A little bit of everything

One thing to think about when you are taking on your own public art project is that you will need to be a little bit of everything:

  • Salesperson – you have to really be able to sell yourself and your project, you will sell to funders, presenters, neighborhood organizations, sponsors and other supporters.
  • Marketer – part of being a good salesperson is being a good marketer. Find clear and compelling ways to talk about your work. Develop an elevator pitch (more on that later).
  • Networker – key to the success of any large project is getting out and talking to lots of people about it. Learn to promote your work and walk into a room and meet all the people you need to meet in the place.
buffet, w hotel, originally uploaded by heather.
  • Public speaker – both to promote your work and afterwards, when the project is so popular that loads of people want you to talk about it.
  • Fabricator – if necessary, to either make the work yourself, or be able to understand the technical needs of your project to be able to successfully translate that to your fabricator and to represent the project to everyone you are promoting it to.
  • Project Manager – understand how to balance, time, resources and output to achieve maximum effect. Get really good at to-do lists, following up & following through and managing communications with all of the players/aspects of your project.

There are probably a few more even, if I think of them (or you know any) I will add them to the list.

The other thing to do is to look at the list and figure out if there are any roles which you are either a) not good at or b) don’t like doing. If those things can be hired out, then do so. Hire a project manager or a grant writer or a pr person. Get them to do the job for you (can you trade services or get their assistance at a discount or in-kind?) or get them to teach you how to do it. I learned a lot from the first grantwriter that I hired. But I’m still not great at it, so I will be hiring one again…

You may be capable of taking everything on, but not have the time – just because you can do everything, doesn’t mean you should do everything. Make sure you consider carefully all the tasks you will need to achieve in order to ensure success of your project and fairly assess what you can and cannot take on. And make it fun!

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