not setting myself up as a business entity/nonprofit and running detailed accounting audits on myself.

The other speakers were Abir Ali–Program Manager at NEIdeas Detroit, as well as partnering on her own furniture design business, Ali Sandifer–and Pradeep Dalal–Director for the Arts Writers Grant Program, by Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation, and an artist and writer. The information they presented was as much about how to find a balance between professional and personal practice as it was about their specific programs–and all of it was great insight into the process of applying for grants. Ali made the excellent point that there are multiple benefits in applying to something, even when it seems out of reach:

1. You learn a lot about yourself

2. There is exposure and opportunities to connect, whether you win or not

3. You might actually win

How’s that old saying go? You gotta be in it to win it? The more people I meet who are charting their course in the vast and terrifying and ultimately rewarding waters of a professional art lifestyle, the more inspired I am to get out there, get my feet wet, and make things happen.

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