We know firsthand that being a self-employed creative takes more than talent; you need business skills. Unfortunately, those skills are rarely taught in traditional arts education. BlackPaint’s Creative Leaders Fellowship aims to fill that gap by teaching aspiring creative leaders the entrepreneurial skills needed to run an independent practice or small business. This intensive, four-month program is structured like a graduate-level class with a curriculum that covers everything from finances and contracts to branding and client communication, and culminates with a capstone presentation to community leaders. It also offers mentorship beyond the program.
Launched in 2017, the fellowship was born from our own experiences with inequity in the art and advertising industries and from our belief that the most effective way to change the culture is by bringing more historically underrepresented people into ownership roles. That’s why applicants who identify as BIPOC, queer, transgender, non-binary and/or women have been given priority since day one.
Fellowships are open to Milwaukee-based designers and visual artists who have been practicing their craft professionally for a minimum of three years and who have a serious interest in being a creative entrepreneur in the near future or recently became one. Besides looking for talent and leadership potential, we’re also looking for candidates who already have a business idea and are committed to creating a safer and more equitable creative industry for others.
We accept 2-4 fellows a year, all at the same time. The fellowship includes a stipend to invest in their business and requires a time commitment of ten hours a week. Applications, when open, are posted above in our jobs listings.