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« Money: 9 Inexpensive Ways to Expand Your Art Income | Main | Balance: What Makes You Happy? »

Money: Four Ways to for Artists to Get Multiple Streams of Income: Grants, Jobs, and Diversity Offers and Actions

Estimated Reading time: About 2 minutes

If it's not the weather, it's the economic climate that irks people.

Both the weather and the economic climate fluctuate.
Both the weather and the economic climate require protective clothing or shelter.
Both the weather and the economic climate may put you on a slippery slope.

Neither one is the main reason that your art business goes up and down.
Both are in the background of everything you do and you cannot control either one.
Don’t confuse them with the foreground where you are in charge.

A downpour or a downturn isn’t a signal to hit the brakes on your art business. You might skid right off your path. If you slow down, you may get blind-sided or take longer to build up momentum again.

Better to learn from what’s behind and keep a clear focus on what you can see ahead.  Then accelerate at a steady pace through upcoming curves and you’ll be in a good position for the next upswing.

© 2014 Aletta de Wal Keep your eyes on the road ahead.

Four Ways for Artists to Get Multiple Streams of Income: Grants, Jobs and Diversity

If you are not generating enough income from your art to be self-supporting right now, you have at least four choices:

1.  Get a Grant.

2.  Get a part-time or full-time job outside your studio.

3.  Get new customers by diversifying what you offer.

4.  Get new opportunities by diversifying what you do.


Let’s look at each one in more detail.

1.  Get a Grant

A search for "individual artist grants" gets 883,000 results in less than a minute.

You do have find out if you qualify and that will take more than a minute. It’s worth investing your time for the possibility of money at the end.

Before you do that research, take three minutes to read my depth interview with author Gigi Rosenberg about what artists need to know before they apply for grants.

And you can read these two articles in less than a minute:

A Grant in the Hand is Worth Two Paintings on the Easel

Searching For Your Perfect Match

2.  Get a Job Outside Your Studio

Before you moan about getting a job outside your studio, I am certainly not telling you to dump your art career. I consider being an artist to be a real job.

And, though there has been significant job growth in the past year, you’ll still have to compete.

A search for ‘jobs in the arts’ gets 761,000,000 results in less than a minute.

If you have to get another job besides being an artist, you may as well explore the arts. The obvious choice is galleries and art stores, but don’t limit your options by staying too close to your creative home.

You probably pay money to see dancers, buy music, and go to the theater.

In turn, the people you meet in these other art forms buy visual art - especially from someone who invests in them. Imagine if you get a job in one of these other arts, how much more trust and interest you can generate in your visual art. (And you might even be inspired to create new forms of visual art as a result of the new experiences you’ll have.)

3.  Get New Customers by Diversifying What You Offer

If you invest in the stock market, you probably know that a diversified portfolio is the safest. The same goes for investing in your art business.

If you have all your eggs in one basket, and that goes down, you have nothing else to fill the gap.

I’m a big advocate of artists having multiple streams of income for three reasons:

  • Reason #1. You have alternate ways to make money when one source of income diminishes.
  • Reason #2. You expand your audience because you have different options for people with different art choices and different budgets.
  • Reason #3. You expand your creative footprint when you diversify what you have to offer.

Here are seven ways you could create those multiple streams:

  • Offer reproductions as well as originals, e.g. giclées, posters, art cards
  • License your art
  • Offer different art display options, e.g. matted and/or framed for two-dimensional art, with or without pedestal for sculptures.
  • Offer installations services, e.g. hanging and lighting
  •   Publish a book of your art
  •   Teach art classes in your studio
  •   Create online art instruction

4.  Get New Opportunities by Diversifying What You Do

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

As you can see from my searches in this article, there is a wealth of ways to create more wealth. You could get lost in reviewing all of the options available for you to generate more income.

No worries, one of my colleagues does most of the heavy lifting for you. Benny Shaboy understands artists. He has worked as an editor, researcher, writer, teacher, carpenter, draft and military counselor, cartoonist, fashion jewelry designer and craftsman, and at many other paid and unpaid jobs, and is an exhibiting artist under another name.

Get your share of the over $8.1 million from Benny's Art Opportunities list, published monthly for artists and photographers.

Choose from art contests, grants, juried art competitions, fellowships, residencies, public art commissions, art awards, scholarships, teaching assistantships, calls for art, art deadlines, scholarships, art shows, photography contests, RFPs, RFQs, sculpture commissions, percent-for-art, slide registries, university art galleries, non-profit art galleries, or other artist opportunities and venues normally outside the commercial gallery system.

You can get a sample copy at: 
Art Opportunities Monthly is the only service that double checks each art opportunity to make sure it is real and worthwhile. This is especially important because many of the so-called competitions, contests and other calls for artists are scams that will take your money (and sometimes your art) and do nothing for you. Many opportunities are well meaning but just a drain on your time and budget. Art Opportunities Monthly doesn't list those.

(I know – this is a lot to plough through. If you’d like a little guidance to make the most of your time, money and energy this year, let’s have a conversation. No obligation. Just 15 minutes of good common sense and suggestions about what to do next.

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