Winter 2009 | Volume XXII, Number 1
Drives LeeAnna Yater
By Samantha Rojas
In November 2008, artist LeeAnna Yater became a two-time graduate of the Broward Cultural Division’s Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI). At the same time, she says, it was “the first time in 10 years I sensed a real momentum in the art world of South Florida.” Things like these…usually happen concurrently.
Yater calls it ”a click,“ when describing her experience with the second time around at the five-week seminar this past fall. “A meeting of minds and passions, and the desire to move forward; this time we are actually doing it!” she says. Between theInstitute’s goal of changing the perspective of creatively talented individuals away from that of ”starving artist,“ into that of ”business leader“ and the South Florida Artist Entrepreneurs MeetUp group (an online forum for like-minded individuals formed by another AEI graduate, Onajide Shabake), “the acceleration has been huge and tangible,” says Yater. Something is abuzz in Broward County, and in a time of economic downturn, anything abuzz is worthy of notice.
In 1996, when she returned from North Carolina, Yater began teaching at FAU and developed an after-school art program for the North Broward YMCA. Going into her 11th year teaching art at Broward Community College, she is passionate about arts education. She traveled extensively throughout Europe; while designing the graphics for two hot air balloons; held an exhibition at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the Lee Wagener Art Gallery; participated in the Allied Artist Program with the Broward Cultural Division’s Public Art Program; designed, fabricated and installed a hand-made ceramic mural along with students at Broward Community College; held a solo exhibit at Uncommon Galleryin 2007, along with many other adjunct faculty exhibits at Broward Community College. Although she kept herself productive for 10 years, she still feels that nothing has compared to these last two years of acceleration.
TheInstitute, she says, has given her the confidence and the technical ability to make art into a cohesive business. She got an accountant and opened a business account. It is a shift in thinking. With her first graduation from the AEI in 2007, she came away with a mini-grant application that translated into a $2,000 grant, with which she facilitated a solo exhibit at the Uncommon Gallery.
Now, with this second graduation, she has come away with The Palettes.
The Palettes are three AEI graduates - Virginia Fifield, Jacklyn Laflamme and Yater - who have become firm business associates and action-oriented friends. They meet three times a week, speak on the phone every day, attend gallery openings together, inspire and support each other and, now, have started Doing Business As. They are poised to make things happen, beginning with a first exhibit of works by 10 AEI alumni at gallery six in the Broward County Main Library in January.
The individuals participating in Doing Business As represent a diverse group of professional award-winning artists in photography, painting, sculpture and fiber/mixed media. The exhibition affords these highly talented artists the opportunity to utilize the business skills and information gained from the AEI program to springboard further into their careers.
The exhibit will open at gallery six with a reception on January 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. A special closing forum will be held on Saturday, February 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. and will include question and answer sessions as well as discussions with the artists and AEI instructors. The exhibiting artists include Rod Appleton, Susan Clifton, Katie Deits, Gerald Delaney, Virginia Fifield, Michele Guarino, Kevin Kichar, Jacklyn Laflamme, Steven Sylvester and LeeAnna Yater. All of the events are free and open to the public.
Time and time again, the message arising from the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute is about the alumni. They are taking action, coming back to attend other workshops, sharing, inspiring and networking. They are creating a powerful force born through confidence, a business plan and an environment where all these things are suddenly possible.