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For Artists, By Artists: Supporting Each Other Through Business

Posted by Fransini Alberto Vasquez
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For Artists, By Artists: Supporting Each Other Through Business

As an artist, Craig “KR” Costello saw a need for efficient graffiti mediums. As a businessperson, he solved the hole in the market.

 

Graffiti artists in New York were all about mobility, painting subway cars through the City with their signatures sprayed on them; then, turning to walls, tunnels, and objects as their canvases. KR explains that during the 80s graffiti was ‘‘an attitude’’ and the culture revolved around DIY materials. Paint was stolen, markers were made, and unconventional tools were used due to the lack of economic resources, making the ‘’sharing and stealing [of tools] necessary for the creative process’’. Artists were faced with the challenge of messy homemade markers, and homemade inks that faded under the sun.

 

In the early 90s, KR moved to San Francisco, California where he studied its booming graffiti scene and experimented with various tools and mediums on the streets. Water bottles, white out pens, and shoe polish markers were re-purposed for the sake of “looking to your environment and finding your tools’’. Eventually, he began making his own ink (KR’s ink, hence Krink) and shared his product with the community of artists around him.

 

Eventually, KR’s ink could be found everywhere in the City, on any door, wall, or mailbox. Alife, an art supply store asked KR to bottle up Krink to be sold, turning his “creative project’’ into a business plan.

 

In an interview for Vice Magazine in 2012, KR discussed the interest of business owners in public art, in which they collaborated with artists from around the globe to do walls in their communities. Tiffany Tanaka, founder of the Honolulu-based gallery, Loft in Space, discussed the importance of KR’s contribution to the artist community in Hawaii, and the way she perceived art as a motor for social change, and its impact on Hawaii’s economy. As KR had helped to expand the artistic community as there was a lack of art galleries and exhibitions during that time.

 

KR transitioned from a struggling artist in New York City to the face behind a brand that aims to improve artistry, maintain affordability, ‘’pay fair wages, and support local economy’’. His scrappy attitude and holistic thinking has worked for him; he has been sought for major arts and business collaborations with Marc Jacobs, Nike, Casio, Absolut Vodka, Modernica Furniture, and many more. He is a prime example of someone who has bridged the gap between the interests of artists and the success of a business. Through his consideration and understanding of the best ways to create useful and affordable tools to make art, he has built a thriving business, drawn the attention of other business owners, and enhanced artists and local communities.

 

In January 2018, Krink announced the reissue of the original 8oz. silver ink, hand-filled and labelled in a glass bottle. 

 

Photo: Craig ''KR'' Costello in His Studio for Refinery29 by Atisha Paulson

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INFOGRAPHIC: Arts Sponsorship Spending is on the Rise in 2014, According to IEG

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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According to IEG, sponsorship spending on the arts is expected to grow 1.4 percent in 2014, down from 2.6 percent in 2013. While corporate interest remains high, spending growth is hampered by organizations that continue to sell need-based sponsorships, not marketing-driven solutions. Vist IEG.com to view the englarged infographic.

 

For more information on the motivations behind why businesses are supporting the arts, download the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts.

 

(Image courtesy of IEG.com)

Bridging the Gap Between Art and Business

Posted by Ajaz Ahmed
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Successful collaborations between brands and artists are possible, once outdated preconceptions are overcome.

 

The poetry of ancient Persia is full of bridges. In the works of Rumi and others, metaphors are the bridges of art, in the sense that they unite two seemingly irreconcilable things. They give people a route to make sense of an alien world or concept by relating it to something familiar. They illuminate by association: here is how this world connects directly to that other, seemingly isolated world. Bridges also represent journeys between states of being, rather than just a means of get from A to B. For example, the Persian belief that people in the west are perhaps too far over on the prose side of the bridge, while the east is too drawn to the poetry side. If only we could meet in the middle, we might find a perfect balance of mind and body, of calculation and creativity.

 

That idea of two cultures stuck at either ends of the same bridges could be applied to art and business today. They need each other, despite their apparent differences; they are concerned with many of the same things, but that is obscured by their mutual suspicion. Perhaps a bit more metaphor and magic would be a start in changing this state of affairs. If arts practitioners and brands had the same big, captivating idea to focus on, cultural differences would be pushed to the side and more worthwhile collaborations would surely result.

 

Today’s most obvious examples of art and business overlap admirably, but they also thrive because of an uncomplicated fit between the audience for the brand and the artwork. Burberry and British music groups get mutual leverage through a shared sense of national style and sexy chic. Fashion labels from Cos to Cartier sponsor contemporary artists and art events because they all tap into a certain demographic’s sense of culture and credibility. Alcoholic beverage brands do the same. For the audience, it’s a circle that reaffirms your sense of taste and refinement. For the brand, it’s a bit of borrowed aura and credible press. For the artist, it’s a source of revenue for licensing their authentic personality and the right kind of exposure in a market where buzz is vital to value. (Photo credit: Where art and business overlap—Burberry’s collaboration with artists adds to the credibility of the brand. Photo courtesy of Felix Clay.)

 

Go beyond that kind of easy connection (which is really just an update of old-fashioned patronage) and it inevitably gets more complicated. As we know, business is about clarity and measurability, but art loves mystery and multiple interpretations. Artists cherish the right to free speech, but businesses seen to endorse an even mildly controversial message can be ruined by customer rage in the age of Twitter.

 

So it would take trust between a good artist and a good business, both fiercely protective and careful about their image, to embrace the potential risks on both sides and allow something really impressive to happen. But we could all start by ditching some of our preconceptions and being a bit more honest about how art and business are both about the discipline to execute impressive work, the need to engage people and the requirement to bring enough revenue to keep making things happen.

 

A few years ago, a major gallery director gave a short speech at a press launch of a new exhibition about cities. In it, he pleaded with the journalists to put the name of the show’s sponsor, a major building company, in their reviews. Many grumbled: if the sponsor was so vital, why didn’t they embrace the fact and incorporate its name into the title of the show, like modern football stadiums, instead of palming off the task to a third party?

 

More fruitful interchanges between the arts and businesses would be less likely to start with strategies and procedures than with conversations. Not everybody’s people talking to everybody’s people, but artists and their agents talking directly to brands and agencies about what they care about, what makes them cringe, what excites them, how they could use new technologies and respective resources to engage with audiences in new ways (and perhaps involve them better in the creative process).

 

If brand and artist know what they stand for, they should be able to find some common ground. Having the humility to know what you’re not cut out for, and the strength to focus on what you do well; to adapt and incorporate outside expertise to enable you to make your dreams reality: these are the ways human achievement has always come about. Art and entrepreneurialism are two expressions of one shared desire: to leave the world a little different than you found it.

 

(This post, originally published on TheGuardian.com, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!)

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Actor Tim Daly speaks on the value of the arts and the Creative Coalition

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Emmy-award-winning actor Tim Daly, a Creative Coalition board member, believes that art is a part of everything we do. According to him, this means that we need creative thinkers to take business, innovation and invention to a new level. Why? Because creativity allows business to "leap over the competition."

 

Watch Tim's informative interview below, part of the Noble Profit video series, in which he details just how the arts and creativity impact the economy, using examples from Tesla Motors and IDEO.

 

 

Creative Coalition board member
Creative Coalition board member
Creative Coalition board memberCreative Coalition board member
Emmy-award-winning
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The Many Ways to Connect Arts & Business

Posted by Emily Peck
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Last week, I left snowy New York City to spend some time in sunny Ft. Lauderdale at the invitation of the Broward Cultural Division to talk with arts organizations about the many ways they can partner with local businesses.

 

We discussed how to build a successful and meaningful partnership by thinking of the needs of business first, and how to look beyond the usual suspects when thinking about potential business partners.

 

We were joined by local business leaders from Florida Power and Light and Merrimac Ventures who spoke about how partnering with the arts helped their business engage new customers, reach new audiences, and enhance the quality of life for their communities. For more tips on creating partnerships check out our Building pARTnerships on Your Own toolkit.

 

This type of training session is just one way you can use the resources of The pARTnership Movement in your community. Here are some other ideas:

 

  • Tell your story: Promote great arts and business partnerships on twitter (#artsandbiz), Facebook, and YouTube. Don’t forget to let us know, too!
  • Give a presentation at your local chamber of commerce about how the arts can help local businesses. See how it worked in Montgomery County, MD! 
  • Bring the 8 reasons to partner with the arts with you when you talk with business people and organizations. Use examples of partnerships in your community to make your point.
  • Check out our toolkits and webinars so you have all the information you need to partner with the arts in your community. Need more advice? Let us know.
  • Bring arts and business leaders together for a conversation about how they can work together and advance community goals like in Richmond.
  • Ask a local business leader to co-sign an op-ed about the value of the arts. Check out these examples from Des Moines and Houston.

 

(This post is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)

 

*This article was originally posted on ARTSblog.

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