Throughout June and July, the Artists’ Legal Information Society (ALIS) was pleased to partner with Strategic Arts Management (SAM) and Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) to present Creative Work, a three-part professional development webinar series for artists. Each one-hour session, hosted in-kind at the offices of Stewart McKelvey, encouraged viewers to interact with each other and the host by submitting their questions and comments via the webinar’s chat feature.
The first talk took place on Thursday, June 25th. Alayna Kolodziechuk, ALIS Board Member and associate lawyer at Patterson Law, presented “#LEGAL: You, the Internet and the Law”. The talk focused on the fundamental legal rights and obligations of artists engaging in Internet sales. Ms. Kolodziechuk highlighted the ways in which artists can manage and protect their own creative rights while conducting business online. Using watermarks on images, outlining terms and conditions and copyright notices are all useful ways to protect your creativity. Before an artist engages in online sales, they should give thought to a number of questions. Consideration must be given to identifying the laws that govern their sales, whether sales are taxable, duty and customs fees, and how to correctly use and compile consumer data in compliance with privacy laws. Ms. Kolodziechuk explained to viewers that it is also important for artists to be aware of legal self-defence and how to properly defend against infringement claims.
Part two of the webinar series, “Simplifying Social Media: Creating a Plan for Success”, was hosted by Mary-Elizabeth Luka. Ms. Luka is an award-winning documentary producer, film and television director and a consultant in the culture sector. With the growing trend of marketing, customer service and sales being completed online, artists must understand how to effectively use social media to drive their business. Ms. Luka provided viewers with tips on how to use social media to raise their professional profile and engage with potential consumers. She also explained that there is more to using social media than simply typing a few sentences and hitting the ‘post’ button. Artists should plan their social media as they would any other communications related to their art and business. Being strategic about social media use is imperative. Ms. Luka’s top tips include: being authentic, creating a schedule for posts, being consistent with content and using analytics to track the traffic on your social media platforms in order to determine their most effective use.
The final installment of the webinar series was “Social Media in an Hour or Less”, presented by Stacey Cornelius. Ms. Cornelius is a writer and workshop presenter, with a focus on marketing and technology. An artist in her own right, Ms. Cornelius has exhibited her works in group shows at Mount Saint Vincent University, The Mary Black Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Ms. Cornelius takes a very real and human approach to the use of social media as a tool for business growth. The talk outlined essential tips for artists who are new to social media or are just looking to raise the profile of their business. Artists should consider what platform works best to achieve their business goals, the aesthetics of their profile and what type of visual and written content should be shared to reach target audiences. Although it may sound obvious, Ms. Cornelius explains that social media is about being social. For an artist to steadily increase their online following, they must first understand their audience. Artists should engage with their audience to determine general interest and post accordingly, while maintaining a level of authenticity and personal taste. Another helpful tip from Ms. Cornelius is that an artist should treat their social media platforms like real life interactions. Once you have created your profile, it is beneficial to take a step back, look at it with an objective eye and ask yourself whether you would like to have coffee with this person. Followers who feel like they have a connection with the artist are more likely to continue to subscribe to their social media accounts.
On behalf of ALIS, VANS and SAM, we would like to thank all the presenters for their hard work and the viewers who made the series a success.