Michelle Ripari Art the business…

12 August 2017

I can’t believe it is almost exactly one year since my last blog post. This year has turned my aspirations as an artist upside-down. I first began my career path as a special education teacher and through circumstance found myself facing a completely different direction, but through art I have now turned full circle and returned to teaching.

At the beginning of the year my goal was to strive towards the contemporary art side, to strive towards gallery representation and one day hold a solo exhibition of my work. I understood I would have to increase my body of work immensely and incorporate my work into a similar theme. I love gum trees and bark, so maybe I had a theme to focus on already! Although as I primarily use colour pencil which is a very slow medium, producing a huge body of work was a very daunting process. To be represented by a gallery would be wonderful, but currently it is now not my priority. I’ll explain why.

I’ve started facilitating classes and workshops this year and as I’ve adjusted the process of delivering the material and process along the way, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed it more and more. Especially as participants have provided positive, encouraging and valuable feedback and testimonials. My class size has started to grow which is a great feeling, and as I’m enjoying myself and know that participants are as well, it gives me the confidence to continue.

It appears that the reward for fostering creativity and a positive attitude for creating a fine artwork is highly addictive, and the reason I’ve somehow turned full circle and returned to teaching, the career to which I was trained. Although the type of teaching is quite different of course.

To date, I’ve facilitated numerous classes and workshops for children, teens and adults, including primary school incursions. I’ve also facilitated a workshop at the Stockland Point Cook shopping centre.

My own art has suffered quite a bit unfortunately. My time and energy has shifted into facilitation instead, to provide the best my skill and expertise provides. Once I complete a couple of commissions I currently have on the go, I will start on my own drawing projects with a theme I have in mind. I have considered creating another domain and website which will be exclusively for my artwork and cv, which is more presentable to the contemporary audience, and separates myself as an artist from the art instructor side. But perhaps this is not necessary. Not sure?

To move myself into the next stage and officially start ‘Michelle Ripari Art’ as a business, rather than continually being classed as a hobby by others, I’m currently attending a business course. Enteprising Wyndham Vale is a business start-up program to empower local entrepreneurs and is sponsored by the Centre of Multicultural Youth, the Scanlon Foundation and the Wyndham City Council. It’s a fantastic program where I’m not only learning invaluable tools for starting and running a business, but I’ve also met some inspirational new friends starting or growing their own business venture.

So, what is my business plan you ask.

Since I’ve been running the classes and workshops and seen the confidence of participants grow and knowing that creating art is proven to reduce stress, I’ve thought more and more about the community, with anxiety and pressure being the norm in our daily lives. I understand how creating art is a proven therapy for stress, and would it also be possible to provide and facilitate fine art workshops for businesses, corporations and organisations.

I understand at the beginning of my ongoing research, that art workshops are already readily available for the corporate sector. But the difference my service can offer is step by step fine art workshops facilitated by an award winning and internationally published fine artist, with expertise in my medium.

Participants would have the opportunity to create an artwork separately and then collaborate to produce a larger artwork for the workplace, or created individually to keep. There would also be the opportunity for participants to attend follow-up classes or workshops to develop their skills further.

To share my business plans and pitch with the world is a bit scary, and self-doubt certainly creeps in. Will the service I want to provide be a viable business? How will I share it and get the right audience to notice and want it?

I’ve started networking with other businesses in the Wyndham area, have attended various meetings to introduce myself to others and literally thrown myself out of the ‘art’ circle I’m part of. This way I have been able to meet other business owners who run a wide variety of successful businesses. There is so much I have learnt and can learn from networking. I recently joined BizBuddyHub which provides business owners with a smart set of tools to showcase their business, connect and collaborate with the local business community.

I’m now at the stage when I am ready to facilitate the workshops I know I can provide to businesses, but struggling a little with knowing how to get my target audience to see and need my business. Perhaps those who read this will have some tips in how I can do this. I’ve done so much research and in many ways in can be overwhelming and sometimes contradictory. Do I email everyone I know with an ‘business introductory letter’ and ask them to share? Do I create flyers and drop them personally to as many businesses possible? I don’t know, so yes, any suggestions would be welcome. Maybe you know someone whose business would like the fine art workshop I offer. Or even better, it could well be your business! Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

I will keep working at it, putting myself out there and keep introducing myself to the business world. It’s lots of fun and the information I have learned is invaluable. I’ve found most people to be incredibly supportive. I’ve even made some amazing and inspirational friends along the way.

Do me a small favour and please help me spread the word if the opportunity arises. I know that word of mouth has been the most successful way for my classes and workshops to grow, and that myself as an artist and art instructor has developed a reputation. Hopefully a good one!

Inspiring others to love and enjoy art has been my greatest reward, to personally see the ignited confidence from participants and positive “I can do this!” attitude. And now to take another step and give businesses the opportunity to escape the reality of stress and expectation, to enjoy art, have fun and relax, to develop confidence by experimenting with no fear of failure, cultivate individuality and most of all to reward a team and increase the team connection.

For more information follow the link – Corporate Art Workshops

Looking forward to the challenge! Thank you for being part of my journey. Xx