Professional Development

Professional Development

Recently, I ran into an acquaintance in the elevator on the way to presentation coach Gigi Rosenberg’s workshop on writing elevator speeches (how appropriate!). Her first comment to me was “I thought you knew everything about talking about your work”. I have to say that I was flattered, but I immediately told her “there is always something new to learn”. As a freelance artist working outside of the traditional gallery scene, I spend a lot of time looking for places to show my work, seeking funding opportunities, and coming up with schemes for marketing and promoting my work. It isn’t easy, so I welcome the opportunity to glean bits of information from experts, and to hang out with other artists – I always learn something from them as well.
The Regional Arts & Culture Council here in Portland hosted Gigi’s workshop, which was just one in an affordable and informative series they offer each year. I first talked to Gigi a couple of years ago when an artist friend told me Gigi was looking for artists to interview for her book, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing. I felt I had a story to share, so I contacted her and she ended up interviewing me about one of my fundraising projects. The interview didn’t end up in the book, but when I saw Gigi at this workshop, she told me she’d recently sold it to a magazine (stay tuned).
In the workshop, Gigi gave us tips on writing an elevator speech and giving an artists’ talk. I’d written a basic elevator speech about a year ago, when I took an on-line course with another artist coach, Alyson B. Stanfield. It was great to hear Gigi’s tips, and I had the opportunity to share my elevator speech with the group (FYI, I get really nervous just imagining speaking out loud, so it was super helpful to be sitting next to a friend who prompted me to raise my hand).
It is great to speak up in a situation like this, because you get feedback from your peers and the facilitator (plus people learn about what you do!). Both Gigi and Alyson have great blogs with weekly tidbits about the business of art. In fact, Alyson’s post today was about fighting complacency. Check it out and, as Alyson says, be courageous!


  1. Helen, this is so nice! I love Gigi and I’m sure she gives a fantastic workshop. In fact, we’re going to collaborate on something coming up. Her book is a must-have. I’m honored to be mentioned in the same post with her.
    Also, I love the way you continue your education. We can never soak up too much. I always say if I learn 1 little thing that is a turnkey, it was worth my time.
    Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Alyson! Gigi is terrific, and I look forward to hearing about what you two scheme up!
    And thanks for everything you do to support and encourage artists!

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