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Professional Development

Professional Development opportunities for artists may range from attending conferences to taking courses to making presentations about your work.  The value of each professional development opportunity is it allows you to gain important tools and skills that inform your artistic practice and goals. 

Networking Strategies – Peer reviews and critiques

Before social networks, artists would often share ideas in peer group discussions or peer critiques of artworks.  While these types of critiques are most often found in academic environments, there are options available for artists to create a community of like-minded peers outside of an academic setting.  

An informal peer review is just that, an opportunity to meet with other artists in your discipline to discus and offer critiques of each other’s work in an environment of mutual respect. There are no set standards for when or how a peer review or critique should happen. Sometimes artists who share a common discipline find it beneficial to meet regularly to share networking opportunities and to offer feedback and constructive criticism of each other’s works.  It is a voluntary and open process, the design and frequency of which is left to the participants.

Teaching opportunities -- workshops and public presentations

You have skills that would benefit and be of interest to others not only in your immediate peer group but in the community at-large.  As an artist you may want to think about hosting workshops or public presentations for the community around your art-making practices and process.  These sessions may be more informal than a class you might design and teach at a local university and college.

These informal teaching opportunities are valuable not only to you as the artist/presenter but also to the community experiencing your work in an entirely different setting.  In addition, these opportunities may offer a new revenue stream, or increase your accessibility. Most importantly, you can inspire people and help demystify your creative profession.

Some Examples

  • A writer hosting a workshop at a local book store to share ideas for writing short stories and exploring ways to find publications to accept those stories.
  • A visual artist hosting an “open studio” event in coordination with other artists to invite the general public in to see past and current works and processes.
  • A playwright inviting the community to attend a “workshopped” reading of a play in progress to solicit feedback.

Sometimes an artist will self-design opportunities in partnership with community businesses and/or arts organizations (as in the examples noted here). Other times, artists will be invited directly by an arts or cultural organization to participate in a sponsored workshop or lecture.  By becoming involved with arts and cultural organizations in your community (as well as local businesses) you increase your ability to participate in these types of events.

Teaching Artists

If you’re interested in K-12 arts education, becoming a teaching artist or developing your teaching skills, there are a number of resources you can tap in to locally and nationally:

Resources

The types and frequency of professional development opportunities vary from discipline to discipline. You can stay current by signing up to receive our e-newsletters or those of local colleges, funding organizations and discipline-specific arts and cultural organizations in your community.

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