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Certification Information


What is MAP Certification?

Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP) helps visual artists develop a sustainable business in art both by learning more about the art of entrepreneurship and by obtaining a Certification of Market Readiness. MAP is based on the idea that learning should be accessible, affordable, flexible, collaborative, and useful. It is not just a theoretical exercise, but the opportunity to actually develop the tools needed to build a sustainable business by:


  • Offering training specifically geared to visual artists.
  • Offering special topic professional development workshops.
  • Encouraging a variety of informal learning opportunities such as mentorships and peer- to-peer learning.
  • Encouraging self-directed learning and studio-based work towards completion of Market-Ready Certification.
  • Nurturing the growth of Montana’s networks of artists.
  • Providing Market-Ready Certification upon successful completion of all items in the Artepreneur’s Toolbox©.



What are the benefits of MAP Certification?

MAP has been designed to help build a network of artists ready to compete in the larger marketplace. We know, from having surveyed artists in the program, that MAP Certified artists have a higher likelihood of success in business. In a survey conducted by Decision Support Partners, Inc., MAP participants from through 2016 who had not yet certified reported a 654% increase in net art sales and a 183% increase in gross art sales on average since participating in the program. 



What does Market-Ready Certification involve?

Certification is available to artists who have participated in a MAP cohort, have an inventory of artwork ready to sell, and have collected the physical proof of the each of the 35 items in the Artrepreneur’s Toolbox©. Once a MAP artist feels ready to be evaluated, they will need to:


  • contact the Montana Artrepreneur program Director or their coach for more specific directions to prepare certification review,
  • have a coach or another MAP Certified Artist do an informal pre-review of their materials prior to submission,
  • present a completed toolbox: file container with 35 folders (one for each tool) each labeled with the name of the tool contained within the file, and
  • submit one sample of your work that illustrates the quality of what you create.



The Artrepreneur’s Toolbox ©


  1. Log of Studio Hours (at least 120 hours total)
  2. Annotated list of area heritage and cultural resources
  3. Landscape journal for creative ideas and marketplace branding
  4. Product line list with both retail and wholesale prices
  5. System for record keeping and organization
  6. Written mission, values, and vision statements for the artist’s business
  7. Three goals and three objectives to reach each goal
  8. Artist Statements (three versions required: one typewritten page, one-two paragraphs, and 25-30 words)
  9. Customer Profile
  10. A small window or table display of the artist’s work
  11. Diagram and photos of the artist’s booth for use at a show
  12. Documentation of five hours spent with an art mentor
  13. 6 professional quality product photographs of artwork
  14. 2 professional quality process photographs (the artist at work)
  15. A logo for use in the artist’s business of art
  16. A business card for use in the artist’s business of art
  17. A brochure for use in the artist’s business of art
  18. Hangtags to use on the artist’s work
  19. A sample of packaging for use in sales, customer transport, and shipping of the work
  20. A sample of business transaction materials (eg. invoices, statements, receipts, and order blanks)
  21. 2-minute video presentation
  22. Research of four shows (one local, two regional, and one national)
  23. Research of credit card/PayPal capability
  24. Proof of participation in an area show
  25. Ten hours of internship with a creative sector business
  26. Press Release
  27. Press Kit
  28. A Quality Portfolio
  29. Site Map showing the organization of a future website
  30. E-portfolio
  31. Resume and cover letter for use with a gallery
  32. Studio Budget for the coming year
  33. Mini-proposal for funding a project in line with the artist’s goals
  34. Plan outlining the artist’s strategies for marketing
  35. Business plan to use in building a business of art


How and when is Certification decided?

Certification is a review process conducted by jurors and coaches. Jurors evaluate work according to program standards. Those standards are reviewed by coaches and program staff to maintain relevance and purpose. Because teaching tools and business standards

constantly evolve, an individual’s course experience may have offered very slight variations to the expectations in place at the time the artist chooses to submit their tools for certification review. Careful planning is recommended to ensure a successful outcome.


Toolboxes are reviewed in the summer of each year by two to three coaches according to a point system. The next deadline to submit a completed toolbox will be June 28, 2019. Artists can pass; receive a “conditional pass," meaning that they will pass providing they make recommended adjustments to their materials by a certain date; fail; or pass with “distinction," meaning the jurors could find no room for improvement.





Montana Arts Council | 830 N. Warren Street, Helena, MT 59601 | P.O. Box 202201, Helena, MT 59620-2201 | P: (406) 444-6430 | F: (406) 444-6548 | mac@mt.gov 

"State of the Arts" Newspaper | eNewsMontana's Arts Calendar | Montana's Cultural Treasures Guide

The Montana Arts Council is funded by the State of Montana and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
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