Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
The Business of Being an Artist
By Anna Lapp

In today’s age, representation as an artist is tricky. There’s your work, your following and your online presence. Many artists hesitate to use the term “branding.” It’s an uncomfortable notion for many artists—that they have to sell their image to help business. But regardless of the term, artists must market their work to earn money. In order to get a grasp on how successful local artists promote their work and online presence, we interviewed poet Maggie Smith, designer Adam Brouillette and Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) instructor Cat Sheridan.

“I can’t imagine that any poet thinks of herself as a brand,” comments local poet Maggie Smith. “I don’t think much about ‘branding,’ but I do think about how I present myself–and I suppose those two things are more or less the same.”

On the business of poetry, Smith remarked that it’s “an odd thing. You sort of have to wear two hats…The website, social media presence, business cards, grant/fellowship applications…all of that is a part of the writing life, but it is not writing. I’ve tried to strike a balance because I have found that those other activities are important…Presses invest in me by publishing my books, and it’s my responsibility as the poet to promote the books to the best of my ability.”

Branding is essential to selling and promoting your art no matter what your discipline—painter, writer, filmmaker. And the heart of promotion starts at knowing your content and your audience.


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Todd Camp, Metalsmiths, Stately Heads, Houston Penetrable, Tom Ferderbar Artist Profile
The Amazing Giants Headshot stilt walking, fire arts and dance
The Amazing Giants

As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with thousands of users per month. The Artist Directory allows visual, performing and literary artists to create a profile and portfolio to showcase their work—for free—and enables art enthusiasts to easily search for and connect with them. Our monthly artist profile series features interviews with some of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community.

The Amazing Giants are a team of circus artists and performers who specialize in stilt walking, fire arts and dance.  The group has been wowing audiences in Columbus and beyond with their unique performances and extraordinary costumes since 2011.  For this issue, we interviewed founder, Jessica Minshall to learn more about The Amazing Giants and a bit about her music group, Jemntonic.

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Sneak Peek

COSI Presents Top Secret: License to Spy

Delve deep into the secret world of spies at COSI this spring and summer as Top Secret: License to Spy makes its North American debut March 14, 2015.

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VSA Ohio Presents Day of Arts for All

Day of Arts for All is a free, family-friendly event that kicks off VSA Ohio’s travelling exhibition, Accessible Expressions Ohio 2015, as it tours across the state to promote the work of artists of all ages and all dis/abilities.

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Columbus Children's Theatre Presents Fancy Nancy the Musical

Columbus Children’s Theatre (CCT), the premier theatre for children and families in Columbus, is proud to bring Jane O’Connor’s books to life on stage.

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GCAC appreciates and acknowledges support from: City of Columbus, Franklin County and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Front Row Center provides an in-depth look into the creative individuals and organizations that make the Central Ohio arts and cultural community unique. Front Row Center features articles about local and national arts issues, profiles of creative professionals, previews of upcoming events and the inside scoop on what’s happening in the arts in Columbus. For complete submission guidelines please visit our Publications Page.