Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists Program


Develop arts entrepreneurship skills in funding, portfolio kits, engaging customers, and business planning.

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Deadline: Monday, December 20th, 2o21 11:59 pm

Program Overview

The Work of Art program is a 4-week, 30 hour-long workshop series that will take place over J-term 2022 (January 3-28). If you are looking to pursue your passion in the arts (performing arts, fine arts, design, writing, or other creative careers) while earning a sustainable income, or have a creative idea in the arts or humanities space, you are invited to apply. This program is intended to help fine arts and humanities students flesh out their innovative ideas, and provide them with the skills and tools necessary to prepare them to launch themselves, their artistic or creative endeavors into the marketplace.

Program participants will be working closely with experts in the field as they attend an intensive 12 part “Work of Art” workshop series (2.5 hours each) offered by Springboard for the Arts.

Piper Center for Vocation and Career will cover all workshop fees. Participants will receive a free print copy of Work of Art: Engaging Customers and Selling Your Work as a tool to use throughout the month. This will be a full-time, co-curricular experience, and no academic credit will be offered.

Program Schedule:

Week 1
Monday, January 3, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Career Planning
Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Marketing
Friday, January 7, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Pricing

Week 2
Monday, January 10, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Portfolio Kit
Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Promotions
Friday, January 14, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Engaging Customers & Selling Your Work

Week 3
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Business Plan Essentials
Friday, January 21, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Time Management

Week 4
Monday, January 24, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Funding
Monday, January 24, 2022, 1:30 – 4:00 pm: Grant Writing
Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: Legal Considerations
Friday, January 28, 2022, 1:30 – 4:00 pm: Recordkeeping

Program Expectations

The experience combines technical skill development with an application to an artistic venture of the participant’s choice. Students will also have the opportunity to network with practitioners in the field, address issues surrounding equity and inclusion in the industry, and build their innovation mindset. This program is open to current sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will walk away with:

  1. a clear strategy for their artistic endeavor
  2. a compelling business plan
  3. the skills and confidence to successfully navigate a career in the arts.

Workshop Leaders

Alison Bergblom Johnson (she/her), Minneapolis

Skills: Literature, storytelling and performance, public relations, artists with disabilities

Bio: Alison Bergblom Johnson is an artist whose work often approaches uncomfortable, difficult subjects. Her genres and media include storytelling, creative nonfiction, installation, and collage, and her work explores gender, disability, and sexuality. Some venues she’s performed at include Patrick’s Cabaret, the Northfield Artists Guild, and Strike Theater, in addition to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Flock, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and Minnesota Public Radio’s website have published her essays. Visit her website at and read more about Alison on Creative Exchange.

Jes Reyes (she/her), Saint Paul

Skills: Film (production, presentation), Visual Art (painting, mixed media), Administration (programming). 

Bio: Jes Reyes is a multidisciplinary artist and arts administrator practicing in mixed media art, video, and more. Her artwork is rooted in play, vulnerability, experimentation, collaboration, and the blending of disciplines. She is passionate about bringing people together, equitable arts access, and offering support to other creatives. She has exhibited and screened her artwork throughout the Twin Cities and is the founder of the Altered Esthetics Film Festival and Moonplay Cinema. Visit her website at and read more about Jes on Creative Exchange.

Patrick Scully (he/him), Minneapolis

Skills: Interdisciplinary art, improvisation, public site-inspired art, and performance/installations

Bio: Patrick is a long time Mpls artist – choreographer/dancer/performance art/theater, entrepreneur, gay and HIV+ activist. His works range from intimate/autobiographical, to boat ballets on rivers in MN and Germany. In 1986 he founded Patrick’s Cabaret, making the local performing arts ecosystem more inclusive and democratic. He’s had 8 different spaces in town. A mature artist who has persevered, he’s thought about artists’ sustainability. He’s been a successful fundraiser & grant writer. 

Dana Sikkila (she/her), Mankato

Skills: Administration, Grants, Statements and Proposals, Place Based Projects, Rural Arts, Education

Bio: Dana Sikkila is a Minnesota-based interdisciplinary maker and creator. At just 35 years old, Sikkila has been named one of the most well-known creative leaders of Southern Minnesota. Known for her social practice and activism programs, creative consulting, public speaking, and her theory development within creative curriculum, Sikkila’s practices span from working in communities from rural to the Twin Cities. Her self-defining administration style has bridged the gap between arts creation and administration. Developing numerous grassroots cultural projects and exhibitions throughout the state. Visit her website at and read more about Dana on Creative Exchange.

Adia Morris Swanger (she/her), Saint Paul

Skills: Theater (acting, directing and teaching) and On Camera (film, commercial, hosting).

Bio: Adia Morris is a freelance artist and educator. She has performed at the Guthrie Theater and Park Square Theatre, and danced with Threads Dance Project. She has taught dance and theatre workshops for Guthrie Theater, Youth Performance Company, and Minneapolis Public Schools. Adia earned her BA in Classics from Duke University. Read more about Adia on Creative Exchange.

Andy Sturdevant (he/him), Minneapolis

Skills: Visual Art and Literature (non-fiction) 

Bio: Andy Sturdevant is a writer, publisher, artist and very occasional performer. He has written about art, history and culture for a variety of publications, and is the author of three books of nonfiction. He is also the creator of a number of small-run art and design books, distributed in the United States and Europe. His artwork has been exhibited at venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle, and he has presented public programs with many organizations locally and regionally. Andy holds a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Louisville and a graphic design certificate from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Read more about Andy on Creative Exchange.

Program Partners

Springboard for the Arts
Springboard for the Arts’ mission is to support artists with the tools to make a living and a life, and to build just and equitable communities full of meaning, joy, and connection. Founded as an independent nonprofit in 1991, Springboard for the Arts has an innovative 30-year history of supporting artists making a living and a life and artist-led community development work.

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