Performer Erin McGrane shared methods of making a living as an artist with a group of artists at a special meeting at the Filley Art Museum.

Making a living as a full time artist can be a challenge. Someone facing the transition from a full time job and a steady income to an artist may find it a big challenge and a bit scary.

For Erin McGrane, who made the change, she has learned much that is required to make the transition and be successful. McGrane recently shared her insights in Pratt with a group of area artists from various fields including painting, writing and photography. Meeting at the Filley Art Museum, McGrane laid out some necessary steps to become a full time artist or at least how to develop the necessary income to make it happen.

"There is not enough time to do everything you want," McGrane said.

And that is exactly why she wants to help artists fulfill their dreams before they get to a point where they can't be successful.

McGrane knows about taking on whatever jobs were necessary to pay the bills and be an artist. She has been a baby sitter, painted houses, did landscaping, wrote articles for art magazines to make ends meet. She knew how to pay the bills but she didn't know how to make a living as an actor.

In 2010 she went to Artists Inc. to learn the business side of it and how to make it more attainable. She is now a peer facilitator to help others learn the same.

Some of the challenges seem overwhelming. McGrane said that 10,000 new books or novellas are posted on Amazon every day. How a writer gets noticed in all that seems difficult if not impossible.

But there are things that the artist, no matter what area, can do to be successful. Artists need to support each other. They need to develop peer networks and get known by someone other than their spouse or close friends, McGrane said.

Artists have to learn about marketing, taxes, business structure and how to talk about themselves. The Artist Inc. program has eight weeks of sessions to do just that. It takes dedication, but for someone who is serious, it can change their life.

McGrane offered several bits of wisdom to artists at the Pratt meeting to help them on their on path.

There is no one path to success and each person has to find their own way. To do that, the artist has to know where they are going, they have to have a destination, McGrane said.

Many are not taught goal setting but people have to determine what they really want to do with the rest of their lives. People need to put down on paper the goals and the things that they love to help find how to get there. The person needs to set goals and not limit themselves.

A key to success for an artist is to get rid of debt and not subsidize themselves. Artists can have a tough time getting a loan but getting free of debt is essential. It's a good idea to have a separate account for just the art.

Having several streams of revenue is also a critical part of being successful. If there is just one stream and it stops, everything stops with it. There are lots of way to market on the Internet so use several to assure a stream of revenue.

There is much an artist can and must do to be successful:

• Tell everyone what you are doing. Have a speech ready to give at any time.

• Ask for help to get what you need.

• Apply for grants. The number one reason people don't get grants is that they never apply.

• Be prepared to show your work.

• Be a good egg. Go see other people's work.

• Details matter especially when presenting yourself and your work.

• Don't worry about the people that don't like you.

• Do your research.

• Develop peer networks.

• Doing nothing doesn't work.

For more information, visit www.victorandpenny.com.

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