by Anna Ochmann 

“The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, Chupa-Chups logo designed by Salvador Dali, Degas’ “Little 14-Year-old Dancer”, Tamar Łempicka’s Self-portrait in a Green Bugatti, the square and the rectangles with the base equal to the square’s side and the height equal to the diagonal of the previous figure, which creates mathematical proportions on which the architecture of Alhambra is based, Air on G-string from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major or The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven, paintings of the Renaissance masters, the architecture of Gothic churches, the details of the baroque sculptures of little angels, jazz, modernist design… Some of these works function in the collective awareness, some are known only to few art aficionados. This does not change the fact that we are surrounded with art and design. The old and the modern. And while art does not know borders or time, and has delighted people for centuries, and while professions like a musician, painter, sculptor have been present for ages, it was only in 1990s when academics defined the sector involving all persons connected with culture in broad sense. And only in the last several years have we thought about how to support people employed in this sector (now in the culture and creative sectors, sometimes called culture and creative industries). We are able to define better and better the problems that young talented people face in the globalizing world, world based mostly on freelancing or self-employment.

The most popular problems are the faulty education system for young artists, and especially lack of any sort of preparation for work in the free market reality, no useful internships (Where is the well established model of ‘master’ and ‘apprentice’?) This results in problems connected with the lack of knowledge, competences, and market activity of artists, and also legal issues (although in today’s digital age even best lawyers have a problem with copyright law and intellectual property). Social and cultural conditions are also a real challenge in our consumption driven society, which is focused mainly on the so-called ‘popular’ mass culture, while creative products and services are often the depositaries of symbolical and intellectual values, they require preparation and thought, and, consequently, time, which is scarce in our times.

ARTeria Foundation has been operating and running projects to support the professional development of artists and other people who want to function and develop (also earn money) in the creative sector. We draw from the experience of our international partners, we take inspiration from best solutions, trying, at the same time, to adopt them to our Polish reality, reality of work and…. dreams of mostly young people: musicians, craftsmen, designers, film makers, photographers… Our secret recipe is mixing an ample portion of mentoring (also on the basis of solutions created during our project called Talent Matching Europe) with a big dose of parter relations and team work (also with the use of such tools as Circle – created within the frames of another project we ran, called ArtENprise), mixed in the space where culture and business meet, plus a pinch of interdisciplinarity spiced up with individual consultations…

These few years of work with young, creative and amazingly inspiring people has shown how important and effective mentoring is, mentoring which is well prepared methodologically and in substance, mentoring which also involves such topics as the specificity of intellectual propertyd rights in the creative sector (always at the top of our participants’ importance ranking), preparing an offer and negotiations with potential investors (e.g. how to export business value), self-presentation and public speaking. We also work on other trends, such as audience development, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, service and design thinking, storytelling – notions that in the reality of our local creative sector have not been given a Polish name, and probably never will be, as in the creative sector, which, by definition transcends borders, the English language appears to be the basic way of communication. Anyway, the development of communication skills of artists is a subject for another, different, article.