The Plains Art Museum brunch on Wednesday, Nov. 11, included panelists Athena LaTocha, Falcon Gott, Su Legatt, Ellen Diederich, Pasteur Mudende and Steve Revland.
For artists, going into the world of business is often a truly personal journey. They weave their stories into the works they craft.
A group of diverse artists from varying backgrounds converged to discuss some of these pivotal moments in building their brand and business.
The virtual presentation occurred at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, streamed live from the Plains Art Museum in Fargo presenting the Art and Business Brunch, exploring the theme of artists as entrepreneurs.
“I really wanted to make sure that we had a diverse balance of voices, so I think we’ve accomplished that,” says Sandy Thompson, director of development at Plains Art Museum.
Featured panelists included Athena LaTocha, Falcon Gott, Su Legatt, Ellen Diederich, Pasteur Mudende and Steve Revland.
Their work in painting, film, wood and more represents a spectrum of creation, sometimes crossing paths such as in a video created by Gott covering LaTocha’s residency at Plains Art Museum last year where she created a large-scale ink wash mural for the museum’s lobby.
As another example, Revland first jumped into woodworking back in 1969. He has been telling stories through ultra-polished pieces of furniture with finely detailed grains of wood.
But at the start, he decided to embark on creating his own business in high school after taking a marketing and business class. As a student struggling with grades, he knew he could make something for himself out of the endeavor.
“That’s when I knew I was going to be a self-employed businessman because I was a terrible student,” Revland says.
Despite struggling in school and sliding by on graduation day, his passion for the woodshop was enough to guide the crafty spirit toward a path of entrepreneurship.
“The next day after graduation I started making plans for my business,” Revland explains. “That would have been 50 years ago.”
A lot has happened since the day Revland decided to go into business for himself, and he’s eager to share the lessons he’s learned, from dealing with cracks in the wood of his early pieces to navigating a new world of marketing his work on social media today.
“One thing is for sure — you have to interact, you have got to be able to tell stories and weave these stories into the work,” Revland says.
Also set to speak on the panel, Diederich echoes the sentiment, saying “it has always felt very personal” as she continues to grow in art and business.
Working in watercolor and acrylic, she has observed the push and pull of her creative journey and the need to market works to a larger audience, explaining her strategy in creating works that vary in subjects, colors, size and shapes to enhance her selection.
But it’s not all about making money for Diederich. The personal perspective she shares through her art is always top of mind.
“In business, you need to stay true to your art and strive to increase the value of works purchased by my patrons,” Diederich advises.
What: Art & Business Brunch — Artists as Entrepreneurs
When: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11
Where: Free virtual event will take place on Zoom; registered guests will receive an email invitation prior to the event.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and first appeared online on Monday, November 9, 2020.