Founder of the ART MBA Programme
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Five years after graduating from college and working in the arts, I could not pay my bills and was struggling financially. Even though I had a great resume at that point and had the best intentions of doing well in my industry, I was not surviving. My life was pretty simple and bleak and I did not have the money or the freedom to enjoy life like others around me in different industries seemed to be. I was working non-stop and barely making any money and felt sad and frustrated. Going out to dinner or going shopping to buy something? Forget about it! I had massive credit card debt that was piling up monthly and I was living paycheck to paycheck and barely scrapping by.
I was paying for student loans, credit card bills, rent, utility bills and for food. I was about to throw in the towel and listen to my family and everyone around me that told me I would end up as a “starving artist” if I chose to go into the arts. After five years of struggle I realized they might be right and that something had to change. This was not how I imagined creating a career in the artworld.
The problem was that I knew my authentic calling was to be in the artworld. I had studied art and painting and loved making things. I had worked in museums and for galleries and also loved that work. I had worked for artists in New York and loved being part of their creative process. I had a moment of clarity where I asked myself “If I am not making any money in the arts then who is?” I realized that the top artists were doing well that were showing in major galleries as well as the museum directors, gallery owners and the people that were leading their own careers. I decided to start exploring this and to finally read a business book. I went to a local bookstore in Philadelphia heading straight to the business section with the intention of finding a book that was 1. Not too big and complicated to read and 2. Had an interesting title and subject. I found that book, went home and read it and it changed my thinking and my trajectory. I realized that no one had really explained the idea of being an “owner” of a business vs. an “employee” or a combination of both. Reading Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” laid out this concept fully and I had my aha moment. I did an analysis of the work that I enjoyed doing and realized that I had to make a choice. I had my answer. I would pause on grad school and open a gallery. I would become an “owner” of my business and put my future in my own hands or at least for one year with signing my first business lease. What happened in 2001 and what has happened since in the past nineteen years has been challenging, wonderful and exciting.
I have had incredible business and life experiences since 2001 when I opened my gallery, Bridgette Mayer Gallery. If you had asked me even ten years ago to list what I would have accomplished, I never would have dreamed of what I have built and created. I had to take massive action, educate myself around things that were not working well or things I was uncertain about and I had to build my success, brick by brick, day by day. Once made the commitment to open a gallery and stay in the artworld, I did not want to fail. I paid off all my debt pretty quickly, started learning about building financial and business success and today have a top gallery and consulting practice in the United States. I have been featured on CNN, in the New York Times Magazine and featured as one of the top 500 galleries in the world by Modern Painters Magazine. I have invested thousands of dollars in working with top level executive coaches, working on my business and in my own professional development and have created a life and career I am immensely proud of. (If you want to learn my early life journey and how I got started you can read my book, “The Art Cure”.) I have learned and practiced hundreds of business ideas that I am finally in a life position to share with creatives around me who want to get to the next level. Building a successful career as a creative is possible and I can help you create a career that you are excited about and proud of! Join me on my journey.