02 Mar Elements of ArtCan
OUR UNFOLDING ORGANISATION
Initially, artists join for the opportunities to exhibit. But members soon come to know ArtCan as a platform for engaging with peers and arts professionals through its online community, offline events and workshops, knowledge sharing and on-request mentoring and advice. Artists generate even more opportunities by contributing their talent, learning new skills or developing professional relationships within the organisation.
Meeting the challenges of 2020 has resulted in more direct and decentralised member participation. This has improved access beyond London to the wider UK and internationally. The boost to development activities gives ArtCan more flexibility in terms of what it does and can offer as an organisation. So far, outcomes include a new impetus for the website, a broader scope for social media programming as well as a new hybrid exhibition format, with more to come.
THE ‘SOFT’ WINS
For all its successes – high-quality, national and international shows; sales at every exhibition; a growing membership – ArtCan is still to a large extent about ‘soft power’. ArtCan membership helps our artists in all kinds of ways, from breaking conversational ice to landing gallery representation. But even if membership does nothing more than provide a sense of being a professionally practicing artist, we count that as an achievement.
THE HARD NUMBERS
Since 2013, we’ve produced 47 exhibitions and sold a total of 135 artworks (not including fundraising exhibitions). ArtCan does not charge for membership and has never taken commission – meaning that 100% of our total exhibition sales, £85,397.00, has gone straight to the artists.
ArtCan exhibitions complement the work of galleries by incubating early and mid-career talent in themed, group shows. The ArtCan Open differs in that there is an invited curator and both members and non-members can submit work to ArtCan. As with all our exhibitions, there are no submission or commission fees, just an admin fee for exhibiting artists.
For 2021, ArtCan productions will take the form of in a new hybrid exhibition format combining physical exhibitions with online programming and showcasing. However, ArtCan’s commitment to having (Covid-calibrated) physical exhibitions that bring art makers and art lovers together remains unaltered.
ArtCan opens its membership application portal twice a year. The advisory committee, which is made up of artists who were in from the beginning, selects new members. The criteria for membership are principally dedication to practice and evidence that the artist’s practice is developing along a trajectory that is interesting and solid. Judgement is weighted to intention and communication about the work and intent, rather than an assessment of aesthetic or technical merit.
Our philanthropic programme is a series of collaborations between ArtCan and charities working for change on issues we feel strongly about. ArtCan’s outreach projects shine a light on the themes involved from a fresh angle — typically by producing an exhibition and inviting speakers and charities to share a platform with ArtCan artists. While there is no obligation for ArtCan artists to participate in the programme, we are fortunate to have a group of engaged, international members willing to inspire and collaborate with us.
WHO IS ARTCAN?
ArtCan is the brainchild of its founder and director, Kate Enters, who is an artist, writer and curator with a background in media relations and event management for high-end art museums, celebrity charity events and arts PR. She founded ArtCan in 2013, innovatively positioning the organisation as a peer network offering artists opportunities to show work on their own terms.
ArtCan is its actively involved trustees, who are arts professionals or have a strong and demonstrated interest in the arts. More information on the trustees is available on the website.
ArtCan is also powered by its committees, of which there are four: the advisory committee, the marketing and social media team, the Press and PR team and the website team.
ArtCan is a ‘broad church’ including members who have maintained a practice right from graduating art school, self-taught artists and those navigating back to an active practice from other professions. As one member put it, ‘ArtCan feels more like a community than a network’.
At ArtCan engagement is created in a safe, non-threatening way to lessen the intimidating aspect of the art world for everyone involved, including art buyers. Invitations to ArtCan’s private views are extended to and by friends or acquaintances.
Member resources include:
- Meet-ups: the Saturday afternoon ArtCan Meet-Ups
- Peer-to-peer intel, inspiration and opportunities through ArtCan’s social media channels
- Specific, on-request mentoring and advice
- ArtCan’s (upcoming) talks/workshops programme on the business of art
For further information, please contact: Kate Enters, Founder & Director at firstname.lastname@example.org