Susan Mumford is a game-changer in the 21 Century art world. She’s an entrepreneur, mentor, speaker and author. While running a gallery in Soho, London, she founded the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), a non-profit trade network with London, New York and Virtual chapters. Several years later, she started a social enterprise called Be Smart About Art, which helps art world professionals thrive in a changing industry. The organisation’s motto is: “Art is your life. Make it your living.” In late 2015, her first book was published: Art is your life. Make it your living.
Be Smart About Art has tremendous online content (blogs, webinars, workshops, etc) as well as events such as the forthcoming Be Smart Re-Start 2016 1 day symposium for Creative Professionals (on 8th September 2016). Susan has brought together an amazing array of arts professionals (of which I am delighted to be one, with a round table event on time management and 1-2-1 coaching sessions) and it is a must attend event if you are serious about your career in the art world.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
Seeing real change in micro and small businesses as a result of work done with Be Smart About Art and/or the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD). Job done!
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
Hands-down, Geena Davis. Upon observing that her young daughter lacked female role models in films, the Hollywood star set to using her celebrity status for good, by setting up the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. They’ve done phenomenal research that documents gender bias based on cold, hard facts – and are presenting solutions to work towards gender equality in children’s films (as a starting point).
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Every single job and project contributes to the ongoing journey, no matter how insignificant it might have seemed at the time. And a cheeky addition for piece of advice upon embarking upon being a business owner is maintaining part-time work as long as manageable.
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
Get oxygen and the subconscious mind flowing. This can be in the form of a walk, run, or whatever you fancy that does the trick.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
Without a doubt, if I were to come back in an after-life as a shoe, it would have to be a pair of luscious red boots. For what is the job of a shoe, but to protect the wearer’s feet and better yet, for those lucky enough to have a choice, make the individual feel fantastic, ready to take on social and professional occasions alike with confidence, glamour and vibrancy?