art reading

YOCR #3 – The Artist’s Guide

Book: The Artist's Guide by Jackie Battenfield.
Book: The Artist’s Guide by Jackie Battenfield.

In continuing my year of creative reading (note the abbreviation in the title), I dipped into Jackie Battenfield’s “The Artist’s Guide.” While I did not read it cover-to-cover, I read several big chunks of it.

This is a fabulous reference book for anyone serious about creating their own arts career. It’s the book I wish I’d had in college in the 1980s. Art majors concentrated on their art during my college days; they did not get any instruction related to the arts as a business. I suspect this was a widespread problem of the time.

Observing my son Ian’s current art instruction, both at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley and at North Dakota State University in Fargo, he was provided with several lessons related to the business of art. At Perpich, he had to write a grant. At NDSU, he had to create his own website. There were other entrepreneurial things he learned as well.

My practical business training came through two avenues. Upon graduating from college, I entered a course that taught people how to start a small business. My hubby and I were in this program together and the result was the neon sign shop we ran for a couple of years.

The other arts business training I received was a series of ten courses called “Work of Art” offered by Springboard for the Arts. I loved this professional development opportunity, which, with additional intensive training, led to my serving as an on-call artist career counselor for a year in my region.

“The Artist’s Guide” reminds me of what I learned in “Work of Art.” I highly recommend the book for artists just starting out in their careers, for those who need to brush up on a few things, and for those who missed these business practicalities altogether. Battenfield provides her advice in an easy manner, with the wisdom of someone who has lived what she is teaching.