ARTISIN® Services

Customized planning and organizational services for cultural organizations, artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Our team draws on its years of corporate and nonprofit experience to engage organizations and artists in cultural planning, creative placemaking, and public art projects.

In order to succeed, cultural organizations and artists need to be leaders within their communities and strategically connect and collaborate with like-minded partners; mutually beneficial outcomes are realized when there is collaboration between arts, business, and community.

ARTISIN has been extremely successful engaging communities through the implementation of strategic marketing and business plans, as well as earned income, membership campaigns, board development, cultural plans and public art, and program-related work.

ARTISIN Services for:

Video: Unveiling of Newark Creates in partnership with the Lincoln Park Music Festival. Newark Creates is Newark’s Community Cultural Plan, powered by Newark Arts on behalf of the City. Lincoln Park Music Festival on YouTube.

ARTISIN Services for Cultural Organizations

A group of young museum professionals at the Newark Museum
“New to Newark” Welcome Luncheon hosted by the Newark Museum Business and Community Council at Newark Museum. The Museum welcomes new summer professionals to the Newark community. Photo: Nicole Alexander of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP.

Organizations are facing new and different challenges that include disruptive technologies, local and global competition, a new generation of donors, and board and employee expectations.

ARTISIN has the knowledge to look at your organization holistically, examine your organization’s impact in the community and help to transform your organization’s future.

ARTISIN’s team have extensive experience working with nonprofit businesses to secure a strong and prosperous future. We have helped numerous organizations build strong community advocacy, grow local and regional audiences, enhance public engagement, and increase donors. We identify opportunities for your organization to connect strategically with corporations, foundations and individuals to enhance your overall capacity. And we believe that the right collaborations are critical to an organization’s success.

We have the passion, problem-solving capability, expertise and experience to address your organizational needs and capabilities. ARTISIN services for cultural organizations include:

  • Strategic and Business Planning
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Community Cultural Planning
  • Community Engagement and Convening
  • Economic and Community Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Fiscal Responsibility and Sustainability
  • Fundraising
  • Earned Income
  • Human Resource Advancement
  • Leadership Transition
  • Reorganization
People and post-its around a table at a culture planning  session
Culture planning in the community. Photo: Leslie Jean Bart, SoHarlem

Interim Leadership Transition: An ARTISIN Speciality

Organizations experience leadership transitions during reorganization and other periods of substantial change. The dynamics of change can have measurable impact upon daily functional challenges, such as capacity, systems and fiscal concerns.

Leadership transitions are frequently addressed by hiring an interim executive director (leader) to manage, stabilize, prioritize, organize, develop, professionalize, and situate the organization until a new leader is hired.

ARTISIN’s leaders understand the numerous and varied responsibilities and possess the expertise, sensitivity and discretion required to work with an organization through transition to appointment of a new, permanent executive director.

  Contact Susan Schear

ARTISIN Services for Artists

People and fruit bowls around a table at a workshop session
Susan Schear leading an artists' workshop. Photo: Leslie Jean Bart, Link to SoHarlem website

ARTISINʼs approach to business services for artists is flexible and holistic, viewing the individual’s career as a whole.

With extensive experience in the arts and the for-profit and nonprofit business worlds, ARTISIN provides the expertise and guidance to help artists and creatives to think more like business people – to use their art as an entrepreneurial springboard.

a2a® : Artist to Artist

ARTISIN’s Artist-to-Artist program is a multidisciplinary peer collaborative, facilitated by an ARTISIN team expert, that is designed to help individuals who create develop their businesses, guiding participants in values-based goal-setting, innovative problem-solving and entrepreneurial skill-building. A2A focuses on:

  • Goal Setting, Implementation and Accountability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Establishing a Niche
  • Portfolio Development
  • Marketing and Publicity
  • Business and Financial Planning
  • Building Collaborative and Support Networks

ARTISIN services for artists include:

  • Values-based Goal Setting
  • Strategic and Business Planning
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Risk Assessments
  • Generating Income
  • Business Management
  • Market Forecasting and Planning
  • Budget Creation and Management
  • Leveraging Resources
  • Proposal Development
ARtists' oil painting materials
Everything you need. Photo: ryder

ARTISIN Services for Creative Entrepreneurs

A man polishing two ornate chairs
Artist-led furniture restoration project, Peters Valley School of Craft tour, "Cuba: Art, Craft, and Culture", January 2018.

To develop powerful, thought-provoking, and innovation-inspiring strategies, you will benefit by investing appropriate resources, stimulated by the world around you and exploring all the overlooked or uncharted opportunities available to your business.

Building a sustainable creative entrepreneurship requires many different forms of expertise including specialized business knowledge and planning.

With extensive experience in both the arts and business worlds, ARTISIN provides the expertise and guidance to help entrepreneurs to think like businesspeople — to use their art as an entrepreneurial springboard — to develop and implement plans for success.

ARTISIN services for creative entrepreneurs include:

  • Strategic and Business Planning
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Generating Earned Income
  • Business Management
  • Building Your Team
  • Budget Creation and Management
  • Leveraging Resources
  • Networking
  • Market Forecasting and Planning
  • Project Planning and Implementation
Artists talking at a table of healthy drinks.
Food, Sex & Death, performance, healthy eating, four course meal, Papermaker’s Garden 2015. Photo: Melissa Potter.

ARTISIN Services for Creative Placemaking

A group of people at the launch of a community art initiative, Newark
Linwood Oglesby speaking at the at the opening of "Building Communities, One Neighborhood at a Time: Our People, Our City, Our Dream," commissioned by Jonathan Rose Companies, with to the right, Jeremy Johnson, Executive Director, Newark Arts and Gwen Moten, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Arts, Cultural Development and Tourism, and to the left at rear, Caroline Vary, Managing Director of Asset Management, Jonathan Rose Companies. Photo: Stafford Woods, courtesy of Newark Arts.

Creative placemaking brings together partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of a public space through arts and cultural activities that encourage public discourse, advocacy, neighborhood development, community health and safety, social justice, economic growth, environmental sustainability, and civic pride.

ARTISIN’s goal is to learn about and understand a community’s needs, help address their challenges, and collaboratively provide a comprehensive strategy, engaging partners when and where their expertise is needed. We work with communities to create meaningful spaces, involve funders, and identify the cross-sector creative placemaking team and cross-sector group of robust resources to plan, build, program, manage, and creatively sustain and enhance the community.

ARTISIN’s Creative Placemaking services include:

Community Visioning/Asset Mapping
Solicit a wide-range of community input to define what is unique, what is missing, and brainstorm how to utilize existing assets.
Capacity Assessment
Compile the ideas and assets identified in the visioning sessions and determine feasibility
Action Plan
Collaboratively define priority projects, create programming, create budget and possible funders, then outline next steps.
Implementation Guidance
Convene the capital campaign committee, build strategic partnerships, fundraise, break ground on catalytic projects identified in the action plan.
Artist standing in front of a colorful bule batic dress.
Artist Adrienne Wheeler with the dress she designed and made for "Building Communities, One Neighborhood at a Time: Our People, Our City, Our Dream", commissioned by Jonathan Rose Companies. Photo: Stafford Woods, courtesy of Newark Arts.

ARTISIN Services for Public Art

Celebrating the unveiling of “Windows to the City”, a yearlong collaborative project led by Newark Arts with Newark School of the Arts and GlassRoots, commissioned by PSEG. Location: PSEG Federal Square Switching Station, Newark, NJ. Photo: Stafford Woods, courtesy of Newark Arts.

Public art brings site-specific and accesible artworks to public spaces and communities. Commissioned artists or groups work with organizers to create the art, which may be fabricated in a specfied medium or be multi-media.

Public art connects to and addresses history, the present or the future of a culture, people, place, or circumstance. To be successful, public art requires research, community participation, enlightened funders, and creative collaboration.

ARTISIN’s team of experts has deep knowledge of public art and provides valuable expertise to realize a positive, robust outcome. We have the ability to facilitate the entire public art process, from initial concept to developing proposals and budgets, to helping select artists and creative teams, followed by research, specification, sourcing, community engagement, project management and launch. We help connect your organization or business with the finest artists to produce experiences that will leave a lasting legacy in your community.

ARTISIN’s Public Art Services include:

Curatorial support

  • Artist research and pre-qualification identification
  • Artist selection and recommendation
  • Policy and Plan writing; Strategy development
  • Competition Management including document preparation, coordination
  • Contract administration (artist)
Four singers at a public art launch; industrial equipment in the background
Newark Arts High School Gospel Choir, and their accompanist Mr. Scott Cumberbatch celebrating the unveiling of "Windows to the City”, a yearlong collaborative project led by Newark Arts with Newark School of the Arts and GlassRoots, commissioned by PSEG. Location: PSEG Federal Square Switching Station, Newark, NJ. Photo: Stafford Woods, courtesy of Newark Arts.
Project management
  • Contract preparation and administration
  • Communication: development of protocol; on-going coordination
  • Design Development: facilitation between artist(s), fabricator and site contractors
  • Planning: developing schedules, setting milestones
  • Monitoring throughout the project’s life-cycle
  • Commissioning / Close-out: final review and project debrief

ARTISIN Board Retreats, Focus Groups, Speaking, Workshops

ARTISIN facilitates customized board retreats, focus group and town hall meetings as well as presenting workshops for cultural organizations, artists and creative entrepreneurs.

ARTISIN understands that each organization, artist or creative entrepreneur has a myriad of changing needs that arise from both internal and external demands, uncertainties, and challenges, including: overall sustainability; functional area breakdown; limited, or lack of, resources including funding, capacity, time, expertise, space; leadership transition, anxieties, or absence of leadership and direction; changes in the marketplace; multi-messaging and -communication platforms that necessitate attention; continual technology advances that are difficult to keep up with, require ongoing learning, are resource-intensive and, therefore, impact all facets of an organization or individual practice.

ARTISIN’s team has the expertise, experience and confidence to recognize the drivers and causes leading to the plethora of challenges and needs, and provides a customized approach and process to directly address and creatively solve the complexities faced by the organization, artist or creative entrepreneur. As such, ARTISIN will determine the best and most feasible approach and process, which may include facilitated customized board retreats (mainly for organizations), focus group and town hall meetings, or a combination thereof, as well as providing professional development workshops to benefit organizations, artists and creative entrepreneurs. ARTISIN additionally can be engaged for professional speaking or keynotes.

For all of the above, ARTISIN offers onsite, web, and phone engagements designed to fit timelines and budgets.

Nicole Alexander and Susan Schear speaking at the Newark Museum
SuSan Schear with Nicole Alexander at “New to Newark” welcome luncheon hosted by the Newark Museum Business and Community Council at Newark Museum. Photo: Nicole Alexander of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP.

For Organizations

Performance space Habana Compás Dance, municipality of Marianao, Havana. Peters Valley School of Craft tour, "Cuba: Art, Craft, and Culture", January 2018.
  • Managing, Maximizing and Diversifying your Board
  • Building your Team
  • Operating Plans and Functional Areas
  • Budgeting and Planning
  • Managing Transitions
  • Community Building
  • Cultural Planning
  • Creative Placemaking

For Artists

Needlework and Mate, Peters Valley School of Craft tour "Cuba: Art, Craft, and Culture". Photo: Kristin Muller, January 2018.
  • Value-based Goal Setting
  • Business and Strategic Planning
  • Business and Emergency Preparedness and Mitigation
  • Marketing: Yourself and Your Art
  • Leveraging Opportunities and Collaborations
  • Connecting to Communities
  • Leadership and Teambuilding
  • Proposal Writing

Susan is my “go to” person when I get stuck on making the right connections — between people — especially artists, and organizations. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and approaches each challenge and opportunity with thoughtful consideration. She cares about people and their personal and professional wellbeing, and that care is evident in the advice she lends to those seeking help at all ages and career levels. I admire not only her skills, but her kindness, and value her insight and advice.

Ann Marie Miller, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation

A conversation with Susan Schear

Susan Schear believes in “walking the walk” when it comes to supporting and advocating for artists and the arts. This includes providing professional training and consultation, as well as her personal commitment to artists by helping to create arts/business partnerships, going to galleries, attending performances, and buying handwoven fabrics, jewelry and crafts.

A holistic view of the arts

In the 24 years since founding ARTISIN, Susan Schear has worked with clients nationwide. She has found that artists, creative entrepreneurs, and arts groups everywhere face similar challenges, from insufficient funding, to lack of community support, challenges of maintaining a space (or studio) to work due to rising costs and changing external environments, to an absence of skills critical to ensuring stability and success.

Her interactions with her clients have helped shape not only the scope and depth of services ARTISIN offers, but also her holistic view of the arts and their place in the community. Here is some of what she had to say in a recent conversation:

Hand-made weaving in grey, blue and rose colors, by Melissa Hilliard Potter

On authenticity

There is sometimes a disconnect between espousing your values and actually living them. It’s not enough for me to just provide professional guidance and consultation to my clients. If I believe in supporting the arts then I have to live that as well. Of course I’ll try to go see my clients’ shows and performances, but I also make the effort to patronize other artists and arts groups who are not my clients. I know how much time and effort artists and creative entrepreneurs put into their work, and what it means to them. This applies not just to performing and visual artists, but to craftspeople and artisans as well.

Hand-made weaving in subtle earth colors, by Melissa Hilliard Potter

On community

One of the things I do for my clients is help them get connected, both within the arts community and to the community at large. Art is sometimes a solo enterprise but its benefits are felt by the entire community. I believe strongly that everyone benefits — both those who create the art and those who enjoy it — when artists and arts organizations are strategically connected to other sectors of the community. We do it through public/private partnerships, sponsorships, collaborations with local businesses and institutions…all of these things help sustain the arts that enrich everyone’s lives.

Hand-made weaving in red, grey and orange colors, by Melissa Hilliard Potter

On working with clients

I want to be an effective advocate for my clients, and one of the most important ways to do this is to listen very carefully. If my client is an organization, I listen not just to the management, but to the staff and the board as well, and to the friends, patrons, audience, and viewers who support their work. I work hard to establish trust with my clients. You have to show respect to the clients and to the other stakeholders and community participants if you expect to bring them on board.

At ARTISIN, we take a holistic approach to working with our clients. All aspects of their professional practice are connected even if they don’t see it at first. Often it happens in the listening process that I discover a problem that the client didn’t know they had. So it’s important to be flexible and tailor your services to what the client really needs, rather than what they think they need.

I tend to become involved with my clients and find myself helping them with issues that are not in the scope of the project. The downside is, I give myself more work. The upside is, many of them end up becoming good friends.

Hand-made weaving in  blue, off-white, purple and orange colors, by Melissa Hilliard Potter

On collaborations

People often hesitate to work in collaboration with others because they’re afraid that someone will ‘steal’ their ideas. You can’t be stopped by that fear. Creativity is nurtured by bringing different ideas and styles together. Allay that fear by becoming allies working towards a common goal. Creative collaborations can yield spectacular and rewarding results. You have to be willing to take the risk.

Images: Handspun handmade paper by Melissa Hilliard Potter woven on a BEKA tapestry loom.

For nearly 20 years, Susan Schear has been my mentor and colleague in professional development and strategic planning for individual artists and arts organizations. She taught me everything I know about realizing my goals as I developed my career an artist and a not-for-profit manager in New York and Chicago. I have been inspired by her contributions to a huge span of cultural work: from disaster preparedness for craft artisans, to the development of regionally-specific and responsive programs for artists, and major organizational restructuring and strategic planning. Susan devotes to the arts sector in every aspect of her life as a board member for major arts organizations, and long-term commitments to building cultural communities where she lives and works. I trust her implicitly with my professional needs as an artist, professor, curator, and arts manager.

Melissa Hilliard Potter, interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator.