What It Takes for Women to Lead in the Workplace– and What This Means for Artists

by Isabel Lamont

Even in the wake of the twenty-first century, with women nearing equality more so than ever before, we still face much discrimination in our daily lives. One place where this inequity is still clearly apparent is in the workplace. In the grander scheme of the professional world, women experience a significant wage gap: on average, women only make 78 cents to the man’s dollar, though they represent 47% of the workforce. Further, in the United States, Asian women only make 87 cents to the dollar, Black women make 62 cents, Native women make 57 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents. Women also do not get exposure to career-making jobs as much as men, lack female role models in the workplace, and experience double-standards that inform how their male coworkers perceive their competence and likability. Women of color and LGBT+ women experience further biases in the workplace due to their race and sexual orientation. With so many hurdles stacked against women in their professional life, becoming leaders in their place of work may seem like an exhausting and frustrating task. And truthfully, it is an extremely difficult task that requires extensive mental and emotional energy.

However, for professional women, especially artists, becoming the leader of your own career is crucial for establishing your professional success. For the modern artist and creative, adopting an entrepreneurial mindset and taking agency over the direction of your career is what the modern art market demands. For many artists, this may be somewhat out of their comfort zone– many creatives pursue a professional path in art to avoid the pressures and cutthroat tendencies of the business world. We are constantly being divided into leaders and followers– the term “natural born leader” is one that is constantly tossed around in the professional sphere. However, this term is more often than not attributed to charismatic and extroverted men. What does it mean to be a leader for quieter, more compassionate, and more feminine personalities– especially since these traits are often attributed to women? I advise that you discard whatever notion you have of what a leader looks like, and especially the idea that leaders are born, not made.

Women possess many strong, but more subdued, skills that make them powerful leaders. One skill to note is that of self-awareness. Self-awareness is knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and has been cited as one of the most important qualities in successful leaders. It is also a skill that is found significantly more in female leaders than their male counterparts. Women are also able to adapt more to different environments, situations, and colleagues, which allows them a clear mind in making decisions. Women clearly possess the expertise and emotional intelligence to become outstanding leaders. However, finding a way to employ these skills in a male-dominated workplace is still a considerable hurdle. The key to establishing an effective leadership style as a woman involves both the self-awareness and emotional intelligence that women already tend to have.  

As women, we cannot simply imitate the leadership styles of men– the gender-based biases and double-standards prevent us from being able to do this, as we would be labelled as “too aggressive” or “too bossy,” though unfairly so. Instead, women must create their own unique and different approach to leadership. This will vary with different personalities, but each style will incorporate elements that are characteristic of typical leaders while accentuating the more feminine qualities– which are so powerful in and of themselves.

To give a better idea of what this hybrid leadership looks like for women, I will outline several examples of how leadership differs from woman to woman. One type of leadership style is the “Female Pioneer,” a term coined by Steve Tappin and Ana Marinovic. These women tend to be older and have paved the way for younger female leaders. Because of this, their leadership type is the most similar to that of the traditional male leadership style: no-nonsense and down to business. In contrast to this leadership type, there are the women who will place more emphasis on the feminine qualities in their leadership. These types of leaders will work more towards open communication, listening to all parties involved, and offering care and support to their employees. Another type of female leader is somewhere in between the previous two examples: they use their own ambition and drive to succeed, but adopt their own unique philosophies on leadership that they have developed throughout their own life. Lastly, there are women who lead through inspiration and a greater global purpose. These are the women who want to change the world for the better– they use their inspiring lives, stories, and personalities to lead the next generation.

While these are some examples of how women have created their own path in leadership, they are in no way confines to how all women should lead. The beauty, but also the challenge, in women finding their leadership style is that 

there is no template for them to go off of– we must carve out our own space in the professional world as leaders. How does this apply to artists and creatives? Since many artists need to start adopting an entrepreneurial mindset, and since both artists and entrepreneurs share many of the same qualities, they are going to also have to become leaders– leaders of their own business, leaders of creativity and innovation, and leaders of their own career. For many artists, conforming to the typical extroverted and masculine leader would be unnatural to their personality and ultimately futile. For female artists especially, developing your own distinguished type of leadership will not only make it easier to work with colleagues and clients, it will be crucial in succeeding in your career while staying true to who you are.



What Should You Add To Your Schedule?: Healthy Scheduling That Will Help You Build Your Brand And Grow As An Entrepreneur

by Danielle Dyen-Shapiro

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Stephen Covey (American Educator and Author)

Everyone has a busy schedule, but it is what you do with the time you have that matters. Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of time, and sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day to just relax. By choosing specific events to attend and planning your day accordingly, you can find new things to enjoy other than the monotonous day-to-day activities.

Choose Events To Go To For Fun

As a society, we are always running around and never give ourselves a break. The little voices in our heads say that because of all of the work that we have to do we are not allowed to have fun. While that may be true, if you are continuously working, and there isn’t a time for fun or a break, the quality of your work will suffer.

Go out and attend a yoga class, go out with friends, visit a museum or gallery opening, or watch a movie. After your break, you will feel refreshed and you can return to your work. Even if you only have 15 minutes, you can still watch a short film or take a walk. The break will help you think.


2. Choose Events To Help Network Yourself And Your Brand

While taking a break for fun is always a good thing to do, choosing events to help network yourself is just as important. You can go out for fun and network yourself at the same time. For example, if you are an artist and you go and see other artist’s work at a gallery opening, you can be inspired by their work and create your own masterpiece. In this same situation, you can meet other artists in the city and give them your information. If they like your work, they will tell their friends and when you have a gallery opening of your own, you will have people that you recognize there. This does not only have to be about art as you can establish your network in any field, for any interest, by putting yourself out there.

3. Choose Events To Go To Learn More About The Field That You Are In

There is always something going on in the area that you live in. You just have to find it. Get out of your comfort zone. Take classes and learn about what others in your field focus on. Always go back to the basics.You’re probably wondering why you should take a class in the basics when you are proficient in your craft. By going back to the basics you may learn a new technique or way of doing something that you have never heard of before. This can influence your work.

Everyone needs a break, without them, how will we succeed?

5 Personality Traits That Both Artists and Entrepreneurs Share

At first, entrepreneurs and artists seem like they would occupy opposite ends of the personality spectrum. You may think of entrepreneurs as type-A, outgoing opportunity-seekers while artists are sensitive, dreamy introverts. However, those who choose to pursue an artistic or entrepreneurial career tend to actually possess many of the same personality traits, meaning that the title of “artist” and “entrepreneur” may not be so vastly different from each other. While there is no standard personality type for either profession, here are five characteristics that both artists and entrepreneurs tend to possess.

  1. Creativity

While creativity is the most obvious trait of an artist, it is also a crucial skill for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to see the world through a different lens than everyone else– that is how they envision and innovate new ideas that inspire their businesses. Entrepreneurs are always thinking about how to create something that makes the world better or makes something that already exists better. Just like artists create artwork that is original and unique to their creative self, entrepreneurs create big ideas that are unique to their own perception of the world.

2. Openness to Experience

Out of the “Big Five” personality traits, the one that both entrepreneurs and creatives share alike is openness to experience. The openness to experience personality trait entails originality, imagination, daringness, having a broad range of interests, and preferring variety in the day to day instead of fixed routines. Recent research has found that openness to experience is the number one predictor of creative achievement. This is because those who are more open to experience are seeking the positive rewards found in new experiences, instead of fearing failure, humiliation, and rejection that can also come with new experiences. Those who are more open to experience are simply exposed to a greater amount and variety of stimuli, which results in higher brain plasticity. Researchers have also found that entrepreneurs are consistently more open to experience than managers. They hypothesize that entrepreneurs are more attracted to constantly changing experiences and novel challenges, which ultimately leads to more creative business decisions and more original business models.


3. Passion

Both entrepreneurs must have passion in order to succeed in their career. As both professions are unconventional jobs that require long hours, many rejections, and long periods of failure. These conditions make it extremely difficult to put in the work it takes to be an artist or entrepreneur, especially if it doesn’t appear to be paying off. That is why passion is so important– it motivates entrepreneurs and artists to do the work they need to do. Passion is the quality that fuels the drive, patience, and persistence that is crucial for the long-term success.


4. Vision

Both artists and entrepreneurs must have a vision– it is their vision that ultimately motivates their passion and their drive. Some of the most successful entrepreneurial startups, such as Google, Facebook, and Tesla, were birthed from a clear, yet highly ambitious, vision. Their entrepreneurial vision gave them something to be passionate about, which drove them to their success in the end. Similar to entrepreneurial vision, artistic vision is equally important to a successful career in art. Research have found that creative people actually visually perceive the world differently than others, which leads to the originality and uniqueness of their artwork. The artist’s own creative vision, like the entrepreneur’s, gives them something to be passionate and driven about.

5. Risk-takers

Risk-taking is a necessity for entrepreneurs. The whole process of starting a new business entails business risks, but also deeper risks. When entrepreneurs put their vision and ideas out into the world, they are running the risk of failure, rejection, and humiliation. However, no successful entrepreneur has ever made it by playing it safe. Big ideas come with big risks– it is simply the nature of entrepreneurship. Risk-taking is vital to a career in art, as well. The profession of art naturally comes with risks, as the field is fiercely competitive and the risk of not becoming successful is omnipresent. Further, artists do not make a steady or stable income, which brings about financial risks. But even within the process of creating, artists run a high potential for failure. Art is so personal and subjective that the potential for risk is higher, and the painfulness of failure is more intense. Many artists have different relationships with failure, yet it is something that all artists must overcome in order to be successful.

Why is it important that these two groups are not so different after all? Research has shown that the direction the art world is moving in is an entrepreneurial one, which makes it all the more necessary for artists and creatives to develop their entrepreneurial and business skills. Since the title of “entrepreneur” is often one artists reject– as they believe business and art should not mix– traditional art schools fail to prepare their students with the necessary skills they need. Luckily, organizations such as Visual Arts Reimagined provide consulting and training services for young, emerging artists that are looking to further develop these crucial skills. And, after all, artists and entrepreneurs are not so different– the two titles go together naturally, just in time for the age of the artist-entrepreneur.


Is the Age of Creative Entrepreneurship the Enemy to Artists?

In a recent article on The Atlantic’s website, William Deresiewicz criticizes the modern push towards entrepreneurial art, claiming that it’s putting an end to art as we know it. He outlines the previous labels associated with artists: from the “artisan”, whose art revolved around notions of tradition and craftmanship, to the “genius” that evolved from the individualism of the Romantic Era, and ultimately arriving to the institutionalization of art in the mid-nineteenth century. During this culture boom, the artist became institutionalized as well– from the genius to the “professional”. In the age of modern capitalism, however, the artist has moved from the professional to the entrepreneur. Now, artists no longer need to rely on the mediating nature of institutions of art for their careers. We have moved on the the age of the self-employed, where everyone is their own boss and everyone is in charge of their own brand. We are in the age of self-motivated opportunity, where every artist has complete agency over their own career.

This shift in the nature of how we create and consume art undoubtedly calls into question the future of art itself. According to Deresiewicz, the entrepreneurial movement brings about a bleak future for the artist. He predicts shallower connections within networking; weaker practice within their discipline, due to the rise of a more multifarious artistic identity; and the commodification of artwork itself. Instead of dutifully working to master their single craft, modern artists are striving to be multidisciplinary, and at the expense of gaining skill in a single discipline. Artists are now creating a larger quantity of art, for the consumption of more people, and in turn compromising their potential single masterpiece. Deresiewicz deems this culture shift as the death of the artist. However, is this future really so dire? Do we need to presume every change in art as a downfall? Or should we merely accept it as a change, and take advantage of this exciting and transitional time?

In the past, every artistic change has been met with pessimism. In the 18th century, when the novel became the popularized medium for literature, there was a moral and cultural panic, as they believed it was the degeneration of literature. Eventually, films became the mainstream medium for storytelling, and more recently, television has become a favored artistic medium for the storyteller. While these changes were all met with extreme skepticism from critics, they were all able to produce brilliant and beautiful works of art. I believe that creative entrepreneurialism will also result in truly amazing art.

The fear is that consumerism will cloud the agency of the artist, and they will only try to make art that people will want to consume– essentially, they will sell out. However, in this age, everyone will be able to pursue their artistic career. We will be flooded with media to consume– so much media, that it will become pointless for the artist to specifically cater to the masses. For example, look at the current music industry– twenty years ago, this number of musicians and bands would never be able to have the successful careers they have now. Through Soundcloud, Spotify, BandCamp, and other online mediums, the number of working musicians has skyrocketed. There is no way an individual person can consume all the music out there, so they pick and choose what specifically resonates with them. Instead of conforming to the masses, the creative entrepreneur will be even more unique to themselves. They will have a brand that is unique to them, they will have a message that is personal to them, and they will unapologetically create until someone connects to their work. Art is the expression of the self; this new age of artistic entrepreneurs will be an age of connection through art. It will be an age of truths meeting other truths. There will always be artists who sell out, and there will always be artists who remain true to themselves. With the dramatic increase of art production we are soon going to witness, we have an opportunity that is unique to this moment in time. It is an opportunity of individual artistic power, a time for more voices to be heard, and ultimately, a chance for widespread human connection to occur through artistic expression.

Why a Personal Story is Crucial for an Artistic and Entrepreneurial Brand

Mountain peaks do not float unsupported;they do not even just rest upon the earth. They are the earth in one of its manifest operations. 

– John Dewey, Art as Experience

Each artist and entrepreneur has their own unique style and ideas that contribute to their own personal brand. Your personal brand is the main thing that separates you from your colleagues, yet people do not use this individuality nearly enough to their advantage. Not only does your personal brand distinguish you from everyone else, but it allows you to c

ommunicate the deeper purpose of your work to the rest of the world. We know that artists must be the entrepreneurs of their own work, and the most important aspect of your marketing is sharing the profound and deeply personal narrative of your passion. In this article, you will find out how your personal story can enhance both your brand and your art to other people.

As an entrepreneur, having a strong personal brand will send out a message to the world that will attract opportunities to you. A personal brand immediately captivates potential clients and business partners, and a significant personal story behind the brand will further strengthen the connection between you and your consumers. Further, your own narrative will give your business a dynamic element, granting you a competitive edge over your peers and colleagues. For example, after filing a sexual harassment case against Tinder, Whitney Wolfe used her story to create the hugely successful app Bumble. Her million dollar idea was inspired from her own lived experience, which ultimately led to the success of her company. Everyone has their own story behind their personal brand, they just need to know how to communicate it to the masses. To do this, focus on describing why you started your company, what exactly your company does, and how your company can help your audience, just as it helped you in your own personal journey.

In his book Art as Experience, John Dewey argues that art is most meaningful within the context that it was created in. As an artist, you must be a storyteller in more ways than one. While you tell a story through your art, telling the story of what inspired you to create in the first place can be extremely powerful for buyers. According to gallerist Kim Fonder, sharing the story behind your art will help people understand and relate to it, which will eventually lead to a higher success rate in selling your art. While you may think your art conveys enough of your personal story as it is, consider other ways to share parts of your story that may not be apparent in your art. For example, sharing your creative routine, posting your story in the “About” section of your website, inviting people into your studio, or letting people into your world on social media platforms are all ways to give your audience a more personal approach to your work.

Overall, sharing your personal story has numerous business benefits both as an entrepreneur and an artist. From a business perspective, you will connect to a wider audience, form more genuine connections with your clients, and draw opportunities to your business. And in your personal life, you will develop a greater sense of personal fulfillment through your work and establish your own authentic and confident voice.

How the Growing Online Art Market is Inspiring a New Type of Artist

  A New Age of Selling

A universal challenge that many young artists face is that of initially jumping into the highly competitive and daunting art market. Every artist wants to sell their work, but with global art sales dwindling and traditional gallery exposure remaining cutthroat, selling seems more difficult than ever. However, the art world is shifting rapidly from the traditional auction houses and galleries, thanks to the rising popularity of online art sales. According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, online art sales increased by 15% from 2015 to 2016, despite the slowing global art market. Here are some ways in which the online market is taking prominence in the art market:


Brick and click platforms

Traditional auction houses are now adjusting their sales strategies by taking advantage of the online art market. Companies like Sotheby’s, Artsy, and Christie’s now offer online auctions, and these types of sales accounted for 19% of all online art sales in 2016. This shows that even the traditional art businesses are gaining prominence in online art sales, suggesting a major shift in how we purchase and sell art.


Social Media

Social media is gaining much influence over both online and traditional art businesses. Instagram is the preferred social media platform for 57% of art buyers, with Facebook being the second most important platform. An overwhelming majority of galleries actively use social media to promote their galleries and art/artists. Further, auction houses such as Christie’s and Phillips, have found social media to be a powerful business and communications tool.

 Growing Confidence in Online Art Buyers 

Though some art buyers remain hesitant of buying art online, those who already purchase art online have been buying more art in the past year. 65% of existing online art buyers have bought more than one piece of art in the last year, which increased from 63% the year before. Half of existing online art buyers said that they would buy even more art and collectibles in the coming year, which is also an increase from the previous year.



What Does This Mean for Artists?

How does this affect you as an artist? The growing online art market is not only changing how people buy art, but how artists market and sell their art. Artists no longer need to rely on traditional galleries and auction houses as the only resource to sell your work. Now, you can take charge of your own career using the growing platform of online art trade. Becoming an entrepreneur for your art is the new key to success in this rapidly changing environment. Marketing your work through social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, is a powerful and effective way to curate your own brand and gain exposure to potential buyers and galleries. Entrepreneurial development programs, such as Visual Arts Reimagined are specifically designed to help artists thrive in this new age, supporting young artists to launch their career using an innovative and nontraditional approach. Through helping develop business and leadership skills and a supportive environment of creative and business professionals, Visual Arts Reimagined gives artists the tools they need to succeed in the modern art world.