Researching The Competition
Now that I know the issues Project Create will address (the decline in art education and participation), it is time to start figuring out how those issues can be addressed. If you remember from my last post, I said that Project Create would promote the 5 modes of art participation that the National Endowment for the Arts identified (Inventive, Interpretive, Curatorial, Observational, and Ambient).
Building one business that promotes all 5 modes won’t be easy, but before I can even try to formulate a business model, I need to scope out the competition. This is important because I need to make sure my idea for Project Create isn’t already in practice. There is no point in repeating efforts.
Since Project Create will be in New Orleans, I began researching the services already provided by existing local businesses, both nonprofit and for profit. I want to make it clear that I have the utmost respect and admiration for all art based businesses. I refer to them as competitors solely from a business perspective, because I need to know what art related services are available and where Project Create can fit in that market. My goal is not to take away their customers, but to fill in any gaps that allow more people to be creative.
I found out that current New Orleans art organizations only target limited perspectives. For example:
- Local art agencies provide funding and support for art programs but do not offer tangible resources to the general public (i.e. painting supplies).
- Programs targeted towards art education in schools are curriculum based and do not allow students to seek out new art forms that interest them. Moreover, these programs are limited in scope and do not extend beyond the classroom.
- There are external internship programs for young artists, but these are exclusive and do not support all artists, especially those less skilled.
- Adult classes are available, but these are generally inaccessible to the public because of their high costs or the type of instruction provided. For example, a skills course in painting can cost hundreds of dollars and only meet a few times a month. On the other end of the spectrum, there are low cost BYOB painting facilities for only around $40/class, but these offer only short, one-time experiences.
Unless I am mistaken, and please let me know if I am, no current organization addresses all 5 modes of participation and provides access to all members of the community. A major concern of mine is that there are very little resources for students to create art outside of school related programs. The same goes for adults whose schedules do not allow for consistent enrollment in a skills class with a set calendar.
This means the market is open for Project Create, and I need to address the current gaps New Orleans has. With this information, I can start forming a business model. In my next post I will share with you what I come up with.
As always, please share any comments and suggestions.