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Arts and entrepreneurship to be explored in interactive Business & Arts NL seminar


Chelsey Paterson wants to connect with local artists, to talk practically about their entrepreneurship and ways they can build, evaluate and communicate their ideas for the benefit of all.

She has been tapped by Business & Arts N.L. to facilitate an interactive event Monday entitled: “Creative Entrepreneurship: Exploring the intersection of art and entrepreneurship.”

The non-profit wants to raise the level of discussion around artists and the value of their work, expressed in many forms. At the same time, Paterson is interested in exploring business approaches to endeavours in the Arts and artist financial sustainability.

“We’re trying to analyze that complex relationship between consumers and art for art’s sake,” she said, speaking with The Telegram Friday.

“In traditional business we say who’s your marketplace? How are you going to create something that will suit that marketplace and appeal to that marketplace? But in Art we do the opposite. So we create and the market then, or the consumer will find the Art.”

The workshop will look at ways to have art for art’s sake while still engaging audiences, the public, potential customers.

The root value of a business or project is not always a question of profit potential, she noted. Paterson said artistic endeavours in particular can hold an artistic value, social value, contributing beyond any bottom line. But that thinking extends beyond business in the traditional Arts.

“I think people are creating small business, across the board, for bigger reasons than just there’s an opportunity to make money,” she said, noting as an example a small restaurant in rural Newfoundland and Labrador not being positioned for the most direct profit, for maximum traffic, but may add other value, including by meeting the desires of the community.

Considering the practical, while also looking beyond traditional thinking, understanding how an endeavour can strike a chord.

Paterson was thrown into an intersection of traditional retail business and the Arts when she opened Model Citizens in St. John’s at age 23, stocking local craft alongside select fashions. She sold the business in 2015. She is currently Business Consultant and Program Lead for the YMCA, working with aspiring entrepreneurs and is entering the University of Fredericton’s executive MBA program, with a specialization in social enterprise.

The coming workshop is actually one in a series being offered by Business and Arts Newfoundland and Labrador. For more information: businessandartsnl.com/seminars

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