‘I came out of five years of education with a BA and an MA, but I still didn’t know where to begin when it came to knowing how the art world works,’ says Rosalind Davis, co-director of the Core Gallery. A lot of people who graduated university with an arts or humanities degree are likely to identify with this sentiment; while art school is good for finding your voice, it’s not so good when it comes to teaching you about running a business. This is where Rosalind, and her fellow Core Gallery artists, hope to be able to help.
The Core Gallery was set up in April 2010, and puts on exhibitions by emerging curators. ‘We want to be a dynamic, exploratory space,’ says Rosalind. Their DIY Educate programme kicks off this spring, focusing firmly on ‘what they don’t teach you in school’: how to apply for an exhibition, how to sell your work, how to approach a gallery. The workshops will also go over how to find grants, or how to find an arts-related side-job to keep food on the table. One-on-one tutorials are also part of the package, with esteemed painter Graham Crowley offering his honest opinion for starters, with more names to be added. ‘There will also be peer critique sessions, and the opportunity to exchange ideas in a friendly place’, says Rosalind, emphasising how the most important thing is to create a space where artists feel nurtured.
‘Lots of art school practice is about the concept and processes of art, and there is less focus on the business side,’ says Rosalind. ‘But artists can be shy about marketing themselves, and they will often need encouragement.’
I ask Rosalind why the business side this isn’t covered better in school, and she says it’s difficult to say, but part of the reason may be that artist teachers in university may not be that great at promoting themselves either. She lectures about the business side of art herself, but she thinks it should be a mandatory subject to better prepare students for what’s to come.
DIY Educate will include talks by curators and artists, plus practical workshops. Membership costs £18 per year, granting free or reduced price access to events. Non-members can attend too, paying full price. DIY Educate is a not-for-profit programme that receives no independent funding, and Rosalind hopes to be able to expand offerings as things get going.
The programme kicks off this Saturday, 26th February, with a peer critique sesson followed by an artist and curator dialogue. On Tuesday night, 1st March, there will be a ‘nuts and bolt’ workshop on how to be an artist. ‘We plan to have one of these ‘nuts and bolts’ workshop every other month or so, plus a series of art workshops through the spring and summer,’ Rosalind explains. Initially the gallery plans to have two tutorials a month, but this could grow as more artists join Graham Crowley in offering them.
All images courtesy of Core Gallery and its resident artists.
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