Parts for the Arts hopes to help artists get noticed

Second annual event to feature panels on self-promotion, grant writing and knowing your worth

Submitted photo

Fresh off of its inaugural year, the second annual Prince Albert Parts for the Arts is hoping to help artists and promoters get their names out there.

The free, daylong event is put on by the Prince Albert Arts Board in an effort to help promote professional development in the city’s arts community.  The event came out of the Arts Free for All, which was a trade show and networking event held in Prince Albert.

“Part of the Arts Board mandate is to represent arts within the community, so when artist say they want the chance to network as well as (get) information, this idea came around,” said Arts Board member Cara Stelmaschuk, who is one of the organizers of this year’s event.

Last year’s Parts for the Arts was set up more with presentations. This year’s event is focusing on panel discussions so people can ask questions and receive the information they need.

The panel discussions cover four themes: grant writing, getting noticed, knowing your worth and self-promotion. The evening day will finish off with a keynote speech from Indigenous writer, politician and artist Aaron Paquette about the importance of the arts.

Creative Saskatchewan is coming in to present on the topic o grant writing. The organization is relatively new — hey only formed in 2013 _ and helps people create a product, such as a book, film or album.

The second panel discussion will take a look at ways to get noticed. It will feature artist Gail Carlson, musician and producer Paul Lomheim and author Laurie Muirhead. It will be moderated by Adreanna Boucher of Boucher Entertainment.

“This is information about different ways to get your art in front of people,” Stelmaschuk said.

“If you don’t know where to start, these are helpful tips for getting our art or your work in front of the eyes of people who aren’t part of our circle.

The next one, on knowing your worth,  Stelmaschuk calls “a big one.

“Artists are terrible, notoriously horrible, about asking for a fee for service. This is a panel … to broach that topic.”

That panel will feature magician Roger Boucher, artist Leah Dorion, musician and producer Donny Parenteau and Lorri Wiberg from the Prince Albert Council for the Arts. It will be moderated by musical LJ Tyson.

That panel might also be good for people who put on events to understand what fair compensation for an artist might look like.

‘A lot of people put on events and bring a big band in, but when they want to hire a local act to open for them, they might say “but will you do it for exposure?;’” Stelmaschuk said.

“People die of exposure. It’s not a way you want to treat our local artists.”

That panel will be a way for people to be prepared to have that uncomfortable conversation.

“If people say, ‘well, what are we paying for if we pay you,’ you have an answer,” Stelmaschuk said.

“You have to rent equipment. You’re going to be there. You went through training or took this in school.”Stelmaschuk said Wiberg will resent a document created by the Council for the Arts and the Arts Board that’s a really good guideline for paying artists. The document has a version for artists to use themselves, and for organizations or groups bringing an artist in.

“Anyone who is putting on events or wants to approach an artist about using their work in some way should be prepared for this conversation.

The last panel is on the art of self-promotion and growing audiences. It features Greg Magirescu, the CEO of Creative Saskatchewan, Joel Bernbaum, the Artistic Director of Sum theatre Saskatoon and Gabrielle Giroux of Prince Albert band the Wolfe. It will be moderated by LJ Tyson and E.A. Rawlinson Centre manager Roxanne Dicke.

“We try to carry a broad base of topics,” Stelmaschuk said. “These were things that we had heard feedback from. Some of the big things were how you get people to come to events. We think the self-promotion panel really speaks to that.”

Stelmaschuk is also excited about the keynote speaker.

Aaron Paquette is a bestselling, award-winning author, and an acclaimed painter and artist, an illustrator, goldsmith and stained glass artist. He was elected to Edmonton City Council in 2017, and has also run federally.

Paquette also knows what it’s like to be in life’s darkest moment. On a cold August night in Edmonton, he found himself on the guardrails of the High Level Bridge, ready to jump.

“The angle we’ve talked about is the role of arts as it applies to mental health,” Stelmaschuk said.

“It’s a big topic. Artist or not, people can learn from a creative story or the role that their own self-expression can have in mental health in helping other people. That’s an importance of arts right there. That is something that the arts contribute to a community.”

Paquette’s talk isn’t just aimed at artists. It’s also aimed at members of the general public.

“Whether they support an artist, or they like to take in the odd show, or they have an original painting. Whatever their role of involvement with the arts is, (Aaron will talk about) the role that arts can play in a healthy, thriving community,” Stelmaschuk said.

“That’s why we want the whole community to come, not just artists. Artists sometimes need to be reminded about why what they do is important and what their voice actually can contribute to a community.

‘You hear all the time that art isn’t relevant anymore. Well, (it is). This is our history. This is how we tell stories. This is how we’re supposed to learn from our past. I think we’re all going to get a lot from (Aaron).”

Parts for the Arts will be held on Feburary 2 at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. You can preregister at this link.