John Michael Schert, nationally recognized artist and social entrepreneur, headlines Artist as an Entrepreneur series
— Summit Artspace will host master-level workshops through its Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute in June for artists to think beyond their media and disciplines to see themselves as business and civic leaders.
New this year, “A Closer Look,” runs June 19-20 and 26-27, 5 to 9 p.m. at Summit Artspace on East Market, 140 E. Market St., Akron. AEI is underwritten by The Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
The four workshops are open to visual artists, actors, dancers, writers, designers and others with creative businesses who have participated in AEI or have established careers and are looking to fine-tune their business skills and also to Northeast Ohio business and civic leaders. Participants may choose any or all of the four offered.
Speaking at the third workshop, John Michael Schert, a dancer, businessman and social entrepreneur, has been called a “change agent.” He is the first artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and is involved in programming to connect the creative to the analytical within the school community.
Schert co-founded and directed the Trey McIntyre Project dance company. He has worked around the world as a consultant on the value of the creative process in business and civic leadership with clients including the Knight Foundation, National Center for Choreography, Google and the City of Boston. Now, he is bringing that knowledge and experience to Northeast Ohio’s artists and civic leaders.
“Art has great validity and value to business because it is allowing us to delve into a creative process that arrives at new inventions,” Schert says.
He believes businesses, nonprofits and community organizations can learn how artists engage in the creative process and then deploy that knowledge and techniques to create products and programs that contain high community value, at the same time benefiting the business or organization.
With this in mind, Summit Artspace is opening the course to Northeast Ohio business and civic leaders who are interested in the creative process as an untapped resource and learning how to incorporate that process into their organizations.
On the first day, participants will learn the details of pricing, splitting up into two courses aimed at visual and performing artists taught by Don and Lisa Drumm of Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, and Dane Leasure of Rubber City Shakespeare Company. The day will include a workshop on operational finances and accounting for artists.
Determining the value of their time and work will provide a foundation for participants to dive into the business planning process on the second day. Artists will work with local business experts, including Jim Griggy of the Small Business Development Center, to look at the value they articulated in the first day and create a strategic business plan which capitalizes on that value.
On the third day, after a tour of the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Main Library Microbusiness Center, Schert will give his talk on “The Role of the Artist as a Civic Leader” at WhiteSpace Creative, a converted factory which currently houses Keeven White’s successful creative marketing agency and which will soon house studio and gallery spaces, among other civic-minded ventures.
The final day will feature a storytelling workshop by Tess Burgler of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival and a social media intensive with Shon Christy of Focal Point Social Media. Inspired by Schert’s vision of artists as social entrepreneurs, these two workshops will guide participants through the art of crafting a narrative around one’s work. Participants will leave ready to tell their stories and venture, empowered, into the community.
The workshops are $25 per day, or $100 for the full course or $50 for the full course if participants are Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute alumni.
Register by June 16 at summitartspace.org/aei for A Closer Look.
Artists seeking a foundational course to help guide them as they develop their art into a business can enroll in Summit Artspace’s AEI Full Course, July 17-20 and 24-27, 6 to 9 p.m. at Summit Artspace on East Market. To learn more and register, go to summitartspace.org/aei.
Summit Artspace is a non-profit community art center organization that provides studio, gallery and programming spaces for local artists and arts organizations; and is a center for art education open to all residents. It serves Summit County and the surrounding area. For more information, go to summitartspace.org.