MINTY: ‘Work of Art’ event in Newton means business for artists

Also: 'Canada 150 Art by Surrey Students' show at Surrey Art Gallery

Crowd views student artwork on screens at Surrey Art Gallery

SURREY — The Arts Council of Surrey works constantly to promote the arts in Surrey. Well, that is a given. But it still amazes me how many people have not used the services provided by the arts council. Making a living as an artist or performer is more than challenging. Sometimes it seems impossible, so most of us turn to community theatre and arts clubs to participate in our favoured form of artistic expression. It’s a hobby. But do you want more?

The arts council is hosting “The Work of Art Conference” on Saturday, March 11 from 9 am to 4:30 p.m. at the organization’s headquarters, Newton Cultural Centre, 13530 72nd Ave. This workshop, a full-day seminar on the business of art, includes lunch, costs $25 and you need to pre-register by Wednesday, March 8. Phone 604-594-2700 or email

I am putting this notice on a red-flagged flash alert. Do not miss this workshop. It could change your direction as an artist, or at least get you started in a different direction. Not all the workshops included in this conference will target your specific needs, but all have valid and needful information.

Six workshops are included as part of the day: Wendy Mould (“Building a Strong Online Profile”), Mary Ann Anderson “Best in Show: Writing the Perfect Grant”),  Sylvia Taylor (“Navigating the Publishing World”), Eve Lees (“Using the news media as a promotional tool”), Tom Taylor (“Business Plan Development”) and Pat Higginbotham (“The Artist’s Why?”). Of course, in seven hours you are not going to get an in-depth analysis, but it is an essential first step in starting your business as an artist.

I’ve often visited Mould’s website, and her blog is amazing. She is a teacher, presenter and blogger, and covers aspects of painting, drawing and marketing for artists. In this age of technology, you need to know how to use the web.

Anderson is an arts administrator and is the founder of Little Dog Creative Consulting, providing consulting service in the areas of arts management, organizational planning, capacity building and public fundraising.

Taylor, a freelance writer, editor, educator, and consultant, has edit-coached more than 120 manuscripts. Her second book for Heritage House Publishing, “Beckoned by the Sea,” will be released in May.

Lees was a newspaper editor, from 1979 to 1985, while pursuing other interests, including portrait painting. Today, she is a health columnist for six publications, is a nutrition coach, dabbles as a graphic designer and in 1997 created “The Artist’s Journal,” a B.C.-wide, calls-for-entry publication.

Taylor has been involved in business for the last 50 years at all levels, and now specializes in “bringing objectivity to your business.” He is currently on the board of directors for Surrey Little Theatre, among other community endeavors.

Higginbotham has worked in community television, commercial printing and magazine publishing, and built a successful editorial and corporate photography business in Vancouver. Having an artist mother and executive father, the dynamic tension between the arts and business has been a constant in her life, and she enjoys the interplay.

Now, how can you resist attending this conference? The conference is open to anyone, so get that registration in now. It won’t solve all your problems, but certainly will inspire you. The Arts Council of Surrey is doing this for you. Take advantage of the opportunity.

We are lucky to be living where we do, where different cultures and cultural heritages are safe to clash or blend to make an interesting tapestry. Since 1983, Surrey Art Gallery annually hosts an exhibition showcasing the creativity of students participating in the Surrey school district’s art education programs, and the value of art education in the B.C. school curriculum. These exhibitions are developed through ongoing partnerships with the school district and its art teachers.

The new art show, called “Canada 150 Art by Surrey Students” and on view until April 16, showcases the breadth of voices and talents that comprise the next generation of youth in one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. Paintings, drawings, photographs, films and mixed-media artworks, realized by students at every year of the educational system, express a wealth of responses to the big ideas of truth and reconciliation, the voices of youth and environmental stewardship. Wow, that’s a big order. We have to be open to this new generation and their ideas. The only walls needed are inside the gallery where we can hang works of art that tell a story.


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