Easel is an initiative set up to help further equal opportunity and accessibility within the art industry and support and encourage people of all backgrounds to consider it a viable career choice. Focused in London in the formative years, we intend to counter the trend that a career in the arts is exclusively for the privileged by providing a free resource to guide and advise all students who wish to pursue a career in the arts but lack the contacts, knowledge or funds.
The art industry has a well-earned reputation for exclusivity, that it offers few opportunities for entry and generally only to a privileged few, for whom art has always been part of their immediate surroundings. Recently, several commissioned reports addressed the disparity in the art industry between interest and opportunity, and how this imbalance might affect cultural, social and economic perceptions of working in the arts. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility observed that financial barriers to accessing the profession could, in fact, be minimized, and emphasized the importance of mentorship and informed career advice.
In order to increase the social mobility of the Art Industry, Easel's plan is threefold:
- Host an informative website
- Facilitate a Mentorship Programme
- Launch a Grant Scheme
The website will act as first point of call for the Easel community, detailing the variety of jobs available within the art world, blogs from people who hold those jobs, professional portraits, industry news and reports and will host the mentoring programme, career mapping and the grants scheme. Our vision is that the website, and the knowledge held within, will help sixth form students learn more about the Art Industry and access information that otherwise would be unavailable to them.
The Mentoring Programme, launching September 2017, will be aimed at University candidates who are planning and thinking about careers upon graduation but need guidance and support. We will connect prospective and established candidates with professionals from the art industry via our website and app. Career mapping services will also be available to Easel candidates.
The Grant Scheme, launching early 2018, will be for graduates who have come through the Mentorship Programme and secured an internship but are not able to support themselves financially on the low salary offered to them. We will subsidize their income and bring them up to the London Living Wage.
To measure our impact on the demographic of the industry we will undertake an Art Employment report and mentor survey in year one, and every three years following, to raise awareness about the degree of social mobility within the Art Industry and monitor improvements.
Founded by Charlotte Maxwell, previously Deputy Director at Messum's Fine Art, Easel has a team of six trustees passionate about addressing the social mobility of the art industry. The board is made up of individuals with experience in a range of fields including the charity sector, accountancy, law, PR, marketing and the art industry itself:
- Tom Best: Formerly an auctioneer and specialist at Christie’s Auction house, Tom is now Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at the Start Network.
- Vittoria Recchi: Previously Global Marketing Manager at Christies, Vittoria is now Business Development & Marketing Director at MutualArt.
- Matt Paton: Formerly Head of Communications at Christies, Matt is now the founder of the Art PR firm Paton Arts.
- Rudy Capildeo: Arts Associate at Boodle Hatfield.
- Sophie Geddie: Previously Head of Programmes at Princes trust, Sophie is now Head of Services Delivery and Development at the charity PACT.
- Emily McNicholas: Previously working in Private Client Tax at Rawlinson & Hunter, Emily is now Head of Tax at Ihorizon.
We need you to help make Easel a reality. We need your help to raise funds so that we can design and build our website and implement the tech platform and software to launch our Mentoring Programme by the end of September. In order to do this, we need to raise £10,000. Please join us and help Easel start our journey to enhance the social moblity of the industry and encourage and support students to consider a career in the arts.
ANNABELLE COMYN - Undergraduate, University of Exeter:
It is widely known that the art world is notoriously difficult to break into - most companies require a large amount of previous relevant work experience, which I found difficult to access. Charlotte was a wonderful contact who gave me a huge amount of help and advice regarding the different roles and career paths in this small, yet hugely competitive field.
OLIVIA CORBY - University of Manchester Graduate:
As a recent graduate, I lacked confidence, guidance and knowledge of how to achieve my dreams of working within the Art World. The advice and support Charlotte and Vittoria gave me was of huge value, as they have given me confidence and a platform of contacts to help kick start my career in this field. Thank you both your time and guidance!
We love the communirty spirit that Crowdfunder harnesses - thank you for your support and for spreading the word, we couldn't do this without you! We look forward to welcoming you to the Easel community in the future, whether as a mentee, a mentor, a supporter or a fellow advocate.
In the meantime, take a peek at the short videos we made highlighting the vast number of different careers available within the Art Industry and our recent Easel event at Doodle Bar. Enjoy!