This past summer, Arts Education Connection San Diego partnered with San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools to introduce The Business of Art to students from Victoria School in San Ysidro and Global Academy in National City. AECSD Teaching Artist Cecelia Linayao and Program Manager Keri Jhaveri met with Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Amanda Wallace and Warner School District colleagues to gather information for a moveable mural project, which will decorate a new Maker Space for Warner students. Cecelia, a teaching and practicing artist specializing in graphic design, murals, and public art projects, worked with six students to explore how artists can build skills as business owners and entrepreneurs.
A student carefully fills in details of the moveable mural.
Students worked together as an arts company to design and create a mural according to a client’s requirements. They practiced writing a contract, negotiating the art draft review process, and delivering a product that met the clients’ needs. They also learn how to cost and source materials, how to manage their time and work collaboratively as a team. The skills students developed in this program can be included on a resume and support their preparation for college level art classes, internships, and jobs.
Cecelia intentionally designed the program using an arts company perspective to help students get into the mind set of businesspeople. She explained that once students understood the cost of paint brushes, paint, and other materials, they recognized how wasting materials cuts into the final profit of their project. Cecelia noted that students were respectful about wasting paint and caring for brushes after they helped cost the program materials.
A student adds blocks of color to the artwork.
Students worked in small groups using Canva, an online graphic design software to create four prospective designs to share with the client. AECSD staff was part of the first design review and provided feedback to help students refine their designs. Afterwards, the clients from Warner reviewed the revised designs and chose their favorite. Students were able to practice taking feedback and modifying their artwork to communicate the client’s intended message.
Cecelia also shared what she learned from the students as she mentored them through the process. “My biggest takeaway was to always be honest with the students. It was important to share my mistakes, failures, and constructive criticism even more than successes,” explained Cecelia. “It allowed the students to empathize with me and share their own. It allowed us to reframe them, put them in context, learn and move forward.”
As part of the JCCS All Staff event on August 8, 2022, Cecelia presented the program and finished mural to teachers and administrators. Cecelia shared the program successes, including how students gained soft skills like perseverance, negotiation, and self-regulation through their interaction with clients and working cooperatively. VAPA Coordinator Amanda Wallace offered the following observation, “The Business of Art illustrates the viable career options in the arts available for JCCS students. Leveraging our students’ passion for the arts with strong arts mentors from the community creates a program that encourages growth, personally as well as professionally. Having a tangible portfolio and opportunity to show their artwork in public settings has proven deeply impactful for our young people. They self-describe as artists, and this pride will carry them well past their years at JCCS.”
JCCs VAPA Technician Amanda Wallace and Principal Roberto Carillo show the final mural completed by Victoria and Global Academy students.