I'm really looking forward to this class. This is something that is near and dear to my heart as an artist, and as somebody who's, you know, has a whole network of friends who are all also artists and creatives. I actually have an unusual background in that I kind of came up in the agency world. I studied graphic design, even though it was one of those things where I really wanted to be a painter but my parents told me to be a graphic designer. And I'm really glad they did, because that, my early life in agencies, and having to sell stuff, has really served me well in the second half of my life, where I'm, you know, getting to live the dream of being an artist. So this course is really to help other people, like me and my friends, sell your ideas, to get them funded, to get sponsors and so on. What this class isn't is like a really heavy entrepreneurship class, this is not about, like, writing a really formal business plan, it's not about, like, going on Shark Tank and getting a millio...
n dollars. I can't help you with that. But what I want to do is, for example, The Black Cat Alley, which Kenna mentioned. I'll tell you a little bit about that as a case study. That is a community art project, and in order to get that off the ground, we needed to find sponsors. So I'd like to also help you find sponsors and find support in what you're doing. So if it seems like I'm being kind of general in some of the advice I give, that's because I don't know what your idea is, and I want to give advice that would apply to a lot of different people. So you may have to pick and choose a little bit in some of the advice I'm giving, if that applies to your idea, or ideas, or concept, however you want to think of it. What are some examples? You know, maybe you also have a community art project you'd like to get off the ground. You don't know how to approach, you know, government organizations or grants. Maybe you have a children's book idea, or a children's story idea, I should say, and you don't even know if you want it to be a book, or an animated series, or what. You don't know how you would begin to even pitch that sort of a thing. So that's kind of where my idea for this class comes from. You have the beginnings of an idea, maybe you've already bounced it off of some people, and now you're going to need to forward it out there to the world. So what we're gonna do is, we're going to define the who, the what, the where, and the why, so that you can start to make your plan actionable. So I want to tell you a little bit about The Black Cat Alley, and I'm calling this my idea. You know, I'm over 40, I've had a lot of ideas. This isn't the only idea, I promise. But this is kind of the one that gave me sort of an honorary master's degree in this topic, because I really had to learn fast. We didn't know how to do this, my friends and I, we knew that we wanted to take this alley that had good bones, it was beautiful but it was filled with crime and garbage, and you know, it had a homeless encampment in there, and it was really kind of a blighted area in what was otherwise a really awesome neighborhood, where the Graduate School is, um, Graduate School for the Arts, for the WU M. Peck School of the Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So, we would see students cutting through this alley, and we're like, Please don't do that, and we'd already had one student attacked. And I had been to other cities, and I am a street artist. I had been to other cities where I would see these gorgeous murals and beautiful, like, engaging environments where there were lots of murals in one place, and it had really engaged that community or revitalized it in an economic way. The more I looked at it, the more I understood what these...that these street art corridors weren't just aesthetic, you know, they really were making, like, positive change in their communities. So that's what we saw when we saw this alley. It was the opportunity to create something that had kind of a...of a mass of space that we could...not decorate, but engage people, and improve. So how can you take something and make, you know, this thing that was a liability into an arts destination. So, you know, you kind of have to know why your idea is good. So this was something where I could imagine, I was already imagining, like, what it would do for the artists. When I see pictures like this and remember how happy we all were during installation week of the first year, where it really, truly, went from being, like, full of weeds and garbage, to being this beautiful thing that was coming to life. That is what I had been imagining, and having that vision in mind is what's gonna get you through this. And when I mentioned before that I used to be in agency life, I used to be in creative director, I found myself using those business skills when I was slogging through the first two years of trying to make this real. You know, this didn't happen quickly. When we started doing it in 2014, you know, we thought we were going to actually have the alley in 2014. No. (laughs) We could not have been more wrong. You know, and then we thought, okay, fine, fine, fine, we'll do it next year, and then 2015 it was still seeking sponsors. So it's very hard to have that stamina, and I bring this up because we will be talking about that in this class. Just...sometimes it's not about the quality of your idea, it's about your own energy and stamina. We're gonna talk about classic sales tips and tricks, which I'll be trying to share with you a little bit, because we are going to have to learn from business people, creatives, which is, like, what I'm trying to help you with, trying to be a bridge between the way we usually think as creatives, and like, how do business people think. And I want to try and give you some of that. But more than anything, I want to encourage you throughout this, if you don't take anything else from this class, is, no matter how much you're learning to rely on these new-found business skills and sales skills, I want to encourage you to be true to your idea, and to be genuine in your demeanor. I want you to successfully launch your idea without losing, you know, your magic.