The Business of Being an Artist Class of 2023 with Instructor Staci Swider

Written by: Heather Dunaway
October 2023
photo of Staci Swider talking to art patron. Staci is a Caucasian woman with short blonde hair. She is wearing a white button down shirt with black skinny jeans.
Photo courtesy of Drake White. Staci Swider at CANDL Fine Art Gallery on Broad St. Augusta, GA 30901

The Business of Being an Artist Class has finally kicked off at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. In this course, student artists will learn what it takes to be an exhibiting artist and work their art like a business. This class will go over many different topics such as artist statements, submitting work, prepping work, photographing work, marketing, and more.


Many local guest artists and community representatives, including Jason Craig, will frequent this class to share their real-world experience and knowledge. In partnership with The Greater Augusta Arts Council, the main meeting site for this class will be at The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art but there will be a few dates meeting off site at local shops and galleries. Also, as a final project, students will put on their own group art exhibit and reception.

The Arts Council reached out to the students of this year’s class to get to know them and learn what they are excited about most in their artistic business journey. Students include Lexi Kay White, Kelley Igo, Christina Rice, Felina Martin, Grace Halverson, Michelle Orr, Jordyn Genoe and Julie Depasquale. Below are a few of the students who are most excited to learn through this course.

Michelle Orr

Michelle Orr’s love of art can be traced back to her grandmother, Lucille Ouzts. Lucille would enroll them both into painting courses in Edgefield, SC. With constant encouragement from her grandmother, Michelle’s love for the craft bloomed. 


As a self-taught artist, her journey through art wasn’t always a steady one. With life, family, and work happening, pauses were necessary. In 2017, Michelle became a student of Julie Adams. Then in early 2023, she began renting her own studio space at Studio 143 in downtown Aiken, SC.


Her most recent body of work is inspired by the low country of South Carolina. A subject that is dear to her own heart. Here, she finds peace of mind in the marshes and creeks.


Initially intimidated by the idea of taking the Business of Being an Artist Class, as someone with almost no formal training, Michelle was hesitant to apply.


I can paint for myself all day long but allowing others to view my work in an exhibit, on social media, etc. is where I struggle. -Michelle Orr

Michelle Orr

She pushed through these feelings of self-doubt, and is looking forward to learning more about the process and furthering her knowledge in the arts. Working with Staci Swider in this is also incredibly exciting.

Christina Rice

Persephone by Christina Rice

Christina Rice’s work has been shown in galleries, juried shows and festivals in the United States. For 30 years, she created hyperrealist portraits that were often mistaken for photos but were really done in dry media like charcoal, graphite and pastel. She began working in mixed media using fabric, hand-made papers, beads, hair, anything that contributes texture & brilliant color, concentrating on one color per piece.


Her themes are often based on mythology and historical characters. In her work she seeks to beautify the ordinary and express it as an enduring myth. She aspires to the late greats such as Klimt, Hiroshige, Henri Rousseau, Erte, Rauschenberg, the pre-Raphaelites, and the late 19th/early 20th century fairy tale illustrators.

For many of the participating artists in this course, Christina will be able to work with several local, established artists to create a network to build her foundation on. Working with the right people can make all the difference in the arts industry. Knowing how to market yourself and your work, knowing the legal ins-and-outs, and applying for large showcases or hosting your own solo exhibition will all be included in the coursework of this class. Christina has a lot to look forward to.