A professional development workshop series for creatives.


Create Appalachia established its Arts@Work series in 2016 to provide professional development for artists and makers in the Appalachian Highlands. Topics include marketing, business communication and promotion, pricing, and client relations. The program also focuses on negotiation skills, entrepreneurship, and legal and ethical issues, including codes of fair practice for the arts. The workshops benefit creative small businesses, freelancers, and working fine artists and artisans, no matter their demographic.The 2021 series was designed particularly to meet the needs of creatives and creative entrepreneurs who have suffered setbacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seats for each of the classes are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot earlyNew Arts@Work offerings will be added as we book them.

Katie Hoffman

Instructor: Dr. Katie Hoffman, with Cher Cornett


Thursday, April 15th from 6 to 8 PM 
Monday, April 19th from 6 to 8 PM
Wednesday, April 21 from 6 to 8 PM

Presenting Yourself Professionally: A Basic Marketing Kit in Three Easy Steps

Creatives of all genres need to be able to market themselves effectively. This workshop will help artists of all types create the three basic items they need to pitch themselves and their work. At the end of the series, you will have created a customized marketing kit including:

  • An artist or business statement;
  • A brief biography; and
  • A head shot/portrait taken by a professional photographer*.


Having a compelling, coherent, and grammatically correct bio and artist statement is important for any creative hoping to connect with clients, galleries, and venues. These documents can also be the initial elements of a simple, do-it-yourself website. This series of workshops will walk you through the process of crafting a statement that best promotes and describes your work. You’ll also learn how to adapt these documents for a specific purpose, such as submission to an exhibition or gallery, promotion of a performance, or pitching your services to potential clients. In the final session, a professional photographer will work with you to make another essential element: an artist photo for your kit. Sessions with the photographer will be booked on a first-come-first-served basis, so early registration is encouraged.

ONLINE SESSIONS (Except for photography)

All workshop sessions except for the photography sessions (times TBA) will be held at 6 PM on Zoom. One-on-one appointments will be scheduled individually with Katie. They will either be online or by phone.

Session 1: Artist Biography. (April 15, 2021) About a week before the workshop begins, Katie will email examples and preparatory activities to each paid participant. These will help generate ideas about what makes you and your work distinctive. During the workshop discussions, Katie will help you take the insights you’ve developed and craft a professional bio of about 250 words. We’ll also discuss how to craft a mini-bio, another important promotional tool. Every artist will create a working draft. Finally, you’ll set an appointment with Katie for the one-on-one editing/proofing session that will help you put a professional polish on your new bio. You’ll have the first important step completed in promoting your work!

Session 2: Artist Statement. (April 19, 2021) Katie will email you ahead of time with some idea-generation activities. You’ll come to the session prepared to create an artist or business statement that reflects your own passions and philosophies. You’ll learn to avoid vague, fluffy, confusing “artspeak,” and will develop clear reasons why a potential client or collector should consider your work. You’ll emerge from this session with a draft you can polish and refine during your next one-on-one session with Katie. You’ll receive a handout that will help you make the most of your upcoming photography session. It will offer tips on what to wear and how to otherwise set yourself up for a great professional head shot or portrait. And at the end of the second evening, you’re 2/3 done with your marketing kit!

Session 3: Putting it All to Use. (April 21, 2021) What good is having all of this great material if you don’t also know how to put it to use? During the final session, Cher Cornett will explain how to make your brand new set of marketing materials work for you. Participants will share their work and collaborate on preparing plans of action. We may have a special guest or two who will also offer perspectives on promoting yourself professionally. And voilà! You’re equipped and ready to get out there and promote yourself effectively!


With a PhD in English, over twenty years’ experience teaching rhetoric and composition, and experience as an artist herself, Dr. Katie Hoffman is well equipped to lead you through the process of creating a set of professional promotional materials. Cher Cornett, who will lead the third and final meeting, is the founder and president of Create Appalachia. She is also a member of the Digital Media faculty at East Tennessee State University and an award-winning graphic designer and photographer. You’ll receive individualized attention from each of these professional instructors, customized to meet your specific needs. Photography will be done by Kalani Odum of White Creek Photography and Cher Cornett.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Create Appalachia is able to provide the Arts@Work Series and this particular workshop at a surprisingly low cost for regional creatives.

*Sessions with the photographers will be held in person, socially distanced. The number of slots is limited and they will fill quickly. They will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis as participants sign up for the class. Register early to receive the full benefits of participation!

Tom Raymond

Instructor: Tom Raymond

May 20 and 27, 2021

Styling and Photography for Creative Businesses

Learn how to style, present, light, and photograph your pieces to maximize their appeal to curators and potential buyers.

Join us for this two-session, hands-on intensive workshop. Walk away with important knowledge for promoting your creative work!

  • Session 1: Thursday, May 20th, 6-9 PM
  • Session 2: Thursday, May 27, 6-9 PM

Optional individual consulting available. Information on request.


Tom Raymond of Fresh Air Photography and Cher Cornett , ETSU Digital Media Faculty

Why This Is Important:

Whether you’re a wildlife painter, an instrument maker, or an artisan baker, you need to be equipped with simple photography skills. Creatives must be able to promote their creative products in a number of contexts:

  • consideration by galleries and collectors;
  • online sales;
  • submission to exhibits;
  • publication; and,
  • use in promotional media.

These two sessions will teach you to style, present, light, and photograph your pieces, maximizing their appeal to curators and potential buyers.

Participants are encouraged to bring one piece of artwork or a packaged product to be photographed. (Sorry–no open or plated food. That’s a different workshop, and we’re working on offering it soon!) For this workshop, you should bring a two-dimensional, unframed piece artwork. The size should not exceed 3’x3′.

Session 1: Tom Raymond, an internationally known commercial, architectural, and editorial photographer, will take you through the basics of how to style, light, and shoot your art or your product. Bring a camera if you have one. If not, many of these techniques can be performed with a smart phone.

Session 2: Cher Cornett, award-winning photographer and graphic artist, will demonstrate some simple strategies for digitally editing your photos to maximize the impact of your images and prepare them for print or social media use. You will use the photos that you shot in session one as practice.

Read a profile of Tom Raymond here:

NOTE: We recommend taking the sequence as published here, but depending on demand for spaces, we may allow purchase of à la carte tickets to one of the sessions only. If you are interested in attending only one of the two, please email for pricing and information.


Kelly Porter

Instructor: Kelly Porter 


TWO SESSIONS      $100
Thursday, June 3 
Thursday, June 10

Creating Your Marketing Tools: Easy Desktop Publishing (2 Sessions)

Two hands-on, intensive sessions. Equip yourself with simple, professional promotional materials to support your creative business.


Creatives who are just starting up are always on a shoestring. Every penny counts! It’s not always possible–or even necessary–to hire a pro. This workshop is designed to equip artists and creative entrepreneurs with basic content production skills. Kelly Porter will teach participants to make simple but professional promotional materials in support of their art businesses. (Think: brochures, printed tear sheets, and social media graphics, among other things.)

Sure, sometimes, you really do need to hire a professional. But sometimes you can make really good materials yourself–all you need is just a little bit of training and access to a place like our Center for Art and Technology, where you can DIY and keep those all-important dollars in your own pocket. We’re here for you!

Tickets will be on sale beginning 12 Am on April 19 and will continue until June 2 at 5 PM or until all seats are filled.

This workshop will involve 2 hands-on, intensive sessions. They will be held in person at our Center for Art and Technology. Here’s what Kelly will cover during each meeting:

Session 1: (Thursday, June 3) 

The basics of typography;

• Layout strategies for professional self-promotion materials;

• Getting photos and artwork into your documents ; and,

• What you can do yourself if you aren’t a designer, and when you really should hire a pro.

Session 2: Artist Statement. (Thursday, June 10

• Setting up your files for print and creating pdfs;

• Self-printing

• Online printing

• Local printing services and how to choose them


Kelly Porter is an associate professor of graphic design at East Tennessee State University. In addition to her 7 years of teaching, she has worked for 10 years as a designer and design researcher for Ryobi Power Tools, the B.B. King Museum, Mississippi Blues Trail, and Mississippi Delta Tourism Association. Porter has presented at UCDA, CAA, SECAC, and Pop Culture Association conferences and is published in the International Journal of Signage and Wayfinding. Porter received her MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a BFA in Graphic Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Create Appalachia strives to make the Appalachian Highlands a better place to live and work by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship centered around the arts and artisanship. We are working to sustain an environment that will generate new businesses, provide jobs in arts-based businesses, and highlight the important role that creativity plays in the region’s economic vitality.

The Arts@Work Series supports entrepreneurial and self-employed artists and makers who wish to develop their professional business skills. Topics include business strategy, marketing, communication and promotion, pricing, and client relations. The 2021 Arts@Work series was curated to meet the particular needs of small creative businesses dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re grateful for a generous grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission that allows us to keep admission to our January-June 2021 Arts@Work series affordable.

Instructor: Jocelyn Mathewes

June, 2021   TBA      $30

Using Social Media to Promote Your Art

How can an online presence serve and build your art or creative business? Whether you’re starting from scratch or seeking to enhance or expand your online presence, this class is meant for you. Prior to the class, you’ll be given a set of questions to help frame what your needs and goals. During the class, we will discuss the incredible variety of platforms available (both popular and up-and-coming) and discuss how best to make them work for a variety of situations. You should walk away from this class with a sense of what is may be the best fit and best investment of your time and energy online.

This interactive online program is designed to be immediately applicable to your business. Jocelyn will meet you where you are, even if you have no social media presence at all. Participants will receive a set of questions before the workshop begins, allowing you to gather the information you need and come to the first session prepared to apply the principles and practices covered during the session.

Jocelyn will work everyone through three intersecting points:

  • What does your business do/offer?
  • Where is your audience or client base?
  • Where do you enjoy spending your online time?

Using these three touch points, Jocelyn will make suggestions about how you might create or hone your online presence to best reflect your business and to attract the best audience for your work.


Jocelyn Mathewes (@jocelynmathewes on Instagram and Facebook) is a mixed-media interdisciplinary artist, living with her family in rural Appalachia in East Tennessee. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Messiah College, she pursued a career in writing, graphic design, and photography. After a decade of work under her belt, several life events led her to change her path, choosing one that led into fine art. She participated in the Artist Residency in Motherhood from 2016 – 2019. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and community spaces all over the United States. She pours her passion for the arts into her local community, serving on the advisory board for Create Appalachia and coordinating artist meet-ups to foster growth and collaboration. In 2020, she created Eat/Art Space, a private pop-up gallery from her dining room in Appalachia (@eatartspace). Eat/Art Space showcases regional artists and regional food purveyors.

“As an artist, Jocelyn says, “analog film, alternative processes, textile arts, and mixed media are my method for contemplating the natural world around me and the interior physical world of the body. Overlapping frames, media, and conceptual imagery are all merged to create a single, unrepeatable image, expressing my deep interest in the chaos of particular humanity and place. I seek to bring things that seem distant or invisible that much closer to understanding.”

Partial Funding provided by a generous grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.


Instructor: Kelly Porter

June  2021 (2 Sessions. Exact dates TBA)

Creating Your Marketing Tools

You don’t always need to hire a professional photographer or designer. Every artist should be equipped with simple content production skills to produce day-to-day promotional materials needed to support your art business. These workshops will take place in the studios at the Create Appalachia Center.

More detailed information coming soon!

Workshops will be recorded, and edited versions will be made available online to our subscribers and attendees.

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