Artists can now bank on their ta­lent

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Dale Hes

WESTERN CAPE artists have been shown how to turn their ta­lent into a sus­tain­able in­come by pro­duc­ing mar­ket and lo­ca­tion-rel­e­vant work.

Charles Small’s col­lec­tion of over 700 paint­ings and match­stick mod­els has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of his fel­low Paarl res­i­dents.

Although the 56-year-old has al­ways loved art, a de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme for lo­cal artists changed the way he thought about his art­work.

Funded by the Drak­en­stein Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and im­ple­mented by the Drak­en­stein Lo­cal Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion and the Craft and De­sign In­sti­tute (CDI), the pro­gramme has ben­e­fit­ted 60 up­com­ing artists and crafters this year through work­shops that fo­cus on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, busi­ness skills and mar­ket­ing.

The pro­gramme is de­signed to help artists earn a liv­ing through their work. “I saw that some of my work could be con­verted into post­cards, and that was some­thing I had never thought about be­fore. I also re­alised that cre­at­ing work with a lo­cal theme would sell bet­ter,” said Charles, who is cur­rently work­ing on a solo ex­hi­bi­tion in­spired by his beau­ti­ful home­town.

“The work­shop was very mean­ing­ful. What I learnt here at the CDI in a short time made me re­alise how much more I can learn.”

The re­sponse to the work­shops has been so pos­i­tive that the CDI has ex­tended its reach into the town­ships of Cape Town. Well-at­tended work­shops were re­cently hosted in Khayelit­sha and Masi­phumelele.

The work­shop in Khayelit­sha fo­cused on help­ing en­trepre- neurs un­der­stand how money flows in a busi­ness. Us­ing a sim­u­lated busi­ness game, the work­shop ex­plored the na­ture of money, and how the choices an en­tre­pre­neur makes will af­fect the suc­cess or fail­ure of their busi­ness.

“The en­trepreneurs ap­pre­ci­ated the shar­ing of knowl­edge on how to do ba­sic book­keep­ing and how they can im­prove ne­go­ti­a­tions with re­tail­ers,” said CDI train­ing co-or­di­na­tor Rose­mary Cooke.

In Masi­phumelele, the fo­cus was on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and par­tic­i­pants were taught how to con­sider their clients’ needs when cre­at­ing prod­ucts.

Cooke added that not ev­ery en­treprenuer has the re­sources to at­tend train­ing in the city cen­tre. This was one of the rea­sons that made tthe CDI hold their work­shops in town­ships where they are needed the most.

Charles Small is one of the suc­cess sto­ries from Drak­en­stein's lo­cal artist de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

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