Business 101 Training for Folk and Traditional Artists

by Jun 15, 2020Blog

New York Folklore is offering a series of workshops related to teaching business and marketing skills to folk artists.

This virtual series is open to twelve individuals/traditional artists and will involve online webinars conducted through Zoom. Each webinar will take place over a 2-hour time slot for a total of 8 hours of “classroom” instruction with Karen Berelowitz, of Karmabee.  This introductory webinar will be held on four Tuesdays in July 2020: July 7, 14, 21, 28, from 4 – 6 p.m.

The series will be offered free of charge. Entry is by application. Artists must commit to the totality of the series, with those completing the entire series to be guaranteed an honorarium of $250.00  plus an opportunity to showcase your work– either online or at the New York Folklore Gallery in Schenectady.

About The Instructor:

Karen Berelowitz of Karmabee has taught this series in the Hudson Valley, including twice at Arts Mid-Hudson. A native of South Africa, Karen developed her small art business over the past decade, selling at crafts fairs, on, and at local stores. In 2011, she opened my own studio and store in the historic waterfront Rondout district of Kingston, NY, where she also sold handmade items by local artists and craftspersons. In 2016 she closed the store but continues to operate Karmabee from her home studio.

The instructional schedule is as follows:

  1. July 7, 2020        Developing Your Brand
  2. July 14, 2020      Marketing and Social Media, Part I
  3. July 21, 2020      Marketing and Social Media, Part II and Valuing Your Expertise
  4. July 28, 2020      Business Requirements, Taxes, and Record-Keeping

After the initial series of general business and marketing practices, participants can choose to continue, selecting specialized training in three specific tracks. Artists can choose to take any combination of two sessions for a total of three hours, as each additional session is offered in 1.5-hour segments. Attendance for the topic areas will be capped at 6 per session. If there is overwhelming interest, an additional session will be added.

Specialized Training:

  • A. Resources for material culture or culinary/foodways artists.  How to use online platforms such as Etsy,  working with crafts fairs, selling to stores, pricing your goods, sourcing materials, showing your work. Instructor: Karen Berelowitz.

Section A will be held for two additional Tuesdays: August 4 and 11: 4:30 – 6 p.m.

  • B. Resources for performing artists.  Assessing virtual and live platforms for performing, generating income opportunities through ticket sales vs. asking a set fee vs. a virtual tip jar, effective marketing for bookings, how to manage merchandise sales during and after performances, working in “non-traditional” venues (libraries, museums, schools, historical societies), how to plan a concert (house concerts vs coffee house vs concert hall), and more. Instructor: Dave Ruch

Section B will be held for two Wednesdays: August 5 and 12: 3 – 5 p.m.

  • C. Resources for teaching artists.  Working within classroom settings (virtual or in-person), strategies for self-presentation, making curriculum connections. Instructor: Lisa Rathje of Local Learning: the National Network for Folk Arts in Education

Section 3 will be held for two days the first week in August:  Monday, August 3 and Thursday, August 6.  3:00 – 4:30 p.m.

The Opportunity Stipend:

At the end of the 6 week series, the participants will request support for an opportunity, for which they will receive a $250.00 honorarium.  Examples of the final funded opportunity could be a gallery showing (virtual or live), a presentation of some aspect of your work, a concert (virtual or live), or support towards placing work on a platform such as Etsy.

For further information, please contact Elinor Levy at or call New York Folklore at 518-346-7008 and speak to Ellen McHale, Executive Director.

To register for the series, click here:  Register

This professional development opportunity is supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.