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Passion and Problem-Solving: Artists as Entrepreneurs
The RISD Career Center held its first-ever Entrepreneur Mindshare on Saturday, November 12.
“Making art is a lot like quitting smoking,” said RISD
Premo 95 IL. “You have to do it
and no one really cares if you do it. No one’s going to do it for you. So, you
have to figure out a way how.”
|John Jacobsen, Director of Engineering, Quirky
Figuring out how to forge a creative career
path was the focus of the RISD Career
Center’s first-ever Entrepreneur Mindshare,
held on Saturday, November 12. The all-day event was designed to get RISD
students and alumni energized about creative entrepreneurship and help them
start thinking about what form their own path might take. Billed as part TED conference
and part boot camp, speakers ranged from the pragmatic to the inspirational,
and included RISD faculty and alumni in fine arts, design and architecture; Rhode
Island entrepreneurship and small business agencies; and a range of other
organizations such as Quirky and Etsy whose mission is to help artists and
designers turn their ideas into successful businesses.
Though art and business may at first seem
like uneasy bedfellows, it’s precisely this juxtaposition that makes them such
a good fit. “Making art has all the trademarks of entrepreneurship,” noted
Premo. “It requires tireless work, a clear vision, a devotion to execution and
an intensity of purpose.”
Many speakers throughout the day echoed the
sentiment that successful businesses are born out of a strong vision and a
passion to change the world – ideas that feel right at home at RISD.
Vanessa Bertozzi, Director of Community & Education, Etsy
Maxwell 06 PR and Andrea Starr
BArch 06 of Providence’s Fertile
Underground spoke about the passion for urban gardening that led them to
launch a Kickstarter
project to fund a natural food store on Providence’s west side. “We wanted
to use our creativity and skills to build a community of like-minded artists
and gardeners,” said Starr. “It’s a way for the community to connect through
food in an urban setting.”
Bertozzi, Director of Community & Education at
Etsy, also emphasized the importance of community and networking, and
encouraged students to take advantage of RISD’s abundant resources. “At RISD,
you guys learn the art of critique from friends who will be honest with you.
Take that feedback, digest it and keep improving. We are all making this up as
we go along,” she said, “But we have each other.” She added, “You also have to
love it. There will be lots of all-nighters.”
Jessica Brown MID 09, founder, Let’s Just Make That
Jessica Brown MID 09, founder of DIY show Let’s Just Make That, agreed
that it’s all about networking. “Network until your socks fall off,” she advised.
She added that her experience at RISD also helped develop her critical thinking,
presentation skills and problem-solving abilities. “RISD taught me to try 10
different ways [to solve a problem],” she said, “And when those don’t work, try
Join RISD’s networks
of RISD’s ongoing commitment to entrepreneurship, the support doesn’t stop
there. Three students or alumni who took part in the day’s activities will
receive funding for their work through Etsy and Kickstarter, funded by
philanthropist Edward Merrin.
student will receive a $1,000 award toward a Kickstarter project and two students
will receive $300 each to support the development of an Etsy shop. For more
information on how to apply visit Etsy.me/RISDmindshare or contact the RISD Career Center.
if you’re a student or alum who’s already on Kickstarter or Etsy, join the
club! The Etsy RISD team page has over
850 student and alumni members, and Kickstarter has over 25 RISD projects that have
successfully raised over $140,000.
, Industrial Design
, partnerships + collaborations
, public engagement