Thursday, October 22, 2015

Art is Big Business

“There is no bad art because art affects us differently,” said Nduwhite Ndubisi in a message to young artists at the U.S. Embassy’s monthly International Visitor Leadership (IVLP) alumni mentoring program that occurred in September.  With the topic of mentoring young artists and creative entrepreneurship, the event exposed budding business owners to the opportunities that abound in the visual arts world.

To understand the place of art and its economic significance, Ngozi John-Uya of the National Gallery of Art reviewed the works of famous European and Nigerian artists and the worth of their work today.  She said that if handled well, the visual arts could be a revenue earner not only for the artist, but also for the nation, citing traffic to galleries and museums in developed countries as an example.  She listed other ways through which artists can earn revenue to include sales of their work, commissions, training, reproductions of original works, book illustrations, etc.

Suleiman Mohammed, another IVLP alumnus and an artist, challenged participants to come up and draw a face in five seconds.  The first person who responded to the challenge was one of the youngest at the event, a student of the Junior Secondary School, Life camp.  His attempt gave the other artists the courage to test their artistic skills.  Following this, he asked everyone in the audience to draw a picture of the person sitting next to them.  The result was quite interesting, from the very amateur to the professional, but they thoroughly enjoined the exercise.

Speaking from his own experience, Nduwhite shared what he learned thus far as an artist.  He insisted that audience members not compare their work with that of others.  Instead, he implored them to compare their old work with something new.  Nduwhite explained that although going to art school is not compulsory it can get an artist further, adding that real good work takes a long time to make.  He encouraged the young artists to be confident in their skills because “someone, somewhere will LOVE what you do (And pay for it).”


  1. What lessons can we learn from successful entrepreneurs?

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