The Grind

 Current Syllabus

Spring 2021

Course Description

The retail habits of the public are shifting. The American Mall is dying, the function of critique is insular, and more and more people look to their friends rather than art professionals for guidance concerning art and aesthetics.  The failure of chain stores to adapt, and the sluggishness of property owners to realize that radical change in the way we view commerce is necessary is threatening our survival as artists and craftspeople. Emerging fine artists sometimes find it difficult to compete with more established street artists in high traffic festivals and programs.  This course will focus on how to disrupt the capitalist art market, how to navigate the alternative craft and fair markets and how to sell your work directly to the public without professional representation.  Students will learn the underlying issues of power and privilege of the art market, logistics of setting up a booth, applying to juried fairs and doing the research necessary to decide which events or festivals might be a good fit for their work to.  This class will illuminate strategies for students as they transition to the world outside schools such as developing a creating a customer base,  pricing your work, interacting with potential clients and negotiating commissions.  How do our decisions affect who will have access to our work, and what are the various roles of a community artist?  This course examines both conceptual questions, and on the ground retail experience in a number of venues ranging from street markets to shopping malls, and will aid students in the development of the skills set necessary to those who wish to supplement their income through the sale of the Arts and or crafts they have learned to produce at CCA.

Each class builds on information gleaned from the previous sessions, so attendance is mandatory. There are multiple field trips required for the completion of this course, so you will be required to attend some off-campus events which may occur on weekends. If your work schedule or other class commitments prevent you from being available, please let me know and accommodations can be made. 


A commitment to responsibly engage with the public and art markets, or coworkers in settings where cooperation and teamwork are required for success.  We will investigate  the constructions of racial/ethnic, gender/sexual, and socioeconomic identity and learn tools for navigating their intersectionality

To educate and inform students about the contributions of historically underrepresented, indigenous, immigrant, and forced migratory communities to American arts, history, culture, and society, and study which ways they have influenced markets.

To introduce students to the interrelations between global communities and the impact of race/ethnicity and cultural formation to art making and design practices. 

To facilitate critical thinking and effective functioning artists in an increasingly complex and diverse U.S. society by developing an understanding of the historical and cultural achievements of diverse communities to the arts in specific and society as a whole, and to our potential contribution to domestic and international art culture.


This is a multidisciplinary seminar with an emphasis on artistic production as connected to emerging and existing alternative art markets.  We will explore traditional methods of inquiry and become familiar with ideas associated with communities, and learn skills for interacting with customers, coworkers and hopefully the enrichment of our personal relationships. As part of your active participation as a student, you are expected to engage with the exercise assignments, workshops, readings, discussions directed to expand our awareness. Therefore, this class requires vulnerability, respect, honesty, and discipline.

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