Springfield Township-based arts nonprofit, ArtsConnect, wants to do more for artists than simply sell their work–they want to foster careers by offering their expertise in business and branding via a comprehensive program. Their biggest goal was to develop an answer to the question, “How do we create something that actually benefits an independent artist?” Their answer, and the exciting upgrade to the classic art collective model is here, and its name is RISE.
ArtsConnect understands making a career as an artist can get lost in the minutiae of becoming a marketing expert, legal representative, and event planner just to sustain their business. A paid membership to RISE frees artists and art entrepreneurs of these burdens by offering services including, but not limited to, professional assets, a global speaker series, installation opportunities, and five artworks featured on a public, Marketplace website, Marketplace URL. The website also affords members print-on-demand products for each of their works, packing and shipping fulfillment services, as well as marketing. The revenue generated through online sales not only benefits its members directly, but a percentage of those proceeds fuel future artists through the Arts RISE in Schools program.
When the concept of RISE was still in its infancy, the program was limited to the Marketplace storefront, but its founders quickly realized artists needed more than an outlet to sell their work. They needed cost-effective specialists behind the scenes performing the business operations the artists would have to normally perform themselves. The strategies implemented in the program are modeled after successful tech-startup incubators; utilizing tactics such as bi-monthly learning sessions. The sessions are included in the membership, but are also ticketed events to non-members who wish to participate in RISE other than through the purchase of artworks. The session topics will include, but are not limited to, Legal Issues and AI Copyright, Introduction to Print on Demand, and Producing Newsworthy Art. These programs are taught by those who have found full-time success in the art industry locally, nationally, and internationally. Providing the resources and tools necessary to obtain a global perspective is yet another way in which RISE pioneers ways of valuing artists.
Creative Director, Aharon Cagle, wanted to flip the script on previous art collectives that “did not focus on the independent artist.” The innovative solution he offered was a “learning-based art collective.” Designed to empower the creative and build sustainable career practices, business perks are coupled with a community working to generate success for their industry as a whole. One of the ways he is bringing community to the forefront of this initiative is a member-exclusive Discord channel for fellowship and discourse within the network. This provides a platform for members to share experiences and opportunities within a cohort of like-minded individuals. Mr. Cagle stresses that involvement fosters opportunity, which, in turn, fosters success. An artist himself, Mr. Cagle understands the needs of the profession, and what’s more–how to construct a program the profession would pay for!
RISE allows artists to do what they do best, feel empowered in their craft, and give back to the community in the process. ArtsConnect is inviting any and all interested artists to join RISE and learn more about the program by visiting theartsconnect.us/rise.
Shoppers can visit https://shop.theartsconnect.us/ to browse the art, prints and collectables. Artists who are simply interested in the professional development opportunities without the RISE commitment can register for classes at https://www.theartsconnect.us/436/Artist-Professional-Development-by-RISE