By HARRY CLARKE | Advertorial
A NETWORK of leading arts and entertainment experts will for the next several weeks be conducting online workshops to help practitioners across regional Queensland capitalise on new opportunities in the post-pandemic industry.
The Regional Arts Services Network (RASN) is a network of regional arts service providers who work together, and liaise with government, to deliver on-the-ground arts services in communities across the state.
For a large part of 2021, RASN has commissioned eleven ‘Creative Business Champions’, a diverse group of arts industry professionals who’ve been mentoring artists and performers, from Toowoomba and Longreach to the Gulf and Cape York, on best business practice.
The Creative Business Champions will over the coming weeks deliver informative webinars, open to the public, which will focus on how to ensure artists’ careers and enterprises can be financially sustainable for the long term.
“Creative Business Champions has been a phenomenal program for anyone within Queensland to have access to mentors at no cost, and to help them develop themselves in whatever capacity they need support in,” said RASN state coordinator, Michelle Blair.
“Our arts champions have all got many years of experience within their part of the arts industry and are definitely seen as pillars of their area.
“The best thing about these webinars is that they’re open to everyone.
“Needless to say the arts industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and lockdowns. Arts events across the state have had to be cancelled and that meant a loss of business.
“But there are new opportunities in the post pandemic arts industry, and our Creative Business Champions will have the best advice you could ask for on how practitioners in both larger centres and remote areas can continue working for a sustainable and rewarding business.”
Among the topics to be covered in the webinars are business leadership, grant writing and fundraising, digital arts marketing, First Nations community engagement, cultural tourism product development, music business opportunities and more.
Webinars will be delivered through the official RASN website. All details about how to access the webinars and when they’ll be available can be found on the RASN Facebook page )in the news feed or by clicking the “Events” tab).
Among the eleven Creative Business Champions to be hosting webinars is Ruth Atkinson (pictured), a Toowoomba-based producer and the CEO/owner of Visual Focus, an audio-visual integration and events company.
Atkinson has extensive experience in arts management, working as an independent creative producer for RAVA Productions and as co-director of the Curious Arts Festival.
“In the webinar I’ll be focussing on leadership, business structure and business growth for arts companies, particularly for small businesses,” she said.
“Creative people have a creative brain but it doesn’t always mean that they also have a fine, developed business brain.
“Helping someone learn those skills is really important, so they can balance the creative side with how to get their work marketed, or get commissions from people to create something.
“My webinar will look at structure – whether you should be a not-for-profit or a for-profit organisation, how that works with the ATO, and what legal and accounting advice is needed to set yourself up so that you have good governance.”
Stuart Watters (pictured) is a renowned music industry professional with decades of experience not only as a musician, but as an music industry administrator in the government, private and non-profits sectors.
Currently the head of Morph Consulting, Watters has also held senior roles at leading industry bodies including QMusic and the Australian Performing Right Association (APRA).
His webinar will focus on how musicians can rethink how they do business – how they can make operational changes to become a more sustainable enterprise for the longer term.
“I’ve been mentoring people in an informal capacity for a very long time, so it’s been great to be able to sit down and work with people all over Queensland in an organised setting through RASN,” Watters said.
“One of the things that came out of the pandemic is that a lot of businesses fell through the gaps of support that were being made available by the federal and state governments in terms of subsidies and support, because of the way they were structured.
“People get involved in music from a passion perspective, and they end up working more in their business but not on their business.
“What I focus heavily on is what their commercial structure looks like and how they can make changes to how they operate as a business so that they are better placed for crises.”
The first RASN Websinar is schedule for Friday, November 19, hosted by Giuliana Bonel, Cathy de Silva and Elliott Bledsoe on the topic of arts marketing.