Jamaica-based Art Producer and visionary behind upcoming Artist Commissioning Program event Hustle for Your Worth sat down with QCA to talk about the role of an art producer, professional development for artists, and the relationship between arts practitioners and community.

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Held on friday, May 3 from 5 - 7pm
at Jamaica Central Library,
Hustle for Your Worth
is a free professional development event
for artists and community members
covering the topics of Art Law, Branding,
Finance, and Networking.
Read more and RSVP below!

QCA: Tell us about yourself! What made you want to be part of the Artist Commissioning Program?

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LaNeese Ray: I am a dancer and choreographer who was born and raised in Queens. I grew up training and finding my love for dance and the arts here, so this is where it all started for me. The Artist Commissioning Program is a great way to connect with fellow artists, provide support to them using the knowledge I've learned over the years, and develop myself on the opposite side of the art.

I started college and my career at the same time outside of New York and it took me leaving home to ignite a fire in me because I no longer had my comfort zone. It was great for me to leave but I feel it's always great to give back to a community that gave so much to you.

For more about Laneese, read her full bio here.

The Artist Commissioning Program is a great way to connect with fellow artists, provide support to them using the knowledge I’ve learned over the years, and develop myself on the opposite side of the art.
— LaNeese Ray

QCA: After selecting the artist grantees through a panel process, the ACP enters this sort of artist-support and event-planning phase. What sorts of things have you been up to recently as an Art Producer representing Jamaica?

As art producers, we have the experience of being invited to see the creative process of the grantees’ projects .

LaNeese: Right now I have been working on organizing the Hustle for Your Worth event.

 I've booked speakers and guests for the event that I think will benefit the community. I've also been able to collaborate with some of my fellow art producers and the grantees for the event as well.

As art producers, we also have the experience of being invited to see the creative process of the grantees' projects and we're starting to see what the artists have been working on since they received their grants. We give any feedback or assistance that they ask for to make their premieres a success.

QCA: As an art producer, you were tasked with organizing an event for the Artist Commissioning Program. Why did you decide to organize a professional development workshop? Do you see professional practices for artists as a discrete need in our field?

When I was brainstorming the type of  event that I wanted to organize...I knew I wanted to do something not only for the grantees but for the artist community. Professional Development is so important for artists because we work in an industry that is constantly evolving with the times.

LaNeese: When I was brainstorming the type of  event that I wanted to organize, I felt the most passionate about having a professional development workshop.

I knew I wanted to do something not only for the grantees but for the artist community. Professional Development is so important for artists because we work in an industry that is constantly evolving with the times. No matter how great your message is or how great your work is, if you don't adapt with the times that you live in it is easy to not find the connection with the audience that you want to reach.

Artists are always working on their art and I wanted to have an event that helped to give resources that help developed the business of their craft as well. It can take years to find out exactly how you want to introduce your art to the world and there will be many trials and errors to get to a place where you not only see growth but also build longevity.

QCA: For your event, Hustle for Your Worth, you chose to focus on the topics of branding, vision boards, art law, and finance for artists. What made you decide on these topics?

LaNeese: Being around artists that were trying to establish themselves, some of the biggest discussions that always occur were the lack of knowledge on how to negotiate or draft a contract that works for them. Artists also struggle finding ways to promote themselves and their work using the technology that is out now especially in New York where there is a huge saturation of artists. It can be really frustrating and scary because sometimes you don't know where to start. We're in an age where getting the information is so easy because of Google and smartphones, but can we say it's always truthful and helpful information?

QCA: What can participants expect for the Hustle for Your Worth event? How do you see the evening unfolding?

LaNeese: Participants can expect to ask questions and find out information about topics such as Art Law, Branding, Finance, and Networking from people that truly live and breathe it and know it inside and out. They can also expect to be introduced to the Artist Commissioning Program Grantees for the Jamaica community (Kerri Edge and Y? Guyadin), learning how these artists were able to create a brand that resonated with the art producers, and will get one-on-one time to talk to them.

QCA: What do you hope that Jamaica-based artists and community members walk away with after this workshop?

I hope [artists] walk away feeling like they found a community... sometimes people need to find their tribe, and I hope any Jamaica artists that attends realizes their own community wants to support what they do.

LaNeese: I hope that they walk away feeling like they found a community that genuinely will help and support them. I hope that they not only find some information to enhance their work but find a network of like minded people through not only the speakers but the other guests that attend as well.

Sometimes people need to find their tribe, and I hope any Jamaica artists that attends realizes that their own community wants to support what they do.


LaNeese’s Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) event, Hustle for Your Worth,
will take place at jamaica central library (main plaza) on may 3, 2019 from 5 - 7pm. event is free and open to the public.

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