Artist INC Des Moines is a professional development opportunity for artists working in all creative disciplines that took place in the spring of 2021. The program provides cutting-edge training seminars that address the specific daily business needs and challenges artists of all disciplines face.
The Artist INC program emerged as the catalyst for delivering on the community's recognition of the vital role arts play as an economic engine and key driver to enrich the cultural vitality of the region. This recognition is grounded in the Central Iowa Regional Cultural Assessment that supports the Capital Crossroads vision plan. Identifying individual artists and creative entrepreneurs as one of the cornerstones of Des Moines' arts and cultural ecosystem, the assessment identified "Strengthening the Creative Economy by developing the talent and skillset of creative entrepreneurs and artists as one of the four cultural priorities." The program represents a formalized step toward advancing Des Moines Arts Festival’s top strategic priorities to serve as a cross-discipline artist service organization, acting as a nexus for capacity building within the creative community, coordinating relevant programming, administering communication, and ensuring equity and inclusion using arts as a catalyst.
Artists engage in an eight-week training seminar led by a team of five trained peer facilitators, and designed for up to 25 participants who are selected through a competitive panel process that looks at quality of work, readiness for the program, and diversity of the seminar cohort to ensure diversity and inclusion in all its definitions including demographics (gender, age, and ethnicity) and artistic discipline (including visual, performing, literary, and film). Artists learn and grow together through artist facilitator mentoring, small group application activities, large group discussions and multi-media lectures. Participating artists learn business skills relevant to their art practice and apply those skills cooperatively with the peers.
Building a strong, supportive community of artists is one of the goals of the program. One-on-One Coaching is embedded in the core Artist INC program. Utilizing the Artist INC staff and Artist INC Des Moines Peer Facilitator team, in-depth arts business counseling sessions are provided to all Artist INC Live Fellows first as a part of the seminar experiences and then by request post seminar.
Artist INC Des Moines sessions include the following content:
- Your Map: Strategic Planning and Goal Setting
- Your Story: Strategic Communications and Building a Personal Brand
- Your Public: Writing About Your Work
- Your Money: Budgets and Financial Planning
- Your Value: How to Fund Your Practice
- Your Plan: Artist as Solopreneur
- Your Presence: Public Speaking and Online Presence
- Your Work: Sharing your Work with the Public
Artist INC is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA), a nonprofit regional arts organization that strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout a six-state region (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas) and beyond. Des Moines was the first community to deliver Artist INC outside M-AAA's region.
The emergence of Artist INC Des Moines and its initial launch in Des Moines is made possible because of the generous contributions from:
Bravo Greater Des Moines
G David and Trudy Holman Hurd Fund
Iowa Arts Council
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs