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Artists prepare for world export market
Attention artists-if you have ever thought about trying to find a market for your work outside our borders, there is a workshop coming to a community near you that you should think about attending.
The Export Marketing of Cultural Products and Services workshops are being held from coast to coast with eight dates and locations scheduled The first workshop took place in Regina on Sept. 26, with the next scheduled for Edmonton on Oct. 23. On Nov. 27, Halifax will play host to the event, which then moves on to St. John's on Dec. 1 and Montreal on Jan. 30, 2004. Workshops will be held in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and at locations in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in the new year, although specific dates for those workshops have to be confirmed.
The workshops will focus on export marketing of visual arts and crafts, live performing arts, and music and sound recordings. The sessions are being organized by the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) in partnership with Team Canada Inc., the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT), Industry Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage-Trade Routes. Provincial trade organizations will also be taking part in each of the scheduled workshops.
The workshops are designed to assist self-employed artists, cultural workers and arts and culture entrepreneurs who are considering exporting their products, who are new to exporting, or who are already exporters but want to expand into new markets.
Lucie D'Aoust, project manager with the CHRC, explained that creating tools for artists and cultural workers to use in developing their careers is what the organization does. One of the CHRC's latest tools is The Art of Managing Your Career guide. Through the experience of putting the guide together, the CHRC discovered that there is a shortage of easily accessible information about exporting art.
"We discovered while doing that that many artists were interested in exporting, but just didn't know where to go or where the resources were available and what resources were available," she said.
"We developed a competency chart and a competency profile for the export marketing part of an artist's job, and we're presenting that. We're sort of releasing it across the country as we visit people who are interested in the workshops," she said.
The competency chart and profile help artists and cultural workers answer the biggest question they must consider before jumping into the export market-are they ready?
"The very first thing they have to be able to do is to assess export readiness, whether it's themselves as performing artists or whether it's a product that they're selling," D'Aoust said. "In the profile which we've developed, you can use the chart, you go to assess export readiness, and then you see the tasks that are associated, and you would recognize whether or not you're equipped or able to do that. And if you're not, you could seek help in those steps, or seek training."
While the worlds of art and business aren't usually seen as going hand-in-hand, that is something that must change if artists are going to be serious about making a living from their art. That is reflected in the fact that many post-secondary arts programs now teach students about the business side of art, D'Aoust explained.
There is no shortage of demand for Canadian art, artists and culture outside of Canada, D'Aoust said, adding that the demand for Aboriginal art is particularly high. But what many artists lack are the tools and information they need to reach those markets. The workshops series is designed to address that problem.
Each workshop will feature a 15-minute presentation by representatives of each of the sponsoring partners, explaining what their organization do and what resources they have to offer. Following that will be a panel featuring local artists and a guest speaker.
The afternoon will be devoted to the Going Global workshop, an intensive, three-hour long session designed by FTT.
The day's events will wrap up with networking sessions, where participants can get to know each other and share experiences and information.
Registration for the workshops is $25. The fee can be paid on site, but participants must pre-register. Registration forms are available online at www.culturalhrc.ca/ExpMktgWorkshop-e.asp.
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