Business Acumen for Artists - An Online Learning Log

Public Relations Acumen for Artists

Jane Notten, MD of Rothko gave an insightful talk on the origins of PR, and tactics and methods which are applicable for practitioners today. Below are her slides. If you can't see them, click here to download them.

In the talk, Jane encouraged us to be proactive in managing our own PR and to consider more a way of doing business than an isolated task.

Any questions you have, feel free to pop them in the comments here.

The Art of Giving and, hopefully, receiving

Two weeks ago Elsbeth Donovan spoke about this article (attached). Although not completely centred around funding the arts, there are some foundations that are listed that might consider arts programme/training programmes (present and future) that are tailored to and furthers their cause. The Mail and Guardian is advertising a supplement that is specific to funding the arts during October - so I will watch out for it and post it as soon as it happens. Here are a few more foundations/organisations that I know of that you can also contact: - they supply huge funding to many projects. It is closed for this season, but get ready for next (2008/9)! Make sure you fill in their forms correctly and hit their deadlines otherwise they will not consider you. - not sure how you find out about their funding, but you can find out what they have funded here: - sections that might be of interest are: the SMME button (look under Integrated Small Enterprise Development strategy), and under Offerings button (look at Incentives and development finance) - an EU Conference, Workshop and CULTURAL INITIATIVES Fund. available to South Africa. - only for film, look under the funding section, they will fund training, development and production - they fund both motion pictures and publications - but do expect their money back.

If you get an angel investor, they can also get tax offset for any film investment they make. SARS allows this under Section 24F of the Income Tax Act. Get more info from

I have also asked Mike Auret to give us his list of funders - and I will post it to the b-log as soon as I get it.

If you know of any other funders, please post it up to the blog.

See you on Monday!


The Art and Business of Giving

The foundations’ contact list

Exploration, Bravery and the Space of Good Work


I was reminded after the work you had all done on your business plans these last couple of days about the importance of Grief in the creation of extraordinary work. It is only after you have grappled with things to the extent that it feels like surfaces have been disrupted and transformed that you are truly beginning to emerge in a place of tremendous discovery and Joy. This poem, one of my favourites, is a talisman for you on that Journey. E 

The Well of Grief by David Whyte 

Those who will not slip beneath  

the still surface of the well of grief  

turning downward through its black water  

to the place we cannot breathe  

will never know the source from which we drink,  

the secret water,  

cold and clear,  

nor find in the darkness  

glimmering the small round coins thrown away  

by those who wished for something else.  


Lessons for Business from BAA

We are in the third week of the Business Acumen for Artists programme. One of the most critical leverage points for Business which has emerged from this process is the way in which multiple forms of artistic expression can help to invigorate organisational thinking. We ran a process last week at the UCT GSB called the Think Indaba where we used visual process facilitation to help delegates to visualise Africa in 2012. The findings were profoundly positive not only because it allowed executives to start thinking through another medium but also because of the pride which emerged at the end of the process and what they had created together. What this brought up for us in terms of the BAA was how rich a deposit the language of creativity is for business - imagine being able to document a journey you go on with your EXCO through represented images, melodies, and even theatre that they create by means of a guided facilitated process together!  Consultants are so often looking for the next big thing to differentiate their offerings in the market. I for one, after having seen the extraordinary success of this tool am all for the tracing of multiple creative disciplines into the texturing of strategy and multiple perspectives so crucial for business value creation and sustainability. Try it - you might even surprise yourself at the results. 

Group Multi Media exhibition, Sharp Artists and The Tricky Part

I am suddenly inspired by the idea of a group multi-media exhibition at the end of our programme. The complete project I am working on is HUGE and will only be realised in 2010, but a slice, a snippet could well be part of a Sharp Artists exhibition (We’ll have to think of a sexier title - “Business Acumen” isn’t very sticky.) At tea time tonight I went scouting for a site for my performance art piece for the exhhibition(shot gun on the eucalyptus trees near the parking lot)… can’t you just see our work being, hung, projected, shown, sung… PLAYED all over and around the community centre for one juicy night? Thank you to all for the rousing “Happy Birthday”. I’ll miss ya’ll next week as I’ll be working. If you are up for a night of excellent, thought-provoking, challenging theatre. Don’t miss my production of The Tricky Part opening at the Baxter Theatre on 11 September and running till the end of September. (not quite sure about blogg protocol - is it ok to use it for shameless marketing?) Jacqueline