Feb 7, 2008

NYFA Live meeting


I recently learned about NYFA Live. It is a $45 dollar 50 minute one-on-one consultancy where you meet with an advisor who talks about what to do next in your career. I found out about it on NYFA's website in the "NYFA Learning Workshops" section, or go here (you need to sign in to NYFA to reach that page).

I was excited by this prospect. One of the downsides of the Goldsmiths MFA program is that they offer no vocational training. They don't teach you how to write statements or applications, or how to think strategically about advancing your art career. They focus on the art, and leave it up to the artist to figure out how to make art a career.

I went for my NYFA Live session today. I met with Nick Stillman. He was smart, informed, and juggling with many of the same issues I juggle with, so I felt it was a useful match.

Nick offered several good pointers. In addition to the work I was already doing, he suggested I look for residency opportunities outside of the city, particularly the smaller residencies, since they are a good place to meet artists and network, and from there you can move to larger residencies. Nick also suggested I should sign up for curated artist registries such as The Drawing Center and White Columns. He felt that the open artists websites were much less useful.

He was very encouraging about my practice, saying he thought the work was strong, he liked the statement I showed him. Overall, it was a good pep talk, and gave me confidence that I was doing essentially the right things.

However, meeting with one person once for 50 minutes is not really enough - what you really want is meetings every three or four months with the same advisor. For example, meeting with an advisor who knows your work to review a major application just before it is due would be amazing. A single session with someone who doesn't know your work can only provide general guidelines, the kind of things that can easily be gleaned from the web.

Update: I tried to schedule a followup meeting with Nick a few months later, unfortunately he has left NYFA. I'm glad I did the NYFA Live session, but I don't really think it is worth the money and I probably won't do another.