Art Office is a support system for artists that combines the structure of an office workplace with the atmosphere of an art studio.
Our mission is to help artists work better and more productively by prescribing a regimen based on personal responsibility, peer accountability, and public engagement.
Here’s How it Works
You are an artist. You struggle to self-motivate, when it comes to your creative practice. You hear about Art Office and submit an application (link available on the “Membership” page of our website). You are interviewed (over Zoom) to determine whether or not you would be a good fit for the program. Turns out, you meet all the criteria, and there is a spot available, so you’re accepted as a member for the upcoming session. Each session is unique; previous members of Art Office are permitted to reapply, but are not guaranteed a spot.
Most Art Office members have joined for one of two reasons: to supercharge their creative practice in general, or to put the heat on a specific project. Both/either of these reasons are perfectly legitimate, but it’s good to determine which arena you’ll be working in beforehand. Different goals require different approaches.
Once you’re accepted, you’re walked through New Hire Orientation (via Zoom), and mailed a copy of the Employee Handbook, as well as an official Art Office lanyard badge and lapel pin. Each session is typically three months, and each team consists of eight or fewer artists and one manager.
The following is the weekly schedule for all Art Office members. It is completely understood that you may have another job and other obligations that will keep you from being able to attend all meetings and events. It is also strongly encouraged that–– if you want to get the most out of the program–– you make every attempt to be as involved as possible. For the sake of standardization, Monday and Wednesday meetings are classified as mandatory. Three “no-call, no-shows” will result in immediate termination from the program.
Monday 10:00AM ……………. Goals & Review Meeting
Tuesday 10AM-12PM ………. In-Studios
Wednesday 10AM-12PM …. Open Studios
Thursday 10AM-12PM …….. In-Studios
Friday 5:00PM …………………. Happy Hour
Every Monday, all members get together in Zoom to share their weekly goals and the previous week’s progress. The conversation is round-table, and cross-talk is discouraged until everyone has shared. A worksheet is provided to everyone prior to the meeting, to organize and prioritize goals and progress throughout the week.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, members are invited to join a Zoom session for In-Studio Hours, which is exactly what it sounds like–– think of it as a scheduled “shift.” Everyone comes to work, to work. The energy of simply having your peers around you, all working on their own art, is palpable!
Every Wednesday, you’ll be invited with the rest of your team to join a live broadcast! That’s right, Open Studios is another Zoom session (posted through Facebook Live) where the public gets to take a peek inside your studio, and see what you’re working on, as you’re working on it! The manager will introduce the session and what it’s about, and then everyone gets to work. The rest of the time is muted, but the public are encouraged to ask questions and give feedback in the comments section. These two hours each week are hands-down when we get the most work done. There is nothing like having an audience to kick you into high gear!
Every Friday, we have a Happy Hour, to wind down and get social. Zoom offers breakout rooms, so if you want to talk about something specific with someone specific, you can have your own mini-meeting “behind closed doors,” and of course rejoin the group at any time.
At the end of every session, Zoom (and Facebook Live) host our Final Show. Each member is spotlighted for a time, and they can choose to present themselves however they want. This is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to the public, and show them what you’ve been working on–– whether that’s a specific project or your overall creative practice.
So that’s the skeleton of how it works, but let me tell you a little bit more. There are some fun features that give Art Office some real substance. First of all, we are big proponents of the idea that your creativity is interconnected to your physical body. So we require that you take two calisthenics breaks every work day. You may tailor your own, or use the suggested regimen on the “Calisthenics” page of our website. No matter how you choose to exercise your body, it will affect your productivity. Guaranteed.
Another delightful aspect of Art Office is that we pay you! Well, that’s a bit misleading. Here’s how this optional feature works: each member artist may set their own “worth rate.” This is literally what you’ve decided your work is worth (hourly). For the sake of simplicity, we request that you choose just one figure. If you work in multiple creative arenas with different pay rates, we ask that you select the median.
If you choose to participate, you’ll keep track of your hours throughout the week (Sunday through Saturday), and submit them to your manager by the end of the day Sunday. I will then mail you a “check-voucher” of your “earnings.” This check is, obviously, not real, however, it is a real voucher. Every hour worked represents one dollars’ worth of discounted studio-cubicle rental in the future iteration of a brick-and-mortar Art Office! If you work twenty hours every week for a full three-month session, that’s $240! Plus, the checks are fun to look at–– a reminder of how much you’re really worth, regardless of whether or not you’re raking it in yet.
Art Office members are also invited to use the app Slack together. Slack is a workplace app where there are chatrooms designated for specific things, like critique, meeting questions, sharing art, individual chats, skill sharing, etc. It’s not required that you use it, but it can be very helpful.
Oh! And one last thing–– we do Employee of the Month! This honor goes to the employee who has followed the program best.
Art Office has gone through several morphs and moltings since coming into the world. It’s a new thing, with little-to-no existing comparisons, so we remain a flexible experiment of sorts, adding on elements and ideas that make sense, and pruning overgrowth or dead ends where needed. That being said, the skeletal foundation of the concept has stayed the same throughout its young life. And that’s because it works. The regimen we prescribe is and will always be based on personal responsibility, peer accountability, and public engagement.
Ready to apply? We’re always accepting applications! Head over to the “Membership” tab to learn more, and follow us on social to find out when our next session begins!