by Ann Marie Clow
“Creative sector careers are not what most people think,” says Mark Sandiford, Executive Director, Creative PEI.
“Less than half of us work as artists creating new work from our imaginations,” says Mark. “Many of us work as technicians, managers, teachers, and other types of professionals.”
Creative PEI is the sector council working on behalf of PEI’s arts, culture and creative professionals in collaboration with PEI’s creative industry associations. The sector organizes information, networking, training, advocacy, collective action, and shared services.
“Our sector has lots of self-employment and contract work, which can be tricky to navigate. But more than 2,000 of us make our living in PEI’s Creative sector and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Devon Strang is a Digital Development Coordinator who has been working at Creative PEI for four years and has been involved in the arts sector for about 23 years. A big part of his job is promoting the career options and opportunities in the Creative Sector on PEI.
Creative PEI works with the following organizations:
- PEI Crafts Council
- PEI Writers’ Guild
- PEI Community Museums Association
“Creative PEI has a wider approach encompassing the whole sector. We think strategically about how to create more opportunities for people working in this sector or who are interested in a profession in the sector.
“It is in our interest to help to make sure they are in a position to succeed, whether it is their mental wellbeing or financial wellbeing, and we want to make sure that they have access to the tools they need, such as marketing assistance.”
His journey in the Creative sector
Devon spent his twenties performing as a musician in a variety of venues out of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. His journey took him to PEI doing more marketing and project management jobs with the non-profit sector for a couple of years, which gave him the skills and experience needed for his present job with Creative PEI.
Devon says many people working in the creative sector on PEI do not earn 100 percent of their income from this sector.
“There are many skillsets needed to navigate this profession.” Devon took marketing as his sideline. “Since musicians have to market themselves anyway, that skill helped me to promote my own music.”
He also says artists should learn aspects of business that would help in their own creative advancement. “Project management and good communication abilities are always an important asset, especially when you’re selling yourself and your products.”
Devon says there is a whole global market to assess using the endless information available on the Internet to improve your entrepreneurial skills and professionalism.
He says more people should pursue a career in the sector, but they should look at it through the lens of a businessperson. He says an education at an art school like NASCAD can be a great benefit. “If you do not want to invest that much money all at once, you could spread that financing over a longer period by taking evening courses, online training, art classes, or mentor with other artists. That is a wonderful way to invest in yourself and your career.”