The Rise of an Artist - One Step at a time
Since Rachel Piering’s arrival in Fort Lauderdale two years ago, she has been tentatively dipping her toes into the Broward County art world while working in event management with Food for the Poor. Among other things that Piering brought with her from northern Florida were a Masters degree in business administration from Stetson University in DeLand and five year’s work experience in business capacities in galleries and public relations ventures in Orlando. She also brought a developing passion for the medium of acrylic.
In June 2007, she found the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI) while surfing the web; and as with many AEI graduates, there immediately seemed to be a turning point for Piering. Whether the program comes to the student as a result of an internal shift; or the shift comes as a result of the program might be an interesting philosophical discussion. Two things seem to happen simultaneously for many of these artist entrepreneurs – they graduate from the Institute, and the story of the staircase rise begins.
From one stair to the next through the AEI program – first step - the network of like-minded individuals and industry colleagues is developed; step two - ideas take concrete form; step three - the fear dissolves and step four - a business initiative with an artistic slant is generated. Sooner rather than later, these novel artists are applying for grants - step five; curating solo exhibitions – step six; and expanding their geographical portfolios to national and international spheres - steps seven and eight! An artist is born. The AEI administrators have seen this time and time again, and frequently invite alumni back on the final weekend of the course to share, encourage and inspire.
“The AEI course is a well-organized and deeply-detailed expanse of information,” says Piering of her experience with the program. “Being in the same room for four weekends with new and existing artists and gallery owners generates a powerhouse of energy—creation happens,” she says. Through the nurturing support of the Broward Cultural Division, Piering says she was able to garner a Mini- Grant, which supported her solo exhibit, Visual Heart at Uncommon Gallery in March 2009. Prior to this ‘sophisticated showing,’ she exhibited her work at restaurants, group exhibits and art festivals.
After the solo exhibit, she was able to accomplish another milestone - to exhibit at the 18th annual Chicago Tribune Art Festival. Taking her exposure nationally was a dream she had nurtured for a long time.
Now this month, she will show in Honduras, Central America.
Some may think that artists should quit their day job to become a successful creative. Others might say, not so. If your day job supplements your artistry with ideas and fuel that nurture diversity, or as in Piering’s case, a lead for this Central American exhibition, then it might be something to keep around, and not just for the salary.
CEPUDO, a not-for-profit organization in Honduras that partners with Food for the Poor, has agreed to host Piering’s solo exhibit at Banco del Pias, in San Pedro Sula in September. Forty percent of the proceeds will benefit CEPUDO, a microenterprise agency comprised of 10 chapters throughout Honduras. Over the course of 10 years, CEPUDO has taught more than 15,000 people the empowering arts of upholstery, baking, sewing, and piñata-making. Piering will show more than 30 works for this exhibit, several of which she created just for the show.
The show will exhibit all three of her art series. The Art for Life series expresses reflections of living, learning and loving and Love to Live. Live to Learn. Learn to Love. - Piering’s tagline. Her Lady series embraces femininity and incorporates women as a representation of beauty. And the Enviro-Art series is an appreciation of our planet Earth. “Her principle features of simplistic forms and figures are created by contrasting bold and oftentimes metaphoric colors,” says Piering. Modern art in style, Piering’s inspiration, is “derived from Picasso and abstract sculptor Brancusi's depictions of strength through simplification.”
Also commissioned to curate the second “Doing Business As…Artist as Entreprenuers” group exhibit slated for January and February 2010, Piering will include work from 10 AEI graduates. This exhibit takes place at gallery six at the Broward County Main Library and will move on the road later in 2010.
For Piering, “although art can serve as an escape,” she says, “artistic expression is embraced as an endeavor to share my thoughts, and potentially provoke reflections of encouragement and optimism.” Rising through a dream, one stair at a time can surely be one way of inspiring, encouraging and remaining optimistic…as well as sharing and giving hope to those who witness success.
Visit Rachel Piering’s website at rachelpiering.com; and visit the Broward Cultural Division website at www.broward.org/arts for further information on upcoming Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute workshops.
You are more than welcome to include Food For The Poor’s website www.foodforthepoor.org