In today’s world, we operate at a frenetic pace, and it is easy to forget that the working artist is really, in every respect, a small but complex business operation. To complicate things even further, it is clear that we are now living through the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes and, perhaps, of the last 100 years. In the midst of this chaos, it is
easy to focus attention on the major money centers, the Wall Street investment banks, and ratings agencies. Credit default swaps and the “VIX”—terms unknown to the vast majority of Americans only a few months ago—are now household words. The faces of Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson are nearly as well known in America today as those
of George Bush and Barack Obama.
So what does all of this have to do with art? Well, first, of course, is the obvious problem that arts and other nonprofit organizations are suffering from dwindling endowments and declining donations. As if the economic crisis and 40-odd percent drop in the stock market indices weren’t enough, Bernard Madoff has managed to rub salt into the already open wounds. At the end of all of these stories, of course, are people—individual human beings affected by all of the turmoil around us.
So while the ISC as an organization is anxious about how the economic climate will affect our fundraising (and fortunately we have been untouched by the Madoff scandal), it remains critical that we help our professional sculptor members as they grapple not only with their art, but also with the business of their art. We try to do this in many ways during the year, and we are always expanding our services to artist and non-artist members alike.
Inside each magazine, ISC members find Insider, a listing of opportunities and resources for artists. On-line, members benefit from the Opportunities section of our Web site, which covers a wide array of current opportunities for artists (many not included in the print edition). Our on-line Resources section will soon be greatly expanded. And our annual conference programming is always designed to provide attendees with useful information and to further their education about the art world.
One of our latest efforts has been the roll-out of our popular monthly e-mail newsletter. In recent months, the newsletter has pointed our members to on-line-only content to help them become better business people. Recent posts have included: “Studio Assistants: Hiring and Getting Hired,” by Daniel Grant; “Estate Planning for the Visual Artist: To Preserve a Legacy,” by Barbara Hoffman; and “Funding Professional Practice,” by Robert Preece.
In normal times, as well as during periods of economic stress like the one we are currently experiencing, we hope that you will find the ISC to be a useful resource in your quest to learn about art, the art market, and what it means to be a small business—too often referred to simplistically as a “working artist.”
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors