The “Okay, I think I’m ready To Be A Professional Artist,” Checklist

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By Sylvia White, Courtesy of


“To see far, is one thing…going there is another.”  -Constantin Brancusi 

Artists who regularly visit this website have acquired a lot of information on how to conduct their business practices. It’s not easy trying to keep track of all the activities necessary to become a working professional artist particularly since most artists are just not suited for the day-to-day practical aspects of running a business.

Making art and making an art career are two different things. A lot of artists are already pressed for time, trying to fit their art making into daily lives that already juggle family, work and other commitments. But, each artist needs to understand that when looking at the whole picture of being an artist as a career, the actual art making is only one piece of a very complicated picture. Artists need to be willing to commit at least 30 minutes a day to their career development. What matters is that you are consistent and diligent about devoting this time, without exceptions, to the business of art. Just as financial managers have recognized that the slow steady saver, who puts away $5 per week since birth, is much better off than the 50 year old who starts saving $1000 per month. Your career assets will experience a better growth opportunity if you start early and remain constant.

If you need some ideas about how to spend your 30 minutes, try using this checklist as your guide.

  • You have applied for a Business Tax Registration certificate and Sales Tax permit that allows you to purchase supplies wholesale and charge sales tax.
  • You have purchased your domain name ( and established an internet presence. (either your own site or an artists’ co-op site)
  • You have either hired a photographer, or assembled the photographic equipment necessary to properly document your work.
  • You have documented your work with properly labeled slides and organized them in digital files.
  • You have done the necessary research to come up with a target list of places (galleries, museums, consultants) that may be receptive to your work.
  • You have subscribed to relevant art publications such as, ArtCalendar, Artweek, ArtNews, Art in America, etc. and whatever other publications will keep you posted on the activities of the contemporary art world in your community and elsewhere . . . more 
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