Cultural Quarterly
Spring/Summer 2009
Volume XXII, Number 3
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Artist Entrepreneurs

Artist as Entrepreneur Institute
Attracts High-Caliber Participants

By Samantha Rojas

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Bonnie Glover

Sometimes when we are artists, we forget our good business sense.
I used it all the time, years ago; I did not think to apply it with my writing. The business models you study in school, somehow you forget  to apply them to your creative endeavors
.”

Author Bonnie J. Glover considers this statement to be the main point of the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI). Today, with a solid mission statement and a vision statement (which are not the same thing), she is reaching out to make connections and focusing on what she would like to accomplish. “You need to be able to tell people your short-term and long-term goals,” advises Glover. A graduate of the third AEI class, which took place in November and December 2008, this twice-published novelist has started to think about what she could be doing differently.

Glover is no slouch in the world of business, law and publishing, as well as the galaxies of words, mothering and personal adversity. Yet this Random House-published author - who received international recognition as a result of her nomination for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - still needed a boost in the right direction. She chose the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute to do it.

This award nomination arose from an initiative of Dublin City Council, the municipal government of Dublin City, and IMPAC, a productivity improvement company that operates in over 50 countries.  The program involves libraries from all corners of the globe and is open to books written in any language. It is the largest and most internationally diverse prize of its kind. The Middle Sister was nominated by what appears to be a library in Beirut, where someone obviously found something in common with three little ghetto girls.
This award was followed by a national NAACP Image Award nomination for her second novel, Going Down South. As the nation's premier award celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors, the nomination put Glover in the company of four other acclaimed nominees, chosen from thousands of applicants.
In the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, as Glover nestled among the glitterati of Hollywood for the award ceremony with writers, screenwriters, directors and actors, she felt inspired. “The big time,” she laughs, when describing the overwhelming sensations and interactions. “But not for me on a continual basis.”

Going Down South

Glover graduated from law school more than 14 years ago and now mediates for various federal agencies including the Postal Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs. A graduate of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s innovative business program, Glover still came away from AEI with renewed pioneering thoughts, culled from forthright interactions, expansive information and mostly “thinking outside the box” in a creative realm.
The Artist as and Entrepreneur Institute is designed to help artists operate in the marketplace successfully and covers all aspects of developing an artistic business. This national course, now in its third year in Fort Lauderdale, attracts artists, academics and community members of a high caliber who are not only already seasoned business professionals, but in some cases, nationally and internationally recognized artists.

It seems that Bonnie J. Glover has come to a point, with her success in the legal field and business field, and her recognition as an author - that this wife of 23 years and mother of two teenage boys is now facing a new call. She is looking toward a vision in community service – teen pregnancy. “When you succeed somewhat in one area, it gives you the impetus to want to do better, to make better,” says Glover, “to reach out more and fine tune your efforts into community and the children.”

Noting that minority teen pregnancy is on the rise between the ages of 15 and 19, and with her second book, Going Down South, consequently being about a teen pregnancy, Glover is not shy about the coincidence, nor is she willing to ignore it.

The Middle Sister

Brainstorming at AEI sessions with other like-minded creative individuals, Glover felt the compulsion for her next move crystallize. She is now working with two high schools in Broward County and Florida A&M’s School of Business and Industry, which she and her husband recently visited to talk about future possibilities and joint ideas.  She feels the vision starting to plant its feet.

In the high schools and university, she is forming alliances with faculty members to get out the word on her books, and also to create forums for teenagers to speak about their lives and reach out through the literary model. Working with MBA students from Florida A&M, she is thinking about doing a project with a focus on how the publishing business is changing from the traditional model into e-marketing, e-magazines, Amazon, Sony and now Barnes and Noble - big conglomerates - taking up the torch of online literary sales.  “It’s a whole new world,” she says.

In this new world, the internet is overshadowing traditional media and publishing, children are becoming parents earlier, the industrial and manufacturing age is evolving into a new creative knowledge-based era and members of communities are being challenged to give more, feel more, respond more and learn quickly about what it takes to survive and thrive. For those interested in success and creative passions, seeking a new entrepreneurial course just might be the ticket.
Bonnie Glover is the author of both The Middle Sister and Going Down South.  Both books can be purchased online or through traditional outlets.

About:
The Artist as an
Entrepreneur Institute

The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute was founded in 2003 by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE). CPAC and COSE were both interested in helping artists to build viable small businesses in the community. All of the organizations’ research showed that artists, both in Cleveland and nationally, had very little assistance in learning the business skills they needed to start, grow and maintain healthy businesses. The partners came together to create a comprehensive training program, and in 2007 Broward Cultural Division brought it to Broward County.

In addition, the Broward Cultural Division and the South Florida Regional Planning Council offer an Artist Micro Credit Program - a community-based, revolving loan program created to respond to a broad range of artists’ needs, i.e. purchasing equipment, completing a project, or taking advantage of an opportunity. Loan applicants are reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Designed to assist Broward-based practicing, professionals, and emerging artists (of all disciplines) to advance their work and careers, these loans may help with projects that are not capable of being funded from other conventional sources. On a funds-available basis, the program can provide up to a maximum of $5,000.
For more information on upcoming workshops for artists and the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute, contact James Shermer, grants administrator, Broward Cultural Division at 954-357-7502, E-mail: jshermer@broward.org.

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