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Click2Daily: Breaking into the professional world of art

HOUSTON – Breaking into the professional world of art can be difficult.

Historically speaking, that challenge is even tougher for blacks and women.

That’s where the Community Artists’ Collective comes in.

Thirty years ago, Michelle Barnes co-founded the collective as a way to bring arts education into underserved neighborhoods. Since that time, the nonprofit has evolved to work with artists of all kinds, with a special sensitivity to black female artists.

“We have a sensitivity to artists, especially women and African American artists that I think other organizations don’t have and we fill a void and a niche through the work that we do,” Barnes said.

[PHOTOS: Community Artists' Collective]

Its goals include:

  • Education, by making the arts more accessible
  • Entrepreneurial, by assisting artists in sustaining themselves through arts related services, training and employment
  • Community Development -- Exhibition, by promoting the production of original works
  • Infrastructure, by providing the human and financial resources to support the aforementioned goals

As local artists become a part of the collective, they are challenged to make their own career decisions and to produce works of art that are reflective of their own unique vision. Barnes says most artists she works with have no problem creating the works but that they often avoid the crucial business aspect of their careers.

“All of their work is the best work ever produced and everybody’s going to beat a path directly to your door," is what Barnes often hears. "It just doesn’t happen like that, but if artists know what’s involved in making their career, professional career successful then they can identify people who are on their team, a team effort to ensure their success.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Community Artists’ Collective, its workshops or its upcoming 30th anniversary celebration, you can find more info at www.thecollective.org.

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