My Experience with the “Artist as an Entrepreneur” (AEI) Workshops

By Jeff Poplar

I have attended three AEI at Summit Art Space classes so far and the experience has been more than satisfying. The atmosphere is not one of a typical classroom—here, you are integrated into an “art space” so to speak. It is very comfortable and conducive to interaction between the teacher and the students. Carolyn Bagley, a fireball, teaches the courses in an always positive and upbeat way that is perfect for creative types. One part of that energy is focused on how you “think” as well as “how to” think, it is primarily about your art, yourself, and how that could translate to your potential business.

These workshops teach structure—from how to build relationships in the business community to making good friends along the way. Knowing how to write your business plan, setting “SMART” goals (S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Relevant, T=Time-based), applying them, and then measuring your progress.

Specifically, I’m going to apply the use and understanding of social media for online sales of a variety of products. I’m gaining knowledge that covers topics such as how to legally protect my business, basic accounting principles, the proper legal forms, and establishing a professional brand identity.

The age of the students ranges from early twenties to late sixties. Students come from diverse disciplines such as painters, sculptors, ceramicists, performers and writers. There is congenial energy among the students—everyone is willing to help each other. The three-hour class seems like three minutes, it goes very fast because it is so interesting. My personal take-away from this class is how I can now properly structure a business in a very short period of time.

AEI is a real find for anyone who wants to start a business or to improve an existing one. For additional information, visit

Jeff Poplar is an illustrator and a graphic designer, creating art with colored pencil, pen and ink, oil pastels, and digital techniques. His artwork ranges from commercial design (logos, brochures, ads, and package design) to fine art (figure drawings, tabletop arrangements, landscapes, and abstracts). Contact Jeff for more information at

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