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Make it happen: act now for artist business training

Registration deadline: This Friday, Jan. 11

New Year’s resolutions come. Weigh less, read more, get organized,etc. Then, often, they go. But what about a real change? What about making a positive change to your career or livelihood? For Midlands artists resolving to take a bold leap in 2019, there’s a new opportunity that can help. But you need to act fast. The City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunity is collaborating with the S.C. Arts Commission’s ArtsGrow SC Program to help artists who reside in the Midlands attend NxLevel Micro Entrepreneur Training – a $200 value – for only $50.
What is the NxLevel Micro Entrepreneur Training? The NxLeveL Micro Entrepreneurs module focuses on teaching “self-sufficiency through self-employment.” Participants will learn how to choose a business idea, develop a marketing plan, explore financing options, develop a customer service philosophy, as well as other relevant entrepreneurial skills.   When will it take place? NxLevel Micro entrepreneur candidates will commitment to attend all sessions (approximately 45 classroom hours) and complete prep work beginning Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 through March 28, 2019. Class will meet on Thursdays for three hours, from 6-9 p.m.   Where will classes be held? 1509 Lady Street Columbia, SC 29201   What do I do to register if I am an artist? Artists have a three-step process.
  1. Complete this Arts Commission artist application. This is how you will identify yourself as an artist to be considered for the discounted rate. Artists will be asked to use their email address as the username and to create a password. The application includes contact information and space to 5 upload samples of work, bio/resume, and an artist statement. You will be contacted by e-mail if you are accepted to receive the discounted rate.
  2. Complete the NxLeveL Micro Entrepreneur Application
  3. Complete the NxLeveL Micro Entrepreneur Registration
Contact Program Director Joy Young (jyoung@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8696) with questions.
Main image by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

ArtsGrowSC has funds to boost your arts-based business

Application deadine: Thursday, Nov. 15

Are you looking for funds to support your arts-based business? Do you need to make a purchase to support your work? An ArtsGrowSC Individual Development Account (IDA) for Artists could provide the boost your business needs. The S.C. Arts Commission has two slots to provide funding for Midlands arts-based businesses, in partnership with community-based partners, while funds last. Although IDAs have been used for different purposes, this program will only support arts-based business development. How does an IDA work? These are dedicated savings accounts, similar in structure to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), that can only be used for capitalizing an arts-based small business. They are supported by community organizations and other partner organizations, and accounts are held at local financial institutions. As a bonus, all participants receive economic literacy training that shows them how to clean up their credit, set up a budgeting and savings schedule, and teaches them the basics of money management. The maximum match for an IDA savings project is up to $2,000! $1,000 saved by an artist can be matched up to $2,000. Education, technical assistance, tools and materials will be made available to all participants. Our ultimate goal is to build a high-performing, interlinked network of community-based partnerships offering a range of financial support and other asset-building activities. This program is designed to supporting business development and wealth creation through the arts. Deadline is November 15. The online application through Submittable is an easy process:
  • Create an account,
  • answer the questions,
  • upload your support materials,
  • and then submit.
That's it! To apply now for the ArtsGrowSC Individual Development Account, click here. Please contact Joy Young (jyoung@arts.sc.gov) for questions about ArtsGrowSC. If you need technical assistance with the online submission process, contact Cathy Lee, 803.734.8674.

“Network & (L)earn” event coming for Midlands artist/entrepreneurs

Have you ever wondered what resources are available to help you start, sustain, or grow your arts-based business?  Could you use a financial boost? This is a meeting you must attend! 

  • DATE:            Friday, Sept. 21, 2018
  • TIME:            6-8 p.m.
  • WHERE:       1013 Duke Ave., Columbia (29205)
  • COST:            None (That’s right. Free!)
Seating is limited to 50, so register today! You’ll have time to network, ask questions, and hear about resources – financial and others – that can help you grow your arts-based business. Also, you will learn about the resources at Indie Grits Labs, meet a representative from the City of Columbia Office of Business Development, and hear first-hand from an artist entrepreneur who has accessed resources for business growth. This meeting is open to artists located in the Midlands region, which consists of: Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties. We really want to see artist entrepreneurs! WHAT ELSE: Registration is required and closes MONDAY, SEPT. 17, 2018. Click here to register for this meeting, or use the QR Code at right. This meeting is being facilitated by the S.C. Arts Commission. Special thanks to Indie Grits Labs for hosting the meeting and the Central Carolina Community Foundation, our Midlands ArtsGrowSC funding partner. For more information contact Program Director Joy Young: jyoung@arts.sc.gov.

Business pitches, ceremony close FastTrac Artists and Creatives course

The South Carolina Arts Commission, in partnership with Midlands Technical College Corporate and Continuing Education and the Center for Entrepreneurial Success and Community Engagement, is pleased to announce the completion of its first cohort of FastTrac® for Artists and Creatives 2018. The closing ceremony will take place June 23, 2018 from 1-4 p.m. at the Midlands Technical College Northeast Campus (151 Powell Rd., Columbia). Eight artists and creatives from across the state learned from expert panelists who are practicing artists, as well as other professionals who gave incredible insights on topics such as accounting and finance, social media, business planning, intellectual property, and personal leadership. The Hub brought you the launch of this joint venture in March. Classes began in April, and school is almost out for the summer – but not before the heat gets turned up on students: The highlight of the closing celebration is "Pitch Your Arts Biz!," where the students use knowledge acquired in the course to develop a pitches for their business ventures. The winning pitch is eligible for a $500 grant award. The closing speaker is Dr. Kasie Whitener, president of Clemson Road Consulting, who will be joined by panelists Melissa L. Lindler, director for the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities; and Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, president/CEO of LLE Construction Group, LLC. The event is open to the public, but space is limited. Please click here to email your RSVP to attend. An artist’s comment about being part of this class: "It is very gratifying to know that we artists have such a great team behind us, advocating for us and looking for opportunities everywhere to expose us to larger vistas." Want to join the next class of FastTrac® for Artists and Creatives? Click here to message Program Director Joy Young.

Tuning Up: ‘Pure magic’ at DOHS, extension for coastal artisans workshop

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

  • You might remember us mentioning that musicians from chamber ensemble Decoda, including S.C. native and cellist Claire Bryant, did a week-long residency with students at Denmark-Olar High School at the end of March. Read here about how it went!
  • Now go fly a kite. No, really! Spartanburg Soaring is back on Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. And you can even volunteer.
  • Extension for coastal artisans: today is now the last chance to register for the free workshop in Georgetown.

SCAC, Midlands Tech offer new course to help creatives start a business

Announcing a new FastTrac® class geared especially for creatives! This spring, you can learn how to evaluate your ideas, position your businesses around target customers, refine your venture based on personal and professional goals and ultimately, launch your business. Attend all sessions, write a business plan, and pitch it – you could win up to $500! Through an immersive online course, participants have access to planning tips and exercises, including lessons on how to:

  • Discover how your business concept matches your personal vision.
  • Align your business concept with a real market opportunity.
  • Find your target market and discover your competitive advantage.
  • Determine the unique features and benefits of your product/ service.
  • Set realistic financial goals for your business.
  • Define your company’s brand and marketing.
  • Manage business functions and develop an organizational culture.
  • Determine the steps to profitability.
  • Identify potential sources of funding for your business.
  • Launch your business.
The course faculty are themselves artists of various disciplines, educators, and professionals representing law, finance, higher education, and business leaders who have hands-on expertise to share.  FastTrac® is facilitated by seasoned facilitator Tom Ledbetter, associate vice president, Center for Entrepreneurial Success and Community Engagement at Midlands Technical College.
  • WHEN: Every Monday from April 16-June 23, 2018, 6-9 p.m.
  • WHERE: Anywhere you can connect via web and video teleconference
  • WHO:
    • Visual artist and entrepreneur Mary Gilkerson
    • Graphic designer, photographer, and entrepreneur Dalvin Spann
    • Performing artist, author, and entrepreneur David Cutler of USC
    • Performing artist and entrepreneur Armen Shaomian of USC
  • COST: $75.00 (this is a significantly discounted rate from $150, and you can earn 3 CEU’s).
  • REGISTER: Click here to register with Midlands Technical College
The SCAC is partnering with Midlands Technical College Corporate and Continuing Education to host this class. Applicants must sign a commitment letter. Two face-to-face gatherings are tentatively planned for April 16 and May 14 from 6-9 p.m. Graduation will take place Saturday June 23, 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon. Face-to-face gatherings take place in Columbia at the Midlands Technical College Northeast Campus. Contact Joy Young, jyoung@arts.sc.gov to learn more.


Creative skills can be developed into a viable business. Working for yourself, either as your only job or as a second source of income, requires planning and preparation.  You can do this if you are willing to learn, put in the time, and commit to a track of entrepreneurship. Section 1: IDEATE Assess your entrepreneurial traits and personal priorities to better understand how your business goals might be affected by your strengths or weaknesses and your personal vision. Section 2: POSITION Any good idea will remain just that — an idea — unless it finds a place in the market and earns customers. In this section, you’ll figure out just who your customers (and competitors) are and where to find them. You’ll design your business model and think about the key factors that will help you transform your idea into a business. You will learn about legal structures that are best suited to your business, and you’ll start to think about how you’ll exit your business when the time comes. Section 3: COMMIT A business isn’t real unless it is reaching paying customers and generating revenue. In this step, you’ll focus on your brand, your distribution and your sales strategy. Finally, you’ll learn how to protect your intellectual property, your business and protect yourself from legal risks. Section 4: REFINE Now that you’ve sold and distributed your product/service, you have valuable information about the assumptions you made about your customer and your market. Now is the time to refine your business before you publicly launch. In this section, you’ll measure and analyze your financial results against your previous predictions. You’ll consider what people might be needed, and you’ll think about how to protect the assets of your business. You’ll learn what advisors and boards might do to help you as you work to launch. You will think about how you might fund your business. Finally, you’ll learn how to build and communicate the plan for your business with potential funders and others. Section 5: LAUNCH You’re ready to launch your business. In this section, you’ll learn strategies for launching, leading and developing processes that will allow your business to grow. You’ll learn how to draw attention to your new business. You’ll think about your leadership style, your company’s culture and how to manage the exciting challenges of growing a business. You’ll learn about best practices in process management and identify the success metrics that make sense for your business. You’ll forecast the financial future for your company and think about how to set yourself up for success. A professional faculty includes representatives from:
  • Accounting - Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, PA
  • Sales and Marketing - McKay Consulting Group, LLC
  • Law - McNair Law Firm

About Kauffman FastTrac® Kauffman FastTrac® aims to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship by providing practical learning materials, delivered online and via teaching partners, to entrepreneurs. In doing so, FastTrac® encourages and equips more people to start businesses, contributing to increased startup activity nationwide.

Free workshop, lunch coming soon for coastal S.C. artisans

Have you ever wondered what resources are available to help you start, sustain, or grow your business? Is your business in the creative or cultural heritage industries? Are you an entrepreneur whose business intersects with, or has the potential to intersect with the tourism industry? Are you an artist looking to start a business? This is the meeting you must attend…lunch is included! Seating is limited to 40, so register today.

  • DATE:            Saturday, April 14, 2018
  • TIME:            9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • WHERE:      901-905 Front Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
  • COST:            None. (That’s right. Free!)
Meet representatives from the Arts Commission, City of Georgetown Economic Development, CommunityWorks, Conway Innovation Center, Georgetown Innovation Center, and SCORE, along with other organizations that provide resources for small business and entrepreneurs. Network! Ask questions, provide input, and participate in planning to access business resources that can help your business grow. Click here to take a business / entrepreneur needs assessment survey that will help us help you before, during and after the meeting. This meeting is open to entrepreneurs located in Georgetown and Horry counties, but also includes the contiguous counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Dillon, Marion, and Williamsburg. We really want to see artist entrepreneurs!

What else?

Registration is required; walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Limit 2 registrants per business/organization. A registration-ticket will be sent 3 days prior to the meeting via the e-mail address you provide. Register now: Click here to register for this meeting. Registration closes April 9, 2018. This meeting is being facilitated by the SC Arts Commission. Sponsors of the meeting include the SC African American Heritage Commission, creator of the Greenbook of SC; Georgetown Innovation Center; Cultural Council of Georgetown County; Coastal Carolina University; and the City of Georgetown Economic Development Office.
For more information contact Joy Young, SCAC program director for Artists Ventures Initiative and ArtsGrowSC, at jyoung@arts.sc.gov.

Just in: one last slot for a GSP artisan to grow a business

Deadline: NOON Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 ArtsGrowSC, a program of the Arts Commission, has just ONE opening remaining for an Individual Development Account (IDA) for Artisans. The IDA is a matched savings program where artists commit to saving an agreed-upon amount of money over six months, and up to one year. The Arts Commission and CommunityWorks will then match the savings at a 3:1 rate; an artist who saves $1,000 is eligible to receive a match of up to $3,000. What’s the catch? You should be serious about business planning and committed to a process for thinking about how you will grow your business. You must live in Greenville or Spartanburg counties and fall within 200% of poverty (see guidelines below). The online application through Submittable is an easy process. Create an account, answer the questions, upload your support materials, and then submit. To be considered for the ArtsGrowSC Individual Development Account, click here. Please contact Joy Young (jyoung@arts.sc.gov) for questions about ArtsGrowSC. If you need technical assistance with the online submission process, contact Cathy Lee by calling 803.734.8674. Income guidelines are as follows:

SC Arts Commission increases access to grants and loans for artist entrepreneurs

Artists Ventures Initiatives letters of intent due January 11 Artists seeking to launch or expand a business venture may apply for grants or loans designed for varying levels of business readiness. Previous Artists Ventures Initiative grantees are eligible to apply for a new Business Builder Loan program through ArtsGrowSC. [caption id="attachment_33313" align="alignright" width="325"] Christine Eadie's nearly ready gypsy wagon[/caption] Christine Eadie of Ladson is the first artist to receive a business loan through ArtsGrowSC, a partnership between the S.C. Arts Commission and Community Works, a community development financial institution (CDFI) headquartered in Greenville. Eadie will use her loan to build and upfit a gypsy wagon to support her traveling tintype photography business. Eadie received an Artists Ventures Initiative grant from the Arts Commission in 2016.

"I was ecstatic to be awarded a grant by the Arts Commission via the Artists Ventures Initiative program to purchase a travel trailer and lights to turn the trailer into a mobile studio," said Eadie.  "The funds allowed me to turn my passion into a business and I was able to travel to arts events and started reached broader audiences for my tintype work.  I was invited to other states and made more connections which led to more business. My business has grown and I have attended events in Ga., N.C., Fla., Pa, Tenn., Ky., and Ark.

"The (ArtsGrowSC) loan I recently received allowed me to build a custom gypsy wagon trailer which is a dream come true!  Most of the events I am invited to attend are historic reenactments and living history events. It made sense that a more historically accurate trailer would fit in better.  Several leading photographers in my field have reached out to me expressing their admiration of this project. I plan on adding more options to my services in the coming year and I am optimistic this new venture will bring me more business.  I am excited for the future and very grateful to be part of this program!"

Artists Ventures Initiative grants encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for S.C. artists. Individuals and collaboratives may use AVI funding to help launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture. A one-time project/single purchase may be awarded up to $3,500. An ongoing business venture may be awarded up to $5,000. The AVI grant program is a two-part process, with letters of intent due Jan. 11, 2018. Selected applicants will be invited to develop a full grant proposal. Find out more about AVI grants. For more information about these opportunities, contact Joy Young.

Reminder – North Columbia Pop-Up Art Show and Sale is Dec. 2

The South Carolina Arts Commission’s ArtsGrowSC program invites you to get into the holiday spirit at the North Columbia Pop Up Art Show and Sale, Dec. 2 from 2-6 p.m. at Woodforest National Bank, 3730 North Main Street, Ste. D in Columbia. Purchase one-of-a-kind gifts for special people in your life from these featured artists:

In addition to high-quality handcrafted decorative and wearable art, this family-friendly community event will feature a live band, swing dancers and beverage and food trucks. Admission is free!