Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goal Setting for Artists - 30 Ideas

Goal Setting
Kate Renee

January is always a great month to focus on goal setting, revisiting dreams and starting new projects! It’s important to identify what you want to do before you begin working towards that goal, so sitting down and considering your goals is the first step to begin achieving them.

As an artist myself, I am obsessed with discovering hidden dreams, setting goals and blogging about it the process. This past July, I did an intensive seven day session of goal setting which I called my Seven Days of Strategic Planning ( During this week, I created a master list of personal dreams, wishes, hopes and career goals that I wanted to accomplish in my life time. It is an ever changing document that I allow myself to add and remove goals as my desires change.  After organizing my huge list, I came up with categories of goals artists should consider when goal setting to better plan out every aspect of their career.

This is a list of 30 goal categories that I created to begin thinking about different aspects of my life and my career that I need to set goals in. I included fun categories, like travel and arts awards; important arts categories, like grants and finances; and the boring must-haves too, like inventory and time management.

Consider goal setting throughout your entire life; your arts career and life are symbiotic so why not consider both your personal and career goals when you plan? Have you always wanted to walk on hot coals or try skydiving? Add it to your goals! Go through each category and take a personal inventory. Push yourself to think of you biggest hopes and dreams. Putting it in writing is also important. For each category there are a couple of questions to help get you on the track to setting some of your own goals. Each category then has two goal idea examples to demonstrate short and long term goals for each category.

Goal Categories:

1. Portfolio: Do you have a portfolio? What needs to be updated in your portfolio?

Goal Idea: Update artist statement, create a comprehensive career portfolio

2. Studio Space and Living: What type of work space and living space do you need? Is your studio space conducive to your work?

Goal Idea: Move studio into the dining room for more room, move into the Northern Warehouse artist studios

3.  Galleries and Exhibitions: What is your dream gallery or space to exhibit in? Do you want to curate your own show?

Goal Idea: Participate in two group exhibitions this year, plan and implement a solo exhibition

4. Social Networking and Computer: Do you have the proper software to best utilize your technology? What social networks can you add or remove to better your participation online?

Goal Idea: Have 300 fans on Facebook arts page, organize your computer and back up all of your arts documents and images

5. Events and Participation:
What places and spaces have you always wanted to visit but have never been to? How do you wish to increase your participation in the arts community? Have you volunteered lately?

Goal Idea: Head to a local arts museum and draw three times in the next year, participate in Art –a-Whirl or the St. Paul Art Crawl

6. Marketing: How do your viewers remember you and your artwork? How do you reach new audiences?
Goal Idea: Redesign business cards, create a custom set of pens with your name and website on them

7. Design and Merchandise: What can you do to make you work more marketable? What are some design changes you can make to your brand?

Goal Idea: Make prints of work, a website redesign

8. Jobs and Career Development:
What can you do to push your career into the next step? How are you creative at your job?

Goal Idea: Take a workshop on artist resumes, get a full time arts job

9. Non-Profits and Boards: Do you want to participate in a non-profit? What non-profits and missions do you want to align yourself with?

Goal Idea: Volunteer with a local non-profit, become a board member

10. Documentation and Journaling: How do you document your process and ideas? Do you have good documentation images of your artwork in large and small file sizes?

Goal Idea: Journal daily, copyright artwork

11. New Projects:
What is a new medium you want to try or rediscover? What is a project that has been on the side that you want to begin?

Goal Idea: Pick up pottery again, learn how to screen print

12. Press and Publications:
How can you begin publishing your own content? What type of press would you like to be published in?

Goal Idea: Begin a newsletter, Write a press release and send it to your local paper

13. Community:
How do you want to make an impression in the arts and the wider community? How can you make an impact or send a message with your art?

Right: American Ipod Pot Left: Minoan Octopus Pot, Kate Renee, 2008
Goal Idea: Leave your business cards around local coffee shops, apply to the Community Supported Art (CSA)

14. Education, Skills, and Teaching: What skills do you need to improve to tackle an important goal? What are some local classes and workshops that I can attend to learn more?

Goal Idea: Attend the Giant Steps 2013 conference, teach a class or a workshop to other artists

15. Life Choices: What can you do to make yourself happier? What can you try to challenge yourself?

Goal Idea: Expand my food and music tastes, work on saying no and setting boundaries

16. Appearance: What about yourself would you change and not change?

Goal Idea: Try dying my hair a new color, dress professional for arts events

17. Exercise: What do you do to stay moving and healthy?

Goal Idea: Stretch in the morning, take a weekly aerobics class

18. Reading and Writing: How often do you read arts literature? Are your writing skills strong?

Goal Idea: Read The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, start a local artists book club

19. Social and Speaking:
How do you react to large crowds and social situations? What skills and tips can you learn and apply to your public speaking?

Goal Idea: Introduce yourself to one person art each opening, participate on an arts discussion panel

20. Grants and Finances:
What grant foundations align with your creative work? How do you manage your career and life finances?

Goal Idea: Save all of my arts and supplies receipts, set up an accounting system

21. Studio Furniture and Materials:
What tools do you use daily? What item would save time and frustration in the studio?

Goal Idea: Purchase a new cutting mat, invest in a new easel

22. Residencies:
What is a residency program that interests you? Where are you interested in traveling to?

Goal Idea: Attend an artist retreat, apply to the Vermont Studio Center Residency Program

23. Travel:
Are you interested in discovering your family history? What is your dream vacation? Where would you take an arts focused vacation?

Goal Idea: Take a weekend vacation up north, travel to France to see the Louvre

24. Collections: Which gallery or museum would you like to see your work in? What pieces would you like to add to your own collection?

Goal Idea: Own a fellow artist’s piece of art, have art in the Weisman Museum’s permanent collection

25. Collaborations: Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with? How can you collaborate with your viewers and patrons through your artwork?

Goal Idea: Create a work of art with my artist friends, Create a piece to be published alongside the written work of a known writer

26. Awards and Contests:
What award would be great on your resume? What contest do you want to participate in?

Goal Idea: Receive honorable mention in a group exhibition, receive a cash reward for a juried art show

27. Current Body of Work: What ideas, plans, and goals do you have for your current work? What is the next step you could take to push it forward?

Goal Idea: Work on a small side project, complete my larger series of paintings

28. Time Management:
Where are you loosing time? How much studio time can you commit to during the week? Are you doing too much or not enough?

Goal idea: Work on arts business activities during lunch break at work, get better rest at night so I can be ready for studio time in the morning

29. Inventory and Organization:
How do you store and categorize your artwork? Where do you keep and sort your arts paperwork?

Goal Idea: Organize my file cabinet, create a master inventory of my entire body of work

30. Commissions:
How many people approach your for custom creations? What would your ideal commissioner look like?

Goal Idea: Create a small jewelry piece, be commissioned to create another pair of custom painted wedding shoes

Accomplishing  Your Goals
There are many different strategies for assisting with achieving your goals. Here are a few ideas to try out!

Celebrating the Successes and the Steps: Don’t cross out your goals when you are done, celebrate them and respect your accomplishments! Write the date next to it if you keep your goals in a list. Or have a separate journal where you record your accomplishments and successes. You can burnout easily by trying to tick off goal after goal without realizing how much you have come along the way. If you are attempting to tackle a huge long term goal, separate it into smaller steps and celebrate accomplishing each step along the way. It will make the journey more enjoyable and seem more doable!

Sharing: Sharing is crucial! Sharing your goals with other people helps to keep you accountable. When I began my mentorship program with WARM this past December, I bought my list of goals with to share with the group. I love to set goals and analyze my dreams so I shocked everyone when I brought a 14 page packet of goals.

Making Goals into Art: Find ways to solidify your goals into fruition. In my personal quest towards reaching my goals, I have been creating works of art that encompass my goals. My recent project was making vision boards. Creating works of art or a way to keep your goals in front of you is a great visual reminder.

Wording: You can also make your goals more achievable by how you structure the wording of your goals. By changing your goal from: I am going to hand make a vision board out of collected and cut imagery and photographs.

…to a more specific goal: I am going to hand make three vision boards out of collected and cut imagery and photographs by the end of July 2013 so I can begin to apply my vision board to my career, makes you more likely to achieve your goal.

Learn how to make your goals more specific and strategic on my blog post on The Suction Cup: (

Passion, Career Vision Board, Kate Renee, 2013
Retiring Goals: If you find yourself looking at your list of goals and realizing your dreams and priorities have changed, retire your old goals. Recognize and respect that at one point they were important and full of potential. Don’t just cross off or throw out old goals. You can simply make a list of goals that you are retiring, or have a small ritual to release these old dreams like burning them, or making a piece of artwork to commemorate it.

Where do you go from here? Have fun! Set your critic aside and ask yourself what you really want to do in your career and in life. Throw in some fun goals and some easy goals to make the journey enjoyable along the way. Feel free to comment and share your own goals for 2013 below!

Kate Renee lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kate graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in fine arts, art history, and a minor in design, and has worked with various galleries and museums in the Twin Cities including the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Larson Art Gallery, American Swedish Institute and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. She designed the Solo Exhibition Program at Altered Esthetics.

Kate is building a national and international reputation with exhibitions throughout the United States. In 2013, Kate began a two year mentorship through the Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota alongside artist and mentor Jill Waterhouse. She was awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant. Kate is a frequent blogger on her artist development site and also guest blogs on sites including Local Artist Interviews. You can see Kate’s work on her website

1 comment:

Yvonne N said...

Him, thank you so much, this has really been helpful, i am a makeup artist, i was struggling with setting goals, but just reading the 30 steps has been a great help, i wish you well, thanks for sharing