Artist’s Statement: Creating a Mission
Last week we kicked off our month long focus on creating an Artist’s Statement. As mentioned, I take the unique approach of thinking of this as any arts organization would with a focus on your Mission, Values and Vision rather than just a general description of your work. Here’s how to go about creating a mission:
A mission statement lays out clearly and concisely what you’re looking to accomplish with your creative business.
It gives you and your target audience a starting place to clearly understand your brand and allows for you to immediately identify your unique value, separating you from your competition.
It is typically between one to three sentences and is meant to capture the essence of your purpose. It also should have an actionable component working towards your tangible objective.
As a starting place, listing out words, general ideas and goals could be a great way to begin to break down your eventual mission. Free-associate based on what your art is, what you think your art may have the power to accomplish whether based in a point of view of the current world or just the power of storytelling and all of what is unique to YOU and YOUR talent.
From there take a look at similarities, action words and themes that resonate. While this isn’t meant to be a direct marketing tool per se, there’s nothing wrong with action and bold ideas as part of your mission.
Finally, if you’re a comic or a poet, your mission and overall Artist’s Statement can include style that is representative of you and your total brand.
Take some time to craft and draft using all your free associated thoughts. It might take some time and that’s a-ok. Your continued efforts on the rest of your work will inform your statement overall.
For what it’s worth, my favorite example of a mission statement came from a workshop with the previous executive director of the Kennedy Center, Michael Kaisner, who suggested that as far as he can see it, every arts organization could have a pretty solid go with the following mission statement:
“Good art, well marketed.”
While I don’t think that’s the best example for individual creatives who probably need to find even more specificity, I’ve always loved the simple idea of making kickass work and making sure everyone knew about it. Your mission with a bit more individual focus could be just as succinct and actionable.
Before even getting to an Artist’s Statement, one of the first questions I ask our creatives is what purpose they’re serving with their art. It’s a hard one to answer but I think it’s important to identify for all the reasons above and to help keep you motivated in times of adversity which can be often…
Next week we’ll dig into one of my favorite pieces of the building of an Artist’s Statement: what you value as part of your business as a creative entrepreneur.