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Surviving as an artist requires more than imagination, you need entrepreneurship

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For artists, making work they are proud of is only the first step. They still have to market their art, and themselves as artists, to attract potential buyers.

Painter, sculptor and dean of instruction at Wayne County Community College Jocelyn Rainey will be a panelist forThe Business of Art. She also founded a non-profit community arts program called Finding Mona Lisa.

Rainey says she hopes the event will help artists understand how to become self-sufficient.

"I think when we get over the joy of being an artist and being free we have to figure out how to take the talent that we have and make a living from it," she says.

Fellow panelist Jon Dones is the founder of Studio Teal. He has experience in photography, art and film production, art direction, fashion and more.

His mission is to help artists build a bridge between creativity and business. He says this often means better understanding how to speak about their own work.

"When you want to talk about what you're doing you want to trigger some kind of different passion points. And so I help artists look at their own work with sort of fresh eyes and understand the best way to talk and sell themselves," he says.

Rainey says students frequently view college as a way to get a degree and then a job, but for those in the arts it's more complicated.

"When you become an artist, a creator, a dancer, a musician or what have you, you become a business," she says.

As the number of freelancers rise, Dones says it’s even more important for artists to understand how to sell their work. But he says emerging artists do seem more willing to learn how to market themselves.

When artists first enter the field it can be hard to know how to price their own work. Rainey says new artists have to be willing to consult with people already established in the field to gain an understanding of pricing, building collectors, and growing an audience.

"You don't want young artists to be taken advantage of. Because it can be tiring and it can be discouraging. And so we just want to encourage the artists to just keep creating," Rainey says.

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