Finding a way to financially sustain ourselves while sustaining our souls through art-making has always been a struggle, particularly for QTPOC artists.
That’s why Codify Art was thrilled to welcome J Mase III to facilitate Can I Pay My Rent Tho?!, a workshop centered on making a space for artists to develop long-term strategies towards a life supported by our creative work. Mase walked through tangible steps on how to better market ourselves and create a sustainable financial plan.
Check out below five takeaways from the workshop and pics from the day!
1. Don’t be afraid to ask! Sometimes as folks of color, we don’t want to (or have been taught not to) ask for help. If you happen to fall into this bucket, try reframing asking for help as asking for the people who you love and care about you.
2. Create your network! Build a database of people, groups and institutions that you can e-blast quarterly about your work in order to stay relevant. Put up to three people from the same institution since positions listed on websites can become outdated quickly
3. Don’t underprice yourself! Do research to see what the current market is in your artistic practice. It’s better to shoot for a high number and then negotiate towards the middle as opposed to selling yourself – and your worth – short.
4. Have varying levels of art. Some folks can only pay $10 for art. Some institutions can pay $10,000. Marketing a wide range allows for greater accessibility to your work – and enables you to get the most bang for your buck.
5. When people are buying your art, they are investing in you! Think about how you can humanize yourself and tell your story so investors are interested in supporting you in the long-term.
J Mase III is a Black/trans/queer poet based in Seattle, by way of NYC. As an educator, he has worked with thousands of community members in the US, the UK, and Canada on the needs of LGBTQIA youth and adults in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities, and restricted care facilities among others. Contact J Mase III here if you want to book him for a workshop or poetry gig!
Have a workshop for QTPOC artists or know someone else who does? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we would be the perfect match for your workshop!