ArtSwell – Cooperative Regional Professional Development Platform

 

How do we, as a Region, ensure that the members of the arts sector can grow and thrive as businesses? This business sector needs tools and education to become sustainable working arts businesses, either alone or collectively as small businesses or nonprofits. That’s why Triangle ArtWorks is launching a new program, ​ArtSwell​, that will create the professional development program that the Triangle’s arts community needs and deserves. Thanks largely to the generosity and vision of the ​Mary Duke Biddle Foundation​ and working with eleven Program Partners from across the Region, Triangle ArtWorks, we will be working this year to build a comprehensive program to meet this need.

The arts sector in the Triangle is largely made up of small businesses, sole proprietorships and nonprofits that have unique needs often not met by large economic development programs or even typical small business programs. Triangle ArtWorks has already created a ​central platform to listen to, empower and serve this sector and is now building a broader arts eco-system to help this community thrive. Our new initiative, ArtSwell, is designed to provide tailored and accessible professional development programs and is an important part of this work.

The ArtSwell initiative will build a professional development program to provide more diverse and robust programming to serve artists and arts administrators in all arts disciplines and stages of career development. Workshops and other types of training in entrepreneurship, marketing, business development, accounting, legal issues, etc., as well as networking and other peer support and learning events, will be crucial to help artists and small arts businesses thrive and grow. Similarly Arts nonprofit leaders need peer support and professional development to further their individual careers and to improve their work for our local arts organizations. To serve the many workers in the arts sector who are part of the “gig economy”, online resources and programs will be provided to fit professional development within their difficult schedules. Learn more about our ArtSwell Plan ​here.

Working Cooperatively Across the Region

Triangle ArtWorks is developing ArtSwell along with eleven committed Program Partners – Durham Arts Council, Office of Raleigh Arts, United Arts of Raleigh/Wake, Town of Cary, Hillsborough Arts Council, NC Arts Council, Artspace, Orange County Arts Commission, Chatham Arts Council, Visual Art Exchange and Durham Art Guild. All of these organizations share this mission to support Triangle artists and are already engaging in professional development activities, but recognize that, by working together across the Region, we can create a broader program, serving more people, in more places.

Triangle ArtWorks and our Partners recognize that making artists and arts organizations more financially sustainable is not only good for the arts sector, but for the Triangle as a whole. Through ArtSwell, Triangle ArtWorks aims to pool resources, time, funding, and energy to cultivate programs in professional development for artists, arts administrators, and creative businesses, wherever they may be in their arts and culture careers in the Triangle. Reaching and supporting art-makers, culture-workers, and creative leaders with easy-to-access and high-quality professional development classes, workshops, seminars, and events will be invaluable for the health of local arts eco-system and the region as a whole.