In a month or so, the room with the large windows in front of the Student Success Building will be open for business.
The business of creativity.
The Metro State Creates showroom in the Student Success Building is part of a business “incubator” program by the Center for Innovation to help artisans of all types develop an entrepreneurial sense to go along with their creative sense.
“If you are a creative entrepreneur you spend so much time learning your craft that you may not get the business training you need to succeed,” says Mick Jackowski, director of the Center for Innovation. “Many times artists look at their art and say, ‘well, I have to do this business stuff.’ The idea behind Metro State Creates is their entire business becomes their work of art.”
In early July, a call for entries went out for a show that will run from late August through the first of the year in the center’s showroom. The idea is to attract a wide range of talent, such as clothing designers, architects, videographers, painters, sculptors and others, says Center Manager Cindy Busch.
But there’s much more to the program than a place for creative types to display their work. For a fee of $49 a month and a commitment to stick with the program for at least four months, participants will also have access to an e-commerce site to sell their merchandise, and most important, mentoring on how to run and grow a business. Toward that end, the program has partnered with SCORE Denver—the Service Corps of Retired Executives—and is putting together a pool of other professionals willing to work as mentors.
Busch also hopes that participants will be able to tap the resources of MSU Denver’s soon-to-open Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis (CAVEA). CAVEA will provide a range of services such as geomapping, which can supply a creative entrepreneur key information to pinpoint the best place to set up a gallery, for instance.
The Metro State Creates program is open to any Coloradan working in the creative industries who has established a business and has a website. The artist applies through CAFÉ (CallForEntry.org) and a University committee will decide whether to display his or her work.
The showroom, which will contain samples and original pieces of art, will be open to the public; the hours of operation haven’t been established yet. Computers will be available to make online purchases, though the customer may have to wait to get his or her merchandise.
“The order would go to the artist and it would be up to the artist to send that product to the individual,” Busch said. “If it’s in the showroom itself, we’re not going to remove the art off the wall until that show is over or until we can get another piece of art in to replace it.”
The program is seeking participants through word-of-mouth and emails sent out by organizations such Arts and Venues Denver and Colorado Creative Industries, a state agency.
The idea is support the creative economy in the state. A 2008 report commissioned by Colorado Creative Industries concluded that Colorado ranks 5th among the states in the concentration of creative occupations, including architects, artists, writers, designers, directors, performers and photographers, and that many creative occupations are expected to grow 30-45 percent over the next 10 years.
“We are trying to make it a total package,” says Jackowski of the Metro State Creates initiative. The idea is “don’t be afraid of business, embrace it.”
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