Short Term Practicum in the Business of The Arts

Lead Instructor: Sara Juli

photo credit Brett Deutsch

Course Overview: This practicum examines the practical and administrative aspects of a profession and life in the Arts (performing, visual and other). Topics include: speaking articulately about your work, budgeting basics, marketing your work, building a sustainable fundraising program that fits your artistic practice, cultivating relationships with key industry professionals, pitching your artistry, among other topics. Guest Artists and Arts Administrators from Boston, NYC and Southern Maine will join us with informative presentations that shed light on the practicalities and realities of being a professional artist.  Please note that the principles of this class are applicable to students interested in pursuing the arts both full-time and part-time, and/or would like to generate sustainable income from their artistic practice.  Over the course of the five weeks, students will construct a hands-on plan and accompanying budget focused on developing and executing a plan for a life in the arts.  By the end of the course, participants will be better prepared to perform the business tasks expected of arts professionals aimed at promoting your work, funding it and growing artistically within the larger arts landscape.  Please note: This class is applicable to those students interested in pursuing a career in the Arts full-time, however, if you’re considering a “day job” in a separate field, but want to pursue your artistry part-time with some level of professionalism, then this class is also for you!!!

Sara Juli has been named the 2017 Maine Fellow for the Performing Arts by the Maine Arts Council, and is a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Touring Award.

Meeting Times: T/Th/Fr 9-12 & 1-2

Learning Objectives:

This course will help students achieve the following five learning objectives:

  1. Understand the key principles around promoting and networking within and outside a competitive artistic environment.
  2. Build and maintain a financial budget geared towards artistic success over the long–term.
  3. Develop writing skills around a craft, and apply those skills to grant, fellowship and residency opportunities.
  4. Understand the realities, challenges and opportunities of pursuing a life as an artist.
  5. Design an actual plan, complete with budget, on how to build forward artistic momentum both creatively and administratively (designed to fit students’ pace for pursuing art alongside a second career).
Photo credit Rachelle Roberts

“The Money Conversation” by Sara Juli. Photo credit Rachelle Roberts

Course Products – Students will:

  • Develop a 2-5 year plan for pursuing their artistic craft:
    • beginning either during college or after graduation (tailored to student’s preference)
  • Create an accompanying multi-year budget projecting how much money they need to have annually in order to pursue their artistry with focus and rigor.  
    • Research fellowship, residency and grant opportunities to cull necessary opportunities to life as an artist.  
    • Look at opportunities in various cities to help determine next steps.  
  • Create an elevator pitch, mission statement and vision statement.
    • These will form the basis of language developed around their art form.
    • These statements will be “pitched” to the class for feedback from instructor and peers.  
  • Leave the course with a multi-pronged plan in place along with enhanced written and oral skills surrounding the promotion of their work.

Lead Instructor Biography:

SARA JULI has been creating and performing innovative solo work since 2000. Her work has been performed in numerous New York City venues including Performance Space 122, Danspace Project, Movement Research at Judson Church, 92nd St. Y, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Joe’s Pub as part of the Dancenow/NYC Festival, Joyce Soho, Bushwick Starr, and Dixon Place among others. Nationally, her work has been performed at the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Napa Valley Opera House, Connecticut College, UC Riverside, Artown Reno, SPACE Gallery, 3S Artspace, Franco American Heritage Center, The Dance Complex, and numerous others.

In February 2006, she created and performed her first full-evening solo show, The Money Conversation, where she gave away her life savings ($5,000 in cash), in a sold-out run at Performance Space 122 in NYC. The Money Conversation was an instant hit and toured nationally and internationally from 2007 to 2012 to sold-out houses in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, London, Russia, and around the United States. The piece received notable press coverage in The New York Times, The New York Post, and Time Out (New York and New Zealand), on Fox Five News and National Public Radio, and in major publications, television, and radio spots abroad.

Her fundraising consulting practice, Surala Consulting, advises national artists and non-profits on strategic fundraising solutions. Sara was awarded the Arts Management Award from Brooklyn Arts Exchange in 2013 and is an Advisory Board member of The Field in NYC and Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME where she also taught, The Business of Dance in summer 2015 and 2016. She graduated with honors from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, with degrees in Dance and Anthropology.

After 15 years in NYC, Sara relocated to Portland, ME in 2014, with her husband and two kids and is creating and touring new solo work in addition to building her consulting practice. Sara is a recipient of a 2015-16 New England Foundation for the Arts NEST Touring Grant, a New England Dance Fund Grant and is a 2017-18 National Dance Project recipient for touring support of her show, Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis. Sara is a 2017 Maine Fellow for the Performing Arts. Tense Vagina is represented by Elsie Management. You can learn more about Sara at