Montana Arts Council

For Artists and Folklife

Business Preparation

Through the Montana Art Council's Artists to Market initiative, Montana visual artists from tribal and rural areas are provided tools to succeed in business. This program provides services to the state's artists in a number of ways, including the following:

• MAP (Montana Artrepreneur Program)

logo for Montana Artrepreneur Program

This program helps artists learn how to develop a sustainable business in art and develop the tools needed to gain Market Ready Certification. The program addresses the isolation of rural artists by forming regional networks in locations throughout the state. MAP is a workforce development program in that it is designed to help Montana's artists map a sustainable future by helping them prepare the tools they need in a wider market place.

18 MAP artists at their first meeting at Flathead Valley Community College

The program focuses on developing a critical mass of market-ready artists through the work of cohorts (groups) of artists. In addition to paving the way for these artists to gain "market ready" status and move their work into larger, national markets, this program allows for small, regional pockets of artists to eventually grow into a network.

These cohorts provide learning opportunities such as mentorships, internships, studio-based work, self-directed learning, and potential online learning. The cohorts commit to monthly meetings to work on developing tools to become market ready. Each cohort is guided by a local leader and receives information and guidance from the MAC Market Development Specialist. The artists in the cohorts decide how they want to accomplish the outcomes of the toolbox checklist. The monthly meetings also provide an opportunity to bring samples of artwork, discuss problems and share successes of their recent work.

Artists enrolled in MAP also have the opportunity to hone their skills and build their businesses through MAC's Artist Launches. (see below)

For FAQ’s about the MAP program and how to join a MAP cohort near you, click here.

To download a MAP application form and letter of commitment:

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• Artist Launches

MAP artists attending Western Design Conference

In order to help artists become more sustainable and develop additional markets, MAC works with artists to find suitable new markets for their work outside the state's boundaries while also providing them with ongoing opportunities to develop markets within the state.

In 2011 to help artists broaden their horizons and make gallery contacts, MAC's Tour of Excellence selected 40 artists and 10 trainers to take to the Western Design Conference in Jackson, WY. While there, participants observed a high-end show in motion, in addition to interacting with galleries in order to learn more about that market segment. In 2012 MAC will help up to 30 artists participate as vendors at a national show. All these artists must be considered Market Certified.

Artist Gathering 2010 (held in Great Falls) provided the chance for over 40 artists, including MAP enrolled artists, to showcase their work to galleries and the public and to participate in Creative Capital workshops to learn additional business skills. Artist Gathering 2012 will open September 28 with a two day Artists' Showcase at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, MT. Qualifying MAP artists will also participate in two days of workshops from September 20 through October 1.

Dyani Bingham, Ron Stiffarm, Donovan Archambault

In 2009, MAC staff provided market ready training for artists selected by the Montana World Trade Center to attend the Kentucky Crafted Market in addition to bringing the Creative Capital Professional Development Program to Montana for a weekend professional development experience that emphasized strategic planning for artists.

MAC staff also works with Made in Montana Marketplace planner to develop opportunities for Montana's artists, such as the 2012 free workshop on booth design and pricing for Marketplace vendors. In addition to working with the Made in Montana Program in the Montana Department of Commerce, MAC staff works with the development of cultural loop tours, such as the Hands of Harvest, Of Sage and Stone, and Alpine Artisans.

• MAP Coach Training

2012 MAP Coaches

With funding from the USDA, from 2011 through 2013, MAC has embarked on an initiative to train MAP Coaches in order to help Montana artists prepare for larger markets and build successful businesses. Three groups of trainers from across the state will be chosen to receive training in the MAP approach to teaching artists about the business of art. These trainers will learn both the theory and practice of the MAP approach while also receiving on the ground practice in leading their own cohort of artists in their area.

If interested in finding out more about this training, contact the MAC Market Development Specialist.

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MIBA (Montana Indian Business Association) Conference and Artist Showcase

MAC has offered qualifying artists training workshops in business and "Art and the Law" during this annual two-day conference. Additionally, MAC staff organizes an artists' showcase in order to provide artists with an opportunity to market and sell their work to conference participants.

• Montana's Circle of American Masters

MCAM logo

Montana's Circle of American Masters in Visual, Folk, and Traditional Arts is another component of this initiative, , in that the MCAM program helps in the branding efforts for Montana's premiere artists by shining a light on those artists who produce art that reflects the uniqueness, diversity, and creativity inherent in Montana's heritage. These artists are provided with professional photography of their art, exposure in a number of marketing opportunities, and the right to use the MCAM logo on their artwork and in their materials.

For more information about MAC's "To Market We Go" initiative, contact the MAC Market Development Specialist.

• Program Support

LINC logo

Artist to Market is funded in part by LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), a 10-year national initiative to improve the conditions for artists working in all disciplines. It focuses on improving artists' ability to make work, build social capital and contribute to democratic values. LINC builds on recent research by the Urban Institute that points to the need for new efforts that expand financial support for artists' work, improve artists' access to live-work space and insurance; and bolster knowledge, collaborations, and public policies that affect the work of artists and their contributions to communities.

USDA Rural Devleopment logo

MAC has worked with the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority in securing a federal Department of Agriculture RCDI (Rural Community Development Initiative) grant to help support the MAP train the trainer portion of The Artist to Market program. This RCDI program states that grants awarded under this initiative "will provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to community and economic development in rural areas."

Tremaine Foundation logo

The Montana Artrepreneur Program is supported in part through funding from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation’s Marketplace Empowerment for Artists initiative.

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