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Welcome to Episode 19 of Artists Mean Business. This month we recognize an award winning artist, educator, and activist, Sophia Nahli Allison. Her upcoming installation and photo essay will be featured in Fall, 2013 at Columbia College Chicago (details at www.chicagograduation.tumblr.com).
Her work explores the lives of Chicago's youth and how they have been affected by the violence epidemic here in the city. Photographing every school attended by a victim of violence beginning in 2006 with the death of 14-year-old honor roll student Starkeisa Reed, these images will be presented in a grid of more than 100 schools creating an overwhelming and haunting realization that hundreds of youth have lost their lives to violence. Accompanying the piece will be audio and text commentary from youth creating a platform for their stories, opinions and voices to be heard.
With a background in teaching artistry, youth mentorship, and photo journalism, my interview with Sophia highlights some of the hot-button issues affecting the "slashers": creatives who live on both sides of the artist/educator line.
Welcome to Episode 18 of Artists Mean Business. This February we celebrate a heroine of the Chicago visual arts scene: Stephanie Dawn Burke. As an artist, her photography shows audiences unseen, although sometimes disturbing, moments in time. However, in this episode I talk with Stephanie about what it takes to be both artist and arts blogger. For those involved in Chicago's "art scene", Stephanie's blog "The Gallery Crawl and so much more..." has become a staple in our cultural diet.
If you have yet to experience The Gallery Crawl, I suggest you get familiar... www.chicagonow.com/art-talk-chicago
This month I sat down with world renown photographer, educator, and multimedia artist Matt Siber. Getting his start as a commercial artist, Siber has explored a variety of media and worn more hats than he can count.
What does Matt say is the one thing every artist entrepreneur needs to sustain their professional practice? Listen in and find out. There are no mistakes, asserts Siber, only serendipitous discoveries!
To learn more or contact Matt Siber visit
Welcome to Episode 16 of Artists Mean Business. This week I met with artist, entrepreneur, and designer extraordinaire Mattie Vandersteen, founder of MattieMade. Mattie has been hitting the Chicago craft fair scene hard, making a splash with her ecofelt onsies. She shares her experiences as a craft artist and what she wishes she had done differently. Listen in to hear best practices and how Mattie is stepping up her game after learning lessons learned the hard way.
To see Mattie's designs for yourself visit,
Welcome to Episode 15 of Artists Mean Business. This week I met with artist, writer, actor and arts administrator Andrew Micheli, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Chicago. He shares his personal opinions about how to balance your creative art-making and the need for a financial support structure. Listen in to hear Andrew share the #1 skill the arts have taught him and how his creative passions have informed his success as an arts administrator.
For more information about the Arts & Business Council or to learn about their upcoming events, visit
Welcome to Episode 14 of Artists Mean Business. This week I sat down with young entrepreneur and networking maven Rachel Cherny of Rachel Street Press. You know what they say, big things come in small packages! I'm referring to her business cards of course! Rachel is my go-to when I need anything print-related, so its only natural I have her on the show.
This self-started has some great times for anyone in a creative industry job who has always dreamed to start their own business. She has one,very simply piece of advice. Network with a purpose. What does that mean? Listen to the podcast and find out.
Mention you heard Rachel on the Artist Mean Business podcast and get a discount on your first set of business cards or fliers.
Welcome to Episode 13 of Artists Mean Business. This week, rather than focusing on an individual artist, I have instead focused on one organization in particular, LINKS HALL. Dance and performing artists listen up...this one is for you.
In this episode I speak with Shawn Lent and Debra Giunta - members of Links Hall's Associates Board. We discuss what it means to be involved in a junior or auxiliary board. Its not just about what you can do for the organization, but also what that organization can do for you. Listen in to hear why volunteering might be the next best thing for your own professional development as an artist or arts administrator.
Also, don't miss your chance to attend THAW - a night of burlesque and wild performances. Proceeds from this event go toward supporting contemporary works at Links Hall. Be sure to get your ticket before this event sells out.
@ Dank House
4740 N. Western Ave
Welcome to Episode 12 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner.
Ellyzabeth Adler, founder of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, joined us to share the success of her performance-based arts education organization, now in its 10th year! Hear her honest answers about what it takes to make it in the arts. What is the one thing every artist needs? Listen to the podcast to learn more...
After "liking" Chicago Danztheatre's page, make sure you check out their upcoming events including "Bringing House Back" on March 2nd and Youspoke.org performance on March 4th. Both of these fundraiser will help improve student access to performing arts. A wonderful way to spend your weekend!
For more info on Danztheatre visit www.Danztheatre.org
Welcome to Episode 11 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. The talented Nat Soti Joined me for this nutrient rich podcast. Listen in for a truly entrepreneurial artist who started his own business and art gallery. Now in its 10th year, Chicago Art Department is the foundation of Pilsen art scene, and a formidable collective of artists.
What Nat believes to be the key "tool" for upcoming artists is not a skill or degree, but the ability to learn new practices. Listen as he shares lessons learned on his road to success. Make sure to check out his business Zero One Projects, and the Chicago Art Department websites for upcoming events, openings, and news!
Welcome to Episode 10 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. After many months of scheduling snafus, we finally found time to connect. Tom's career as a painter and artist shows that talent and dedication truly do trump all.
As the creative hand behind one of my all time favorite political satire blogs, The Daily Punch, Tom takes cartooning to a whole new level. His cartoons make you think but his paintings make you look. Ever humble, Tom offers invaluable advice for new comers to the Chicago arts scene. "Do the work", its simple as that, he says, "Be where you want to show".
Listen to the full podcast to hear more, and remember to check out his lively blog, The Daily Punch at tomtorluemke.blogspot.com.
Welcome to Episode 9 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. I'm here after hours with Nicole Garneau, the creative mind behind the Uprising Series! We discuss what it means to live multiple lives, as artist, cultural worker, bread winner, etc. Nicole's incites offer a "this-is-how-it-is" approach, if you want to make successful art. For Nicole, success is not about how many people her works impacts, as much as its about the impact impact itself. Her words of wisdom are invaluable for anyone trying to "make it" as an artist and struggling with the age old notion of wearing multiple hats.
Nicole Garneau was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1970. She has a background in theater and is currently a performance artist based in Chicago. Nicole’s work is informed by feminism; struggle against white supremacy; the politics of the female body; sexuality; spirituality; violence against women and children; the prison-industrial complex; the death penalty; her experiences living and working in Moscow, Russia; and the 1995 Chicago heat wave disaster. She is interested in creating performance and visual art work that is directly political, critically conscious, and community building. She works in the Center for Community Arts Partnerships and is adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago.
Check her out this Wednesday, October 20th at Chicago Parlor on Clark at 11pm for Uprising #34, "Come As You Are". For more information on The Uprising series, visit, http://www.nicolegarneau.com or email Nicole directly at email@example.com.
Welcome to Episode 8 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. Taking time away from our busy schedule at the One State in the Arts Conference in Bloomington, I sat down with Kevin Coval, Spoken Word artist and co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb. We chatted about what it takes to start an art education program in this city and what it means to stay 'fresh' with your pedagogy. Download the podcast to hear Kevin's take on how Chicago schools can start improving arts education today to build successful artists for the future.
Kevin Coval's work inspires youth where they live and meets them on their turf; often juxtaposing historical poets with contemporary hip-hop artists. His work as a poet and author have earned him national recognition, serving as poet-in-residence at The Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum at The University of Illinois-Chicago and poet-in-residence at The University of Chicago’s Newberger Hillel Center.
Check out the film 'Louder Than a Bomb' or be on the look out for his upcoming book, "L-vis Lives: Racemusic Poems"
Welcome to Episode 7 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. This week I met with consultant, author, and co-director of Creator Camp Chicago, Marianna Swallow. Listen in to learn her tips and tricks for starting a new business and best practices for startups.
Marianna's skills as a facilitator and speaker are unique as she brings her talents as an actress and improv performer. Highlights of this episode include: where to take classes to improve public speaking and best practices when planning events here in Chicago.
Be sure to check out Creator Camp
Saturday May 14th at 12pm-4pm
Location: Bottom Lounge
1375 W. LAKE ST. CHICAGO IL 60607
For more info on Marianna Swallow visit
Welcome to Episode 6 of "Artists Mean Business" with Jess Kaswiner. This week I met with the founders of Sixty Inches from Center, Nicolette Caldwell and Tempestt Hazel. We discuss what it takes to start a bold new project in the contemporary art world, regardless of the skepticism that may surround us. These women are a powerhouse to be reckoned with when it comes to grassroots and underground art happenings in Chicago; there is no doubt we will be seeing more of them in the not to distant future.
To learn more about Sixty Inches from Center, visit www.sixtyinchesfromcenter.org and be sure to follow them all summer long for the WBEZ off-air series, "What is your Art" which kicks off on June 4th at the Chicago Cultural Center. Questions about SIFC? Want to participate, collaborate, and engage...contact firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @fromthecenter.
Thank you to Vladimir Zaytsev for photographing our interview, for Greenhouse Theater Center for the space to conduct the recording, and for all of my dedicated listeners... PLEASE CONTINUE SHARING THE LINK... I'd love your feedback! Contact me at email@example.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions!
Welcome to Jess Kaswiner's "Artists Mean Business" Podcast Episode 5. This week I meet with Janice Bond of SAVANT/SAVANT, sitting in the fabulous space at Creative Lounge in Wicker Park: the location for this Saturday's MO:Global POPs event (2-8pm).
Listen in as I grill this entrepreneurial maven about how she started her own business as artist representative and branding consultant. If you want to meet someone who walks the walk and talks the talk, I'd suggest you attend one of her events to get a glimpse of what she is all about. There is nothing half ass about this woman, she is truly a SAVANT when it comes to arts entrepreneurship.
Don't forget to check out her website at www.SAVANTSAVANT.com and visit us this Saturday for MO:Global POPs at the Creative Lounge (1564 N. Damen Ave. 3rd floor) from 2-8... LIVE music, Dj's Art, fashion...AND MORE!