Andrea Bogart was always a creative. What she didn’t expect was a love for the business side of it as well.
“It was fascinating because I didn’t know I could do it, I didn’t know I would love it, which is really strange as an artist,” said Bogart, who runs Detroit Art & Business Institute and Embrace Creatives. “I kind of enjoyed the data, the research, the spreadsheets, the organization, and I was able to marry both sides of my brain.”
Her first foray into business came when she was in New York, where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, long before she would come home and start DABI and Embrace Creatives.
While working in the fashion industry as an executive for Isaac Mizrahi and Perry Ellis, Bogart – who is an illustrator, but has worked in many different mediums – dove head-first into the business end of wholesale fashion.
It was when she was doing trunk sales selling jewelry that the idea of coaching artists about professional development and business strategies was born, areas she discovered few artists knew much about.
“It felt really good to educate them, see them succeed, even through small steps, and empowering them, bring them confidence and clarity, which a lot of us don’t have outside of our studio,” she said.
Bogart moved back to Michigan – she’s lived in Birmingham for four years – launching DABI and teaching workshops at the Detroit Artists Market.
How were those first workshops?
“Scary, great…I am not used to having 40 eyes on me,” she laughed. “But I find once I get into it, it’s not about me anymore, it’s not about me being scared, I’m pushing through that fear and I’m like hey, if I don’t do this, I can’t help people.
“What I’m trying to do is teach artists that this is a business relationship,” she continued. “This is not just creativity.”
Bogart knows not everyone has the time to meet in-person – she also does speaking engagements and one-on-one sessions – so she also offers online workshops and webinars.
After DABI was established, Bogart founded Embrace Creatives allowing artists to get in touch with professional art buyers. “It’s a safe space where you can be with people who get you.”
It’s a one-stop shop for both emerging and professional artists, where they can upload things like resumes, artist statements, and portfolios.
To say Bogart is busy would be a vast understatement.
Currently, she’s working with municipalities in Wayne and Oakland counties to bring creative, professional development to their cities, and talking with people in Battle Creek to bring DABI and Embrace Creatives there. She’s working on bringing a wholesale show for handmade items – fine art, crafts, and fashion – that Bogart is hoping to do next year. There’s also the A-List, a talent directory she’s building for Embrace Creatives, which will be based on artists’ creativity, craftsmanship, and professionalism, with artists ranked based on those three things. Oh, and Embrace Creatives curates two art galleries at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, where Bogart is working on setting up a portfolio review for artists this fall.
Bogart would love to eventually hire educators to teach her courses around the region too, and hopes to one day have different Embrace Creatives hubs in across the country.
Her most ambitious goal though? Global domination. Kidding, kind of.
“I would love to franchise across the country to teach people how to profit from their passion,” she said.
Photo: Laurie Tennent