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Renowned Artist, Kate Spencer K’79, Gives Workshops to Students in Art Concentrations


Kate Spencer K’79 came to campus last week to host two separate student workshops on careers in the arts. Her first workshop, “Launching a Career as a Professional Artist with Kate Spencer,” was a presentation and a Q & A about presenting oneself professionally across artistic fields. Her second workshop, “The Six Elements for Financial Success in the Arts” gave students a list of ways in which they can jumpstart their artistic careers post-graduation.

Spencer, also known by her artistic name, Katherine Tyler Faison, is a professional visual artist based out of New Zealand. A Kirkland student, Spencer has taught many courses to artists about how they can successfully make a living. In addition to her work, Spencer is currently the CEO of FUSE Arts Business Initiative.

During her first workshop, Spencer was asked what it means to be a successful artist. She responded that “being a successful artist is about attitude.” To sell and create art, Spencer says that it is important to have a message that drives you and to be confident in the outcome. She instructed students that one of the most important things to be as an artist is “collaborative and proactive.”

In her second workshop, Spencer outlined different elements that will ensure financial success across all artistic disciplines. Spencer’s entrepreneurial experiences in New Zealand have taught her that in order to sell your work, you must create positions in your community, open galleries, and seek funding. She specifically lays out six timeless and essential factors for attainment. These six factors included networking, presentation, marketing, organizational systems, knowledge of finance, and sponsorships.

The room was full of a diversity of talented students with concentrations in creative writing, music, art, and theatre. Spencer spoke about the importance of thickening one's skin and preparing one's ego when entering an art career path. She emphasized the importance of innovation, flexibility and being a conscious salesperson.  

Spencer encouraged students to “Fail big. Fail small. But do your own thing, because that is what’s going to be unique and set you apart.”

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