Saturday, January 11, 2014


With little amounts of funding available for individual visual artists and hundreds of applicants, the reality has become that being selected feels like winning a lottery. Jurors have more excellent proposals from which to choose than are funds available.
Reasons to apply, assuming the artist meets all the requirements are:

1. Helps the artist to organize and articulate their thoughts about the project on paper.

2. Forces the artist to step back, review their visual support documentation in relation to their proposed project, make selection, and order for presentation impact.

3. Preparing a budget gives the artist insights to the economic feasibility of their project

4. Educates a "peer jury" about the breadth of the artist's practice, and the project for future opportunities if not selected this time.

5. Your ideas are out there and you have no control of how they might be interpreted, or used.

6. Finally, while most artists feel their proposal should be selected by the jury, the reality remains that there are more good applications than there is money so a priority list is created. If your proposal is number 6 on the list and there's only enough funding for 5 applicants, then you are out of luck.

7. We say, "good luck!" for valid reasons. Any winning artist is probably well deserving, and there are more also that may be deserving. By the luck of a moment in time, when a group of jurors try to rationalize an order for decision making, can determine a "successful" candidate. 

Friday, December 27, 2013


Planning for 2014 has already produced an invitation by the Vermont Art Centre, Artist Studio Residency Program in Johnston Vermont U.S., March 30 to April 25. I'm grateful to be selected for this residency opportunity to exchange with international artists from different disciplines, geographies and cultures. I've been assigned a beautiful painting studio to allow the space for unknown possibilities. Having a research-based practice, I work across medium and disciplines investigating the fluidity of memory and ecology of narrative space.

This will be my fourth artist residency: Gibraltar Point Toronto Islands 2002, Hungarian Multicultural Centre Budapest Hungary 2007, Banff Centre Alberta 2009 and now Vermont U.S. in 2014, about 5 years between each. 

When researching an Artist Residency for application, I'm careful to study the appropriateness of their mandate, the interests and professional backgrounds of program leaders and those of previous artist attendees. In addition, whether the organization will provide financial assistance, and specifically to me. As I will have to seek additional assistance from Canadian arts funding agencies, the Residency's international credibility with these agencies is also important. As a world traveler, I also consider geographic location for inspirations. The Vermont Art Centre Studio Residency Program meets all my criteria and is within driving distance from Ottawa cutting transportation costs. My research preparation during the next few months is to conceptualize an open-ended project with room for shifts in direction influenced by the actual residency experience.

Friday, October 18, 2013


The "Business of Art Training Inc./B.O.A.T. Inc. will have a booth at the Ottawa ArtPreneur Conference Saturday October 19, 2013, 8:30 am to 5 pm. There will be key note speakers, workshops and demonstrations with the intent to help artists in business.

The Business of Art Training Inc. booth is contributing to this event with free business of art tips, sign-up for workshops, and the latest publication, "Business of Art - Visual Artists in Canada 4th ed." available for purchase.  The 3rd edition book will also be available at a reduced price.

Workshops being offered are:
1. Getting Started - 6 hours - $125
2. Mid Career - Seminar Format - 6 hours - $125
3. Comprehensive - 12 hours - $250

Workshops are intensive with presentations, demonstrations, discussion and role-play exercises. The groups are kept small to encourage optimal individual attention for specific needs.

Where?   Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boulevard. Ottawa, On K1E 0A1 - Tickets are available at the door, $45.00. (remember this is an eligible tax deductible business expense.)

Conference Description: The overall Conference program will feature inspirational and successful key note speakers, real-world experience workshops, relevant product demonstrations and numerous networking opportunities. This is a collaborative effort between AOE Arts Council, Ottawa School of
Art, the Shenkman Arts Centre and Wallack’s Art Supplies. The aim is to promote entrepreneurship in the creative industries and become Ontario’s leading business conference for artists.
I'm pleased to participate in the third Ottawa ArtPreneur Conference this Sat. October 19, 2013 at the Shenkman Centre Orleans all day. Our motto, "helping artists in business". Tickets available online at:, or at the door.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


"Melting", acrylic, 30 x 30 inches, c. 2013, by Sandra Hawkins.
From the Arctic Return  2013 - Ecology of Memory exhibition.
Getting ready for a painting and photography exhibition of one's art is more than creating the work. And if it's painting, it must be completed well in advance of hanging to allow time for drying, especially if its oil. And if its photography, allow time for the printing. The following to-do list gives insights to the wide range of skills required by the independent visual artist above and beyond the skills and knowledge required to create the artwork. 

Historically, many artists do not have the writing and oral skills to promote their art, nor the extravert personality. If they don't have a "champion(s)" (family, friend and/or arts professional) to do this for them, few attend the exhibition. The artist's career is constantly below the radar of public awareness reducing further opportunities. This may have nothing to do with the actual quality of the artwork being shown. Everything in the list below costs the artist money, above and beyond art production, for which they may or may not be compensated depending upon purchases made at the exhibition.
  1. Installation of appropriate hardware for hanging as per the unique requirements of the specific exhibition space.
  2. If framing, selection of frames and mats that will enhance visual cohesion of the overall exhibition.
  3. Write artist/exhibition statement and the artist bio.
  4. Prepare a list of art being shown: Title, Medium, Year, Dimensions, Price.
  5. From this list, prepare exhibition labels to be place beside each work.
  6. Design and produce exhibition invitations in digital format for printing.
  7. Design and write exhibition catalogue in digital format for printing.
  8. Research professional printers for the best price and quality, provide them with a digital file, review a proof, and pick-up the final work.
  9. Prepare invitation list making sure to include individuals and corporations who have shown interest in previous exhibitions. This is the value of have a guest book that has a column for contact information.
  10. Write exhibition announcement for media, and distribute according to their deadlines, Eg. Magazines, 1 - 2 months in advance. This requires research.
  11. Create a Facebook event, blog or other that has "public" visibility to reach a wider audience.
  12. Obtain media interviews regarding the exhibition for yourself, or for someone knowledgable about the art to be shown.
  13. Package the artwork and arrange for transporting and unloading at the exhibition site.
  14. With an exhibition theme already established, arrange the selected artworks on the floor if the exhibition space where they will be hung.
  15. Hang the artwork according to the gallery's rules.
  16. Adjust the lighting so that each artwork has a crescent of light just above.
  17. Prepare reception food and beverages, or have it catered. Few artists can afford the latter. If serving alcohol in a public space, a license must be obtained at least 2 weeks in advance.
  18. Prepare for an artist talk, including a powerpoint slide presentation if possible.
  19. Throughout and following the exhibition seek feedback as to visitor comments and interest in purchasing. 
  20. While visual artists don't charge an entrance fee the way a musician or actor would, they are dependent on sales of their artwork. Although a visitor may not make a purchase, their knowledge of your work may lead to future sales from them or their contacts.