by Amy K. Lavender
When getting a degree, networking is something few students think about – especially
when those students are majoring in something that doesn’t naturally lend itself to
meeting other people. However, to make it in today’s world, networking is pretty important.
And in the fields of art, music, film, and theater, meeting people and knowing a guy
who knows a guy can mean the difference between making a living as an artist and taking
part-time jobs to make ends meet.
University of West Georgia alumnus and artist Michael Greene recognizes the critical importance of being able to meet and network with other artists. And with his new web-based platform, myMuse, he’s addressing this essential need for students, professors, and professionals in the art world.
“[A humanities education] always has been [very compartmentalized]. It’s been that way by necessity because funding is compartmentalized. Just the nature of how students are taught has always been by sector more than anything else,” Michael said. “And it’s different now. Careers need to be collaborative out in the world to make art collaborative. […] So I put a team of graphic designers and coders together, and I sat down and drew up a blueprint for what I felt an innovative, collaborating networking platform might be for a university.”
Michael is launching his platform through his parent company, Artist Tribe, and is starting with universities. Eventually, the public at-large may have access to the site. So why start with students and universities?
“There’s only one place you can find all these creative people: jewelers, architects, ceramicists, musicians, etc., and that’s in a university,” Michael explained. “There’s nowhere else in the world that that exists. And that’s a big responsibility to realize that you’re housing all these folks. How do you help them find each other?”
UWG School of the Arts Director Chad Davidson said for that very reason, his department is excited to launch the platform here so that it can begin benefiting students as soon as possible.
“The myMuse platform promises to bring all creative people – regardless of particular discipline or medium – together to form a collective,” Chad described. “That's the big picture, the macro, of which myMuse is just one part. The microbenefits, however, are also important. Students will have the opportunity to link with other artists for particular collaborative projects and to professionalize their portfolios for viewing by the general public.”
Michael says it’s important to allow artists to find each other, but it’s also important to provide them with a marketing tool that allows for self-promotion. It’s about more than simply finding other artists; it’s about finding the right artist for the right job.
“The old way [of networking] was to not do a very good job of it,” Michael admitted. “The old way is to run in to a composer, you know? Not necessarily someone that you vetted to see if their music has anything to do with your film. Just kind of happenstance running in to people.”
However, myMuse allows artists to not only showcase who they are, via a profile, but also what they can do. This allows for a level of vetting not available on other platforms.
“Technology has given us the ability to contextually find people by keywords and text, but let’s say I’m a filmmaker looking for someone to write my underscore,” Michael explained. “On myMuse, I would be able to go and listen to all of their music. All of it! Anything they upload. And maybe after going through 10 different profiles, I find exactly the kind of writer that I’m looking for to write my music. That takes the guess work out of it.”
Michael says this isn’t just bringing the art community into the 21st century, it’s changing the whole process artists use to collaborate.
“It’s not necessarily a better product,” Michael said. “It’s a better process, and it’s a better lifestyle. If you’re a professor, you have a responsibility not only to think about the skill of the people you’re turning out and the products they’re turning out, but also a responsibility to think about how they’re going to make a life for themselves. Because too many times creative people are turned out into the community and they have to be waiters, waitresses, limo drivers, they have to have other jobs, and I don’t think we should be okay with that. I think we should view the creative community as people that can go out into that workforce and be able to have mortgages and families and cars without having to work three jobs. And that requires being defiant enough to get rid of past strictures.”
UWG launched myMuse on September 1, making it available to students and faculty. To learn more, go to myMuse.com.