It’s a great time to be an artist!
Recently, I did one of my favorite things — attended an entertainment conference. Typically, this conference is held in Las Vegas, by many accounts, the entertainment capital of the United States. But this year, my beloved group of AEP colleagues decided we would gather in Wilmington, Delaware. In less than 2 hours and with a $34 EZ Pass, I was on my way to discovering loads of new talent! Entertainment is no longer limited to major cities or music venues.
If you’ve ever considered becoming an entertainer, now is a good time. Why? Because so much is accessible, affordable, and there is a demand that is only limited by the imagination. Take, for example, painting. Who would have ever thought that watching paint dry would be exciting?! Yet gifted painter Tim Decker made his showcase minutes fly by. Okay, we really didn’t watch paint dry. Tim is a nationally touring speed painter. If you’ve never seen or heard of this craft, it is nothing less than mesmerizing. Many of these artists paint icons and well known figures, and they do it upside down, keeping their audience guessing. Add some music and humor and you’ve got a captive group. Most of the time, the finished painting becomes a fundraising item or gift for an audience member.
You may be wondering…where do I see one of these artists? More than likely, you would catch them at a “corporate event.” Many major organizations, such as Bridgestone, GNC and unions, hire talent such as this to entertain their guests during annual conventions, fundraisers, or galas. Yes, that’s right. Bars, venues and performing arts centers are no longer the only game in town. The world has exploded with possibilities.
If you are of a certain age, perhaps the “college market” is where you fit in. Many colleges and universities have a team of students who create events and programs to keep their student body engaged. My stepdaughter attended West Virginia University and I was always impressed when she would tell me about their annual “FallFest”. In 2013, they hosted Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Ciara to open the new school year. Billed as one of the most anticipated events of the year, FallFest “allows students to reconnect with friends after summer recess and to celebrate the beginning of another school year.” It’s a night full of fun and entertainment.
Here in Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy also hosts a similar concert. Katy Perry, Big & Rich, and The Zac Brown Band have all performed for our midshipmen. But it’s not just “name” acts that these colleges look for. At AEP, I was introduced to music looping by Jason O. I am certain this talent is taking the college market by storm because it’s creative and relatively inexpensive compared to multiple member bands.
The toughest part about getting into the college market is staying there. With a rotating student body, often times the contact at the school changes. This can be frustrating. But if you build a reputation and a following, they will come.
Keep in mind that every college is different. To find out who to contact, I suggest an internet search of each school’s event planning office or student affairs office. Keep asking questions and be persistent. Also bear in mind that many universities have their own performing arts centers; this is NOT the same market.
Next blog: July 22 — college arts centers and festivals
© 2014, all photos, Felicia Barlow Clar.