Kipaipai: Professional Practice Programs Designed to Encourage and Inspire Artists
by Genie Davis
The Hawaiian word Kipaipai means “to encourage and inspire” and that’s exactly what this intensive program for artists is all about. Founded by Andi Campognone, museum manager and curator at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, Calif., as well as owner/director of AC Projects, the program shares information on everything to do with professional art practices from social media promotion to identifying and strategizing goals, gallery representation, and museum exhibitions. The immersive workshops have been held in Ojai, Joshua Tree, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and coming up this November, in upstate New York. The purpose: to help artists take their careers to the next level.
Southern California-based artist Catherine Ruane calls the experience “a mind-blowing, personal process that helps a serious artist to up their game.” She’s participated in two sessions of the Kipaipai Professional Practices Workshop under the stewardship of Campognone. “It is specifically designed for artists who are ready to move into bigger exhibition opportunities, attract collectors and prepare themselves to effectively promote their work and speak in public venues,” she notes, adding that after participating in the program, “I have been able to participate in museum exhibitions and attract lucrative commissions that were not available to me before this valuable workshop.”
Photographic artist Jane Szabo describes attending the initial two sessions of Kipaipai in Hawaii as a “privilege…I was so thrilled with the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with a diverse group of professionals. The feedback and advice I was given truly helped move my work forward.” Szabo has since returned to Kipaipai as the staff photographer and an alumni mentor. She says her continued participation is important, “because staying engaged with this supportive community is a valuable part of my personal growth as an artist. Community is what Kipaipai is all about,” she attests.
Campognone herself says that sense of community is a key aspect of the program. “I love the community that this workshop has created. The artists and faculty have bonded, and are working together on many projects outside of the workshop.” According to Campognone the program “offers an opportunity to network in a real and practical way, and build sustainable relationships and resources in the careers” of the artists. In fact, many of the participants have gone on to have exhibitions at the Museum of Art and History and MOAH:CEDAR in Lancaster because of the workshop.
Samuelle Richardson is one artist participant who has work exhibited currently at MOAH. “What I love best about the experience is that I have made lifelong friends and professional ties with other participants and mentors, and these relationships have opened doors for me.” Asked what she most wants others to know about the program, Richardson says “Kipaipai is about directing one’s career and building skills, such as communicating effectively about the work. Feedback from the panel of professionals has given me information that I couldn’t have found elsewhere and validation that I needed to hear.”
Szabo explains “Many artists may have the opportunity to have a 20 or 30-minute meeting with a gallery owner or art critic, but that is not the same as spending a weekend over meals, around a pool, engaged in conversations about art and life.” For her, the “fun summer-camp like experience” led to unparalleled long lasting relationships with both other artists and art professionals.
The November workshop will be held at the Carey Institute for Global Good in upstate New York. Registration closes July 5th.
The workshop will run November 22-24, 2019, and offer private sessions and group meetings for students to meet and interact with a team of guest professionals including: art fair organizer Ray Beldner, artist and publisher Kimberly Brooks, museum curator Andi Campognone, life coach Diane Costigan, artist Alex Couwenberg, and PR specialist Aria Corinne Gannon. Also a part of the New York team are arts entrepreneur Shannon Kaye, gallerist Michael Lyons Wier, artist and critic Daniel Maidman, storytelling coach Mike O’Connor, museum curator of collections Nick West, and artist and writer Mark Zimmerman.
Tuition for the 2-day workshop is $1000, which includes a private room and bath, and chef-prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For information on applying and background on workshop team members, visit https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=6742