Creative incubator inspires Mirjana's inner entrepreneur

Jul 20, 2018

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For professional artist Mirjana Dobson, coming back to the classroom two years after graduating was just what she needed to boost her business and take her craft to the next level.

TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts launched a Creative Incubator Program at the start of the year to give graduated bachelor, advanced diploma and diploma Visual Arts students a chance to come back and develop entrepreneurial skills to support their arts practice and business.

This week is Entrepreneurs Week (9-13 July 2018), which aims to showcase the many support programs available to entrepreneurs in the state and celebrate success stories from the thriving start up community.

Mirjana graduated from the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) in 2016 and has since gone on to exhibit – and sell – her ceramic sculptures in numerous exhibitions both locally and nationally.

But despite her success, she was searching for an avenue to take her practice to the next level – namely her first solo exhibition.

“During the incubator program, I wanted to expand on my making,” Mirjana said.

“I wanted to take time away from the everyday to allow space for exploration. I was working from home in a non-dedicated space where I could be easily distracted by the day to day running of the household.

“Moving to a dedicated space / creative environment at AC Arts has generated and opened possibilities for me.”

The Creative Incubator Program was created in response to a number of students enrolling in single subjects after graduating to get extra support to launch and run their business.

TAFE SA Visual Arts Principal Lecturer Greg Ackland said the participants in the Creative Incubator learn about how to make business connections with an art focus, becoming part of the arts community, grant writing, exhibiting, finding studio space and developing products from their artwork.

“The Creative Incubator Program is made up of two parts – once a week the students have a session where they look into the business side of their craft and start developing the entrepreneurial side of running an arts business,” Greg said.

“The other part is they are mentored by someone from an arts studio.”

Greg said the program would continue in Semester 2 and be extended to include graphic design graduates. There are plans to extend this program to cover all subjects at AC Arts in the future.

“The arts courses cover all the skills the students need to succeed at their craft,” he said

“But this course is just an intense half a year where they focus on using those arts skills in an entrepreneurial way to build their business and get themselves out there.

“This program is ideal for helping creatives to identify means and avenues to generate income through their creative endeavours.”

 Mirjana said the Creative Incubator Program had consolidated her next moves for promoting her arts career.

“Through discussion with my mentor I realised a solo exhibition is what is needed in the next 12 months,” she said.

“This will provide a platform from which I can showcase my work as an artist and invite gallery owners to view the exhibition and to have my work collectively photographed professionally.

“This will establish a portfolio of work that I can forward to potential interstate and overseas opportunities / galleries.

“The Incubator has also consolidated my writing for proposals and grant submissions and has greatly improved my planning and prioritising, with regard to making work.”

For more information, visit the TAFE SA website

(picture: AAP Image/ Brenton Edwards, The Advertiser)