QUESTION: Artist and Mentor Ann Rea; San Francisco California, USA
QUESTION: Who is Ann Rea?
Ann Rea: Hi there, my name is Ann Rea and this is Rebel Ray and I’m the creator of the MAKING Art Making MONEY program, and I’m also an artist. I just wanted to say hello because usually what I do is I show my students faces. And this week I wanted to show you mine, and talk to you a little bit about this subject; which is why art schools hate me so much.
QUESTION: Why do you only show your students?
Ann Rea: My students are my brand’s hero. I never wanted to build a “personal brand” for the MAKING Art Making MONEY program. I wanted to really showcase the accomplishments of my students. But this week I’m making an exception.
QUESTION: Why are you making an exception?
Ann Rea: I want to talk to you about the reason why the top 42 art and design schools in North America hate my guts. (Well, apparently she doesn’t) And give you a little bit of background on how I learned this.
QUESTION: Do you mean all art schools?
Ann Rea: I do want to say that I do have tenured art school professors in my program, including Harvard Faculty, and this message is not at all directed to them. This isn’t a black and white thing, but it was pretty startling; the response that I got.
QUESTION: What happened?
Ann Rea: I reached out to the top 42 art and design schools in North America by writing them a letter and proposing that I offer their alumni, not their students, but their alumni, some free classes and then if the students were so inclined they could apply to enroll in this program. So in my mind it really set up a win-win scenario.
QUESTION: What was the response?
Ann Rea: So I sent out the letters and I followed each and every one of them up with a personal phone call and I got one of three responses. The first response was hate! I mean really rude, caustic behavior, and if you’re one of those art schools who got my letter, you know who you are, and as they say ‘the path to hell is paved with good intentions’.
QUESTION: What was the other responses?
Ann Rea: Some art schools, and you know who you are, tried to actually steal my program. They wanted access to the entire program and everything that I have copyright on. I said “No! you should know better.”
QUESTION: What was the other response?
Ann Rea: The third response was they actually, (and this is a much smaller group of people who were already following me and loved the whole idea) but the problem was the title MAKING Art Making MONEY and I talked at length to one woman, who was actually lovely, who headed the career office and an art school, a well known art school, and she said, I would absolutely love to offer this resource to our alumni. But the problem is is that if I go to our administration and I put MAKING Art Making MONEY in the same sentence, I could lose my job.
QUESTION: Why do artists need this education?
Ann Rea: There is nothing more affirming for an artist than to sell their art. They have every right to earn a living.
QUESTION: Why are some artists conflicted?
Ann Rea: They think that somehow if they sell their art, they’ll compromise the integrity of what they’re creating. Look, I’m all for, and I absolutely believe that you must maintain your integrity. You must maintain your values if you’re going to be happy, but they don’t understand about the 4-Part Code. So I get their confusion.
QUESTION: How do you know what art professors think?
Ann Rea: I have tenured art professors in this program who have admitted to me that they have a requirement to show their work at curated exhibitions. Do they ever sell their work? No, they don’t and their colleagues don’t either. And if anybody does they’re often met with a lot of really just harsh and destructive criticism.
QUESTION: What happened to you in art school?
Ann Rea: I’ve always had a rub with the art establishment and arts schools
QUESTION: What happened?
Ann Rea: My experience when I was an industrial design student, and this was many years ago, was that it was mostly white men who were in the program. There were a couple of minorities and there were a few women and we all started to complain to one another that we weren’t getting enough time and attention from our art professors and we weren’t getting valuable internships. Internships are pretty important when you’re an industrial design student because they can lead to a permanent job. I found my own internships and it worked out, but I realized that we were just sitting there bitching and moaning about not getting enough time and attention from our professors and we weren’t really doing anything about it
QUESTION: What did you do?
Ann Rea: So I said; hey, why don’t you just simply all log the amount of time that you get with each professor and then log the time that the other students who they favor were getting. So we did that and we just showed them the math. Oh my God.
QUESTION: What happened to you?
Ann Rea: The head of the design department at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Mr. Hess, tried to get all of my scholarships pulled, and fortunately, the man who ran the student aid department made me aware of it. So I approached Mr. Hess and I asked him to come to lunch with me and then I suggested that he order a Martini.
QUESTION: Why did he need a drink?
Ann Rea: I said: I’m going to be real straight with you. You either restore my scholarships and you do it today, or I’m just going to take this to the press and I’m going to take these time logs to the press. It’s going to be a fascinating story. It’s not only going to hurt the Cleveland Institute of art, it’s going to hurt your design firm. So lo and behold, that same day, all the threats to remove my scholarships were gone. Now, there was still a lot of hostility from, frankly the white male students, and the art professors just lawyered up.
QUESTION: What should they have done?
Ann Rea: Instead of just addressing the problem, which is, they obviously felt more comfortable and favored people who are like them, other young white dudes and whatever reason they had very unconscious or a very conscious bias against their female and minority students. The problem, was that we had all paid the same amount in tuition and we were all going into the same amount of student loan debt, so it wasn’t fair.
QUESTION: How have you responded?
Ann Rea: So I’ve kind of carried this around and I thought; how can we make it fair?
QUESTION: What inspired your program?
Ann Rea: I never set out to start the MAKING Art Making MONEY program. I came to San Francisco in 2005 with a goal to sell over $100,000 of my art, which I did, and I started to receive national press attention. From that national press attention artists started coming to me asking for help. Then I learned that my intern had amassed over $200,000 worth of student loan and credit card debt, and all she had was a bachelor’s in fine art illustration, no marketable skills and no real direction about what she was going to do next. It pissed me off
QUESTION: Then what happened?
Ann Rea: It was that moment that really sparked the inspiration from the MAKING Art Making MONEY program
QUESTION: What keeps you inspired?
Ann Rea: What keeps me inspired, are my students. When I see them taking their power back and I see them increasing their focus and their confidence and really creating offerings that have true meaning to their customers. There’s no selling out. They’re really doing something that is based in their souls truth that serves their life’s mission and really they never have to compete with another artist for the rest of their lives. Because what each one of my students do is so very unique.
MAKING Art Making MONEY
Someday is Today