Love at first arc for S.C. welder
New direction leads to arts entrepreneurship
The Hub was honestly not expecting a don't-miss story from The Welder.
Shame on us. Do yourself a favor and read the story of Kristen Albro
of Charleston from the Illinois-based trade publication. Writer Amanda Carlson does a terrific profile of the unexpected blacksmith. Here's a small excerpt:
As a veteran of the Air Force, Albro spent her time in service as an aircraft mechanic. Later she earned a degree in criminal justice with a minor in intelligence and homeland security from The Citadel. Seeing the writing on the wall about a white-collar desk job, the lifelong artist did a little soul-searching about what exactly would make her happy. Working with your hands can lead to many pathways, but she landed on welding because she wondered if she could somehow incorporate that into her art.
Carlson mentions Albro's techniques and inspiration and how the two came together to form her entrepreneurial artistic venture. We'll stop there, because you should just go read it right now (TheFabricator.com)
Midlands music school expands virtual services, offers scholarships
Freeway Music School serves Columbia area
In response to the pandemic, Columbia's Freeway Music launched new virtual and socially distanced technique lessons, showcases, recitals, studio time and music videos, along with new scholarships, positively impacting hundreds of students across the region.
A small business, Freeway Music is rooted in face-to-face interaction and in-person instruction. Once the COVID-19 pandemic limited its ability to open studio doors at its five Columbia locations, the music school brought instruction and opportunities into the homes of its students by incorporating virtual lessons, showcases and recitals in different formats. It has also introduced new technology in order to make lessons even more productive.
“Music is a vehicle for creativity, healing, emotional expression, and so much more,” says Don Russo, founder and chief operating officer of Freeway Music. “It offers hope and is vital during these isolating times. We are committed to showing our music family that they don’t need to physically be together to play together.”
Founded in 2011, Freeway Music offers student-centered music education that also benefits the broader community, making a positive impact through lessons for all skill levels and ages, as well as music therapy, theater, showcases, recitals, and partnerships with various charities, organizations and community events. Freeway Music has locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Northeast and within Sims Music.
In addition to its virtual services, Freeway Music is now offering in-person, socially distanced lessons and free studio time as a new experience for its students, enabling them to take home their own recordings. The school is also using technology like Sound Slice, which allows students to see their music notated online, control tempo, and loop sections with which they may be struggling.
This summer, Freeway Music students held outdoor, socially distanced concerts at Steel Hands Brewing and Market on Main in downtown Columbia, giving kids the opportunity to perform safely in public with adult supervision.
“Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to continue to learn and showcase their work during this hectic time,” says Tony Lee, co-founder of Freeway Music. “Music and creative expression should be accessible to everyone, which is why we’re creating safe and innovative solutions to meet the needs of every family.”
As the pandemic began to alter lives for businesses and families alike, Freeway Music recognized a need within its own music community–families who no longer can afford lessons and instructors who have lost their jobs. As a result, Freeway Music created “Jam for the Fam,” a virtual concert benefiting those in need. Local musicians volunteered to perform, and the event provided 10 scholarships for students to continue lessons and benefitted four instructors who have recently experienced significant loss.
“Freeway Music is so much more than a music school — they are our extended family,” says one scholarship recipient’s mother. “When COVID-19 hit and my family was down to one income, they stepped in to help my daughter continue her lessons with a special scholarship. With their help, my girls could continue doing what they love, making music.”
Freeway Music believes that music transcends barriers of all kinds and unites people from all walks of life, and the school uses its resources to uplift and encourage the entire Columbia region and beyond. Its philanthropic support of local organizations and community outreach include the following:
- Co-partnership of the Freeway Music Festival, which unites the music community and celebrates local and regional talent. The 2019 event raised money to help build a new greenhouse at City Roots Organic Farm.
- Fundraising and performances for many local causes and charities including The Conner Foundation, Palmetto Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Women’s Shelter, Pets Inc., Pawmetto Lifeline, Trustus Theatre, Girls Rock Columbia, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the South Carolina Philharmonic, among others.
- Lesson donations and performances for local schools including Bethel-Hanberry Elementary, St. John Newman, Heathwood Hall, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Blythewood and Irmo high schools, St. Andrews Middle School and many more.
- Volunteerism and support of local events including the Festival of Trees, Rooftop Rhythms, St. Pat's in Five Points Parade, Palmetto Christmas, the MG&C Long Run, the Heart and Sole Run, Get in the Pink Race, Vista Lights, First Thursdays on Main, and more.
- Music scholarships including the Friends Grant in partnership with The Christopher Conner Foundation to help students that can’t afford music lessons, and the Davis Cripe Scholarship, which was created in loving memory of Freeway Music Irmo/Ballentine drum student Davis Cripe.
About Freeway Music
Founded in 2011, Freeway Music is the Columbia region’s premier music school with five locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, the Northeast, and within Sims Music. Freeway Music offers private lessons for all skill levels, styles, and ages on a wide range of instruments including piano, voice, ukulele, drums, bass, strings, woodwinds, horns, mandolin, banjo, and more. Freeway Music’s mission is to equip students in music and life to make a positive impact in their community. Freeway Music is the exclusive music school partner of Sims Music, a locally owned and nationally recognized music store. For more information visit www.freewaymusic.net
or call 844.537.7661.
New grant launches for artists with SCI
SCI Artist-Innovator Fund offers up to $7,500
Application deadline: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
The spinal cord injury (SCI) community is abundant with out-of-the-box thinkers, hackers, problem solvers, and individuals creatively tackling challenges. Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) launches the first ever SCI Artist-Innovator Fund to offer artists, innovators, inventors, makers, and entrepreneurs financial capital for social-impact oriented, creative entrepreneurship projects.
Recent statistics show that self-employment rates in the US are higher among disabled people than non-disabled people (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). However, there is limited funding dedicated to developing entrepreneurial capabilities of disabled artists that would provide pathways for financial independence. In addition, these programs assume that disabled people are driven to become entrepreneurs primarily as a result of barriers in other sections of the workforce. CCI challenges these assumptions and recognizes that the spinal cord injury (SCI) experience brings a unique perspective to innovation.
The SCI Artist-Innovator Grant will offer 10-12 grants of up to $7,500
, for a total of $75,000 in grants, to individual artist-entrepreneurs with spinal cord injuries who are inspired to innovate by opportunity-based entrepreneurship – in other words, by the possibilities and benefits that are offered through the experience of pursuing a creative practice and living with spinal cord injury. CCI recognizes that having an underserved perspective, living with challenging circumstances, and applying creative practice can yield important solutions for not only the innovator but for the benefit of society. This opportunity to recognize the powerful combination of SCI populations, craftsmanship and creative practice, and positive social impact is made possible by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
whose founder lived with SCI and whose legacy is as an entrepreneur.
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:
Go here to learn more (guidelines, etc.) and apply.
- Be an individual living with spinal cord injury (SCI applicants may be part of a team, but only if the applicant is the primary owner or lead);
- Live and work in the USA or its territories; and
- Self-define as an artist, maker, creative, or culture bearer, or whose project reflects deep and sustained refining that reflects a craft, cultural, or artistic practice.
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.
- 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.
- Complete the NxLeveL Micro Entrepreneur Application
- Complete the NxLeveL Micro Entrepreneur Registration
Contact Program Director Joy Young (email@example.com
or 803.734.8696) with questions.
Main image by Kaique Rocha from Pexels
“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
: 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Grants and loans available for new and seasoned artist entrepreneurs
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.
Christine Eade 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.
"It's been a dream of mine for several years to build a gypsy-wagon style portable studio," said Eadie. "An historically "period correct" studio is ideal for my business, because I mainly work at historic venues and events making vintage looking photographs called "tintypes" (a handmade process invented in 1851).
"Being a divorced mother putting my daughter through college on my own, I simply couldn't afford to use my limited funds to invest in building a wagon. This loan from Community Works has been such a blessing! It has given me the boost I needed towards making my business stand out even more and set me apart from the crowd. What I do is already unique, so I'm excited to get out on the road and travel to more and venues and events and bring my business to more people. I am excited about branching out into other areas and renting out my wagon as a digital photo booth."
Eadie received an Artists Ventures Initiative grant from the Arts Commission in 2016.
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.
Lexington and Richland county artists may apply for Pop-Up Art Show and Sale
Deadline extended to November 17.
Lexington and Richland county artists are invited to apply for the inaugural North Columbia Pop Up Art Show and Sale taking place December 2. Sponsored by Woodforest National Bank and the S.C. Arts Commission's ArtsGrowSC program, the event will feature high quality art and crafts, a live band, a swing dance, food and beverage trucks, and artist demonstrations.
Click here for more information on this unique opportunity.
Artist exhibitors can apply to showcase and sell their work, which must be the original work of the artist. $200 will be awarded to artists selected to participate. No commission will be taken from sales.
Who is eligible?
- When: Saturday, December 2
- Where: 3730 North Main Street, Ste. D, Columbia, SC 29203
- Time: 2 - 6 p.m. (Must be available for set-up beginning at 11 a.m.)
- Applications will be accepted between November 6 and 17.
- There is no entry fee!
Artists must reside in Richland or Lexington county and be 21 years of age or older.
What kind of arts products are eligible for the show and sale?
Items sold must be the original work of the submitting artist. Artists who create wearables, home-goods, visual and craft works, as well as other one-of-a-kind products may apply.
How to apply
- Artists will be notified of their selection November 21.
- Artists must be present to set-up December 2 beginning at 11 a.m.
- Artists will be located indoors and provided with a 2 x 6 ft. table, two chairs, display space, wireless access, and electricity. More than one free standing pedestal, rack or display will be allowed only if space permits.
- All items must be priced for sale (prices must be visible and include taxes) and ready to be hung. Artists will be responsible for their own sales; no commission will be taken.
- 2D submissions: All work should be limited to 4ft x 4ft. If work is framed, include the frame in the measurement. Each piece must be ready to hang; no saw-tooth hangers or string will be accepted.
- 3D submissions: 3D pieces may be of any reasonable size, of a permanent medium and suitable for an environment with pedestrian foot traffic. If a pedestal, rack, or display is required, the artist must provide.
Applications will be accepted online on Submittable between November 6 and 17. Go to the online application
Applications must be received by midnight November 17.
Free workshop - DUE TO SCHEDULING CONFLICTS, THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELED
As part of this artist entrepreneurship activity, Woodforest National Bank will host a free workshop
, Money Smarts for Small Business, for all artists who submit. The workshop will be held November 20 from 6- 7:30 p.m
. at 3730 North Main Street, Ste. D, Columbia, SC 29203. You do not have to attend the workshop to be considered for the show and sale; however, it is highly recommended. Want to attend the workshop but not apply for the sale and show? Just email email@example.com
Contact Joy Young
or more information.
Avoiding the life of the starving artist
From USC School of Music
Article by John Brunelli
SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge teaches entrepreneurship to the arts community
[caption id="attachment_31142" align="alignright" width="250"] SAVVY teams create exhibits showcasing their business ventures.[/caption]
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated postimpressionist painters of the 19th century. But at the time of his death, he was penniless and obscure — the epitome of a starving artist.
"You don't get any brownie points for being an amazing artist, who is so poor that you can't afford to create your art or share your gifts," says David Cutler, director of music entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina.
For the past five summers, Cutler has led a School of Music workshop designed to help a diverse group of artists maximize income, prove their worth and adapt to a world that is changing at an exponential rate.
This experiential workshop called the SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge explores how a variety of business lessons are applicable to all art disciplines. This year's class is the most diverse yet — including musicians, visual artists, dancers, actors and even two mimes.
Each of the 72 participants begins the week by giving a one-minute elevator pitch for an innovative arts-based business. The entire class votes on favorites and ultimately selects nine ideas to develop throughout the week. They divide into teams each with a CEO, a CFO, a marketing director and other key positions designed to create a successful business model.
"There aren't a lot of tidy, secure, full-time jobs available for artists, even those with the most talent," Cutler says. "Most of us have to create our lives. SAVVY helps participants develop a variety of relevant skills for their own unique career path."
Throughout the week, teams are required to solve eight "challenges." The finance challenge asks groups to create a startup budget, explain their business' cash flow and build a financial statement. A digital branding challenge requires the creation of a website consistent with the brand's personality while meeting the needs of customers. A research challenge gets them into the community to conduct surveys, interview experts and test core assumptions.
"Entrepreneurship, for me, isn't just about career training. It's a way of life," Cutler says. "It's about creative problem-solving and innovation, as well as value creation, financial literacy, business-model design, taking chances and bold unapologetic leadership."
At the end of the week, the teams pitch their businesses again — this time to a panel of judges and local government, arts and business leaders during the SAVVY Reveal at the Copenhaver Band Hall. People watching a livestream of the program from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. June 9 also can vote for their favorites.
The week begins with the SAVVY Chamber Showcase, where four finalist ensembles featuring artistic excellence and innovative event design compete for a $10,000 grant prize/School of Music residency and management options. All finalists receive full tuition scholarships to attend the 2017 SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge.
This year's finalists are: Real Vocal String Quartet from Berkeley, California, a multi-genre string quartet where all members also sing. Projecto Acromusical, based in Dekalb, Illnois, is a world music sextet that reimagines the Afro-Brazilian berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument, through a repertoire of concert chamber music. BIK Ensemble from Montreal, Canada, is a theatrical trio whose musicians dance around the stage, use cutlery as percussion and incorporate a host of other surprises. The final ensemble, The Living Earth Show from San Francisco, is an electro-acoustic group that generates a huge variety of sounds and sights from just a guitarist and a percussionist.
The four ensembles compete at 7:30 p.m. Monday (June 5) in the newly opened auditorium at the Richland County Main Library. The concert is free and open to the public.
In addition to becoming business savvy, Cutler hopes the participants, who are from nine countries and 25 states, will gain an appreciation for the resources and potential of a vibrant city like Columbia. Local organizations, businesses and community members are involved with SAVVY in a variety of capacities, as partners, dinner hosts, guest presenters and "entrepre-tainers."
"SAVVY is literally the best event of its kind in the world," Cutler says. "This parallels a lesson we emphasize. For those with the courage and audacity to lead in relevant ways, the benefits can be tremendous."
ArtsGrowSC – Expanded Funding for Arts-Based Businesses
The South Carolina Arts Commission and CommunityWorks (CW), a community development finance institution based in Greenville, are collaborating on a pilot program designed to increase opportunities for artisans to develop and grow arts-based business ventures that contribute to the $9.2 billion generated by the state’s core creative industries. The ArtsGrowSC pilot will combine the strengths of both organizations to offer resources for qualifying artists, including a savings program, micro-loans, business venture loans, grants, personalized coaching and workshops.
The project is the next logical step for the Arts Commission’s artist development work and its Artist Ventures Initiative
Program, says Executive Director Ken May. “Our Artists Ventures Initiative grant provides funding to launch or revamp an arts-based venture, but the grant is a one-time opportunity. Many of those funded artists are now ready for the next level of growing their businesses, and that growth is key to the vitality of the state’s creative economy. This new collaboration provides CommunityWorks with a pool of artisans vetted through our grants process and helps connect those artisans to much-needed capital through their matched savings programs and loans. The collaboration also adds a funding resource for artists beyond the Arts Commission’s limited grant dollars.”
CommunityWorks recognizes that artisans often operate as small business ventures. According to CW’s President/CEO Deborah McKetty, “We hear a lot about jobs created when large corporations set up shop in South Carolina. However, microbusiness development could become an important second-tier economic development strategy for fostering wealth and creating jobs within low-wealth communities.”
McKetty is eager to offer CommunityWork’s resources in other parts of the state. “A successful pilot project will enable us to expand our portfolio. Our goal is leveraging funds to grow the creative industries statewide while also recognizing the role artisans and arts-based businesses play in community economic development. We anticipate reaching deeper into the arts community through the Arts Commission’s networks. ”
The pilot was launched May 1 in Spartanburg, where creative businesses are fueling economic growth throughout the county. In 2014, Chapman Cultural Center’
s “Culture Counts” project identified a growing cluster of creative industries in Spartanburg County. “We believe that this new financing mechanism will help others to jump start or expand their creative businesses to scale,” said Chapman Cultural Center CEO and President Jennifer Evins. “Creative industries and creative workers are very important to providing innovation and creativity to manufacturing, technology and research. We also hope that this new path to economic prosperity for artists will attract creatives from other states to relocate to Spartanburg and South Carolina.”
Joy Young, the Arts Commission’s program director for Leadership and Organizational Development, as well as the Artists Ventures Initiative, added, “ArtsGrowSC is a perfect union of resources – arts, financial, personal and professional – to support arts-based business ventures."
ArtsGrowSC is comprised of three components targeted to artists based upon their locale and business readiness:
Individual Development Account (IDA) for Artisans
– This matched savings program will initially focus on Spartanburg-area artisans. Those who qualify will commit to saving an agreed-upon amount of money over six months. CommunityWorks will then match the savings at a 3:1 rate; an artisan who saves $1,000 will receive a match of $3,000. Funds may be used to purchase long-term assets such as equipment or to open a small business.
IDA to Artists Ventures Initiative (AVI)
– Artisans who take part in the initial IDA program may then qualify for the IDA to AVI program. Artisans receive personalized coaching from the Arts Commission and may apply for an Arts Commission matching quarterly grant to receive business training from a recognized business development source. Additionally, the Arts Commission will help in preparing the Artists Ventures Initiative grant application.
Artists Ventures Initiative Business Builder Loan Program
– Artists are invited to expand their ventures with a business loan of up to $15,000 from CommunityWorks. The micro-loan could be leveraged with an IDA account. Previous AVI grantees receive priority; however, any artist may apply. Previous AVI grantees may apply for an Arts Commission AVI-Expansion matching grant of up to $1,500 to assist with application and closing fees.
For more information about ArtsGrowSC, contact Joy Young
, (803) 734-8203.