Being an artist of any kind can be challenging financially. As a poet the general routine is to start at open mics, write more, perform more, slam, slam more, hope some host starts to like you then BAM you get booked for a feature. Features in the area usually pay anywhere from $25 – $100. There are also several opportunities where THOU ART UNPAID! Often times people will pay the DJ before they consider paying a poet. People will pay a motivational speaker of some sort before they consider a poet a motivational speaker and pay them. Poets are asked to perform in several spaces including birthday parties, schools, arts events, comedy events, etc. However, there are a select few that get paid close to what they are worth.
Upon stepping on the scene in 2010 I hit the ground running. I did my first feature unpaid. I was told by an awesome poet friend of mine “don’t do shit for free.” I didn’t listen. I wanted the exposure. I was working on getting my name out there. Other poets told me “you should slam.” So I did and I sucked at it at first! I asked for advice from several veteran poets. My goal upon entering any new realm is to learn the players and learn the game. I studied my area, found out who was who, asked questions, worked hard at my performance and writing skills. I used to tell poets “it’s not that I am particularly more talented than you are, it’s just that I have an extensive knowledge of computers.” This much is the utmost truth about me. I knew what it would take to get my name out there. By using social media and online resources the name Shelly Bell aka “She Seven” has spread further than I could have ever imagined.
At the end of 2010 I decided I no longer just want to write a poem and perform. I am irritated with being asked to do things for free or for a minimum amount of money while the DJ and host of the event get to cake up off of non-profits who claim to not have any funds. September 2010, I started Seven City Art Society, LLC. I began building a foundation of opportunities for poets to make money outside of featuring and hosting.
- Every 2nd Saturday of the month
- anyone interested poet/writer/lover of art/photographer/anyone can host one.
- Seven City Art Society promos the event, provides food & wine
- the host provides a space, helps w/promo, and a writing exercise
- $5 cover for participants
- We split the total at the end of the night
Result: folks get together, network, and do something we rarely ever do…WRITE TOGETHER!
Write Before This
- “Write Before This” can be adopted for any event and used as a way to extend a money-making workshop opportunity for your feature.
- The current event is “Write Before SpitDat
- The facilitator shows up on time with writing exercise
- $3 suggested donation for participants
- $20 for the facilitator for an hour-long workshop.
- The facilitator gets paid $20 no matter who shows up or how many donations are collected.
- I am looking to extend “Write Before This” into more workshops in different areas.
Result: we do something that also rarely happens in the DC, MD, VA area…we attend a valuable workshop!
It’s time we find more creative ways to make money doing what we love to do. If you are interested in hosting, facilitating, or attending any of these events please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com.