Project Create

the biography of a nonprofit

Archive for the tag “national endowment for the arts”

Project Create Business Model

By now I am sure you are wondering how Project Create will actually bring more creativity to New Orleans, which already has a vibrant and artistic culture. While that is true, there is also a very large sector of the population that still does not participate in art. These are the people Project Create is targeting.

With a lot of research and planning, I have written a business model that addresses all 5 modes of art participation. However, you will notice that I have reorganized them into 3 more practical outlets. Without further ado, here is my pitch:

Project Create will be an open art studio where clients can participate in three ways: Art Creation, Art Education, Art Support.

Art Creation: Basic supplies for various media will be available. At opening day, we will support painting, drawing and needlework.  Within limits, these supplies can be checked out and used in the studio to create any art. When a client leaves the space, all unused materials must be returned. Storage will be provided for unfinished artwork that the artist can come back to finish. (Inventive Participation)

Art Education: Classes will be available for both general skills and product specific creation. In general skills classes, instructors will teach basic skills needed to ensure clients are comfortable in a particular medium (i.e. how to use a sewing machine). In product specific classes, students will be provided the resources and instruction needed to complete a particular piece of art (i.e. students leave with a finished painting). Seminars will also be provided to encourage clients to independently create and sell their work. (Interpretive Participation)

Art Support:  First, volunteers can apply to teach skills and product specific classes. Particularly, local art students will be invited to teach classes and develop leadership skills. The application process is a skills assessment to ensure clients receive proper training. Second, the general public can experience, view, and purchase art through the Project Create studio. The space will hold client developed cultural art displays and gallery events to showcase client work. (Interpretive, Curatorial, Observational, and Ambient Participation)

And here is the kicker:  While the general public can participate through monthly memberships and pay-per-use fees, the Project Create resources are available for free to the elderly and students in high school and below.

Many of you are wondering how am I going to start a business that gives away free resources with little (read: zero) start up capital. Even worse, how am I supposed to keep it running??? These are excellent questions, that I will address when I figure it out good answers.

Let me know what you think!

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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.

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