In an effort to teach working artists how better to market their art, the Small Business Administration and the National Endowment for the Arts will jointly launch three business seminars for artists in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the two federal agencies announced yesterday.
"It's the first time they are working on a joint venture which will help the artists help themselves, said Joan Mondale, the wife of the vice president, at a luncheon held at Vice President's House to introduce the project. Mondale, who has actively supported the arts community, spearheaded the coordination of this project, according to Livingstone Biddle, NEA chairman. "In schools artists have not been taught survival skills," she said, "and that's what we're interested in with these seminars."
"We will cover all the things we cover with all our businessmen in the seminars," said A. Vernon Weaver, administrator of the Small Business Administration. That will include information on balance sheets, tax statements, cash flow statements, marketing and explanations of the tax structure.
The seminars will draw not only on business people from the Small Business Administration but on art gallery owners and successful artists. The two-day, free seminar in Los Angeles, scheduled to open Sept. 14, will feature artist Bob Beasley, who runs a studio in an airplane hangar.
"He's really figured out how to sell," said Mondale at the luncheon, where coffee was served in demitasse cups handmade by California artist Elizabeth Frazer. "The artists will really listen to him."
Artists will also learn of the availability of long-term loans. "All they have to do is ask," Weaver said.
"This is something the Small Business Administration should have been involved in long ago," he added. "Anyone who makes a product is a businessman."
The cities for the seminars were picked "because that's where the artist are," said Weaver. The $30,000 project is expected to draw 300 to 500 artists to each seminar. If the project is successful, more seminars in other cities will be started. The Small Business Administration expects to turn out a business manual for artists.
Washington artist Maria deConceicao said she felt many artists would benefit from the seminars. "I have artist friends who come to see how I do my books," said DeConceicao, who learned from her lawyer husband such business procedures as charging sales tax and not accepting cash. "I have a portfolio with photos of my work that I put together. That's a big expense and you can deduct it. Many artists don't even know that."