Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

The Business of Art

By Lydia Henry

Philadelphia is a hub for entertainment, film, theater, culture and museums, art galleries, fairs and festivals, collectors, all forms of creative arts and performing arts. The business end of each of these exciting industries offers opportunities for small businesses and start-upsall the way to corporate conglomerates and everything in between. Artists are not always business savvy, and sometimes struggle to balance the expression of their passion with the demands that require their attention in order to sustain profitability, hire and manage a staff, plan for the future, integrate new technologies, and to give attention to the marketing aspects of showcasing their work.

Each year the months of May and June are the beginning of all types of festivals and cultural celebrations in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. If you have a service or a product that will address the needs of the world of art and artistic-expression, then you must research and target the events and communities that you want to service.

Art Business: The company Art Business provides a multitude of business advising and consulting needs for the art community (, advises and consults on all art and career matters including organizing and presenting their art, getting exposure, optimizing their websites, social networking and online profiles, writing about their art, assistance with agreements or business relationships, marketing, promotion, pricing individual or multiple works of art, approaching the marketplace, targeting specific venues for possible shows or sales, website functionality, selling online, self-representation, exhibiting and selling at galleries. Many artists seek out foundations, endowments, government Small Business Administration (SBA0 funding and local SCORE assistance that provide economic and business knowledge and often assign business counselors and coaches for guidance.

A Cinema Apart: Dr. Beverly Richards, CEO and Curator of A Cinema Apart is a supplier of vintage African American produced and casted films that her late husband, Larry Richards, established as a business in 1999. Larry, a native Philadelphian, is a prime example of an artist who became a collector, established a business, became a researcher and historian, and finally an author and lecturer. His keen business sense allowed him to pursue multiple extensions of his love of art, amassing over 2,000 items of valuable collectibles of African American memorabilia, and documenting and publishing the history of the early contributions that African Americans made to the film industry pre-Hollywood.

Dr Richards transitioned the business to attract national and international scholars, collectors, and art lovers through networking with other collectors, and co-created an award-winning documentary, The Birth of Black Film, with the accomplished producer and filmographer, Bob Lott. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture and Art in Washington, D.C. acquired 1,000 pieces of memorabilia from the A Cinema Apart collection. (see

Lydia Henry is the CEO of Vision Coach Dynamics, Coaching and Consulting; member of the US-Ghana Chamber of Commerce – Chair of Women’s Initiatives; and a certified professional coach specializing in leadership and business. Her background includes successful careers with AT&T and Xerox Corporations in corporate marketing and sales, an international business owner, a Philadelphia School District administrator and leadership consultant, a trainer and facilitator for non-profit, corporate and academic institutions, and advocate for women’s rights and advancement. Lydia is available for group coaching, event speaking engagements, and coaching for personal and professional development.