City Social Magazine

JUL-AUG 2017

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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20 There are numerous artists living in the Baton Rouge area, so understanding their profession may not be as difficult as achieving success at it. Let's take a look at the challenges to becoming a professional artist. To become successful requires an education, support, means and a really strong work ethic. A working artist per- forms, creates and markets their work. There are also artists who teach. They will be the ones who usher in the next generation of professionals. There is a lot of enthusiasm in Baton Rouge for dance, which I appreciate. Dancing with the Stars for Big Buddy offers many men and women the opportunity to take to the stage and be a star for the night. Many of these women took dancing lessons as children or teens but went on to other professions. These type of events give them a chance to relive their youth while raising money for a good cause. Most of the men are urged into it by their wives, peers or business associates. They just hope to survive the night without injury. Whatever the reason for doing it, they walk away with an understanding of how much work it takes to perform. This can be the same with visual arts, music, and theatre. The opportunity for amateurs to pick up a brush, an instrument or a script inevitably will lead to a deeper appreciation of the art form. This is great for the individual as well as the community. No artist or art form can survive without support. So what does it take to become a professional? Let's take a look. "A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform the role of that profession" (Wikipedia. org). While anyone can put paint on canvas, read lines from a script or strap on a pair of dancing shoes, it takes much more to become a professional. As with any professional career, passion, focus, commitment, and, of course, talent is required. Malcolm Gladwell told us that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. That may or may not be true, but one thing is certain, it takes a very special type of commitment to become a professional at any craft. Serious artists will pursue their vocation at the highest level. This usually begins with earning a degree. Whether its in painting, dance, music, sculpting, or any other, a degree in fine arts provides the knowledge and background needed to turn a passion into a career. Unlike many other career choices, there aren't a lot of "entry Story by Kris Cangelosi Edited by Guy Blanchard a rts e nthusiast vs. Professional a rtist level" jobs out there for an artist who's just completed their education. Success requires careful planning, both short- and long-term. After all, the one thing that separates an amateur from a professional is their answer to the question "are you making a living practicing your craft"? To do so takes more than sheer talent. It takes discipline and organization. A well-planned career ensures that the artist work is seen by the appropriate audience. The artist must actively seek out an audience through showings, exhibitions, etc. In the days of social media, this may also include websites and blogs. Whichever media is used, the artist must be committed to the vision. Professional artist do not see their career as a 9-to-5 job. They tend to think differently than those with more traditional jobs. Artists are always working, creating, perfecting. However, for the professional there is another side, it's also a business. As with any business owner, the professional artist must be proficient in marketing, communication, financial management and leadership. These skills can be quite a challenge for many who are left- brained, creative thinkers; however, they are just as important to success as the creation of a new work. I have had the pleasure of working with many of the local artists in the Baton Rouge area. Many are lifelong friends. So the next time you are enjoying the arts, tapping your foot, being moved to tears, laughing or smiling, think about what that artist has gone through to give you that sensation. Here is a list of a few local professional artists from the Baton Rouge community: Timothy Muffitt – Conductor, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra David Torns – Associate Conductor, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra David Shaler – Chorus Master, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Renee Chatelain – President and CEO, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge Melanie Couvillon – Executive Director, Manship Theatre Garland Wilson – Artistic Director, Of Moving Colors Kris Cangelosi – Artistic Director, Cangelosi Dance Project Sharon Mathews – Artistic Director, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre Molly Buchmann – Artistic Director – Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre Susan Perlis – Associate Director, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre Rebecca Acosta - Associate Director, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre Jenny Ballard – Artistic Director, Theatre Baton Rouge Kris Cangelosi is the Artistic Director of the Cangelosi Dance Project. Preciously, she worked as a writer for Dancer Publication and earned a BFA in Dance at LSU.

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