February 2018

By Megan Lightell

Beeman Park (Winter), Oil on canvas over panel, 48” x 48” x 2.5”

The Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training program by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville is an intensive training opportunity that empowers working artists to see their vision through an entrepreneurial lens. The program gives artists the tools to organize, plan, and find strategies to thrive economically, with the goal of preparing artists to take their careers to the next level.

Participants meet weekly for business seminars and group mentoring sessions tailored to address the needs of arts professionals. At the conclusion of the program, each artist is paired with a business mentor to continue defining their goals and has the opportunity to present their work at the public “Pitch” event.

I applied to Periscope hoping to refine the business aspects of my studio practice. Though I had been working professionally as a painter for nearly two decades, I needed to make the studio practice more financially consistent. The program provided benefits far beyond spreadsheets and entrepreneurial advice, however.

Periscope changed the way I thought about how my work relates to the wider community and the way I talk about and share my work with others. Setting aside regular time with other artists and mentors to discuss goals in a structured way is powerful for many artists who are accustomed to the isolation of the studio. For me, Periscope brought clarity in setting priorities and created a renewed sense of community.

Cornelia Fort Evening, Oil on canvas over panel, 48” x 48” x 2.5”

Since completing the Periscope program, I exhibited Saving Space, a series of pieces based on sites protected by the Land Trust for Tennessee that was shown at Zeitgeist Gallery in late fall 2017. Through sponsorship by Southwest Airlines, I was able to travel to Colorado on a painting trip and to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. I also reached a goal set during the program of completing a National Parks artist residency and recently began a residency locally at the Downtown Presbyterian Church.

The greatest benefit from Periscope has come from the connection and input from other artists as we create a more vibrant city through the arts. I would encourage anyone who is seeking to grow both the practical aspects of their work and their sense of community to apply and contribute to this program.

Ready to take your creative career to the next level? Applications for the Arts & Business Council’s Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training program are now open. Learn more and apply now at www.abcnashville.org.



Megan Lightell; Photograph by Alexandra Miller-Knaack

Megan Lightell is a Nashville-based visual artist whose work explores the complex, personal relationship humans have with land. Megan is a 2016 graduate of the Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training program and received the Pitch Perfect award at the culminating Pitch event. Find out more about Megan and her work at meganlightell.com


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