Earlier this year we announced that 2019 would be a big year for art4u.australia as we moved from being a labour of love to a venture that conributes to the rent. Since then there has been a lot of planning and a lot of soul searching.
Art4u.australia isn’t a high- tech company funded from huge bucketloads of venture capital and there are no plans to go down that track. There isn’t, yet a team of uber-savvy, twenty-somethings beavering away in a secluded co-working space – but one day there will be. At present, it’s just me, John, working from home, from cafes and out of a small, regional co-working space that noone has ever heard off!
When I set out my high level goals for this business, one of them is to gain accreditation as a BCorp. Now that is a bold statement, and not one that I make lightly. Accreditation is a long term, time consuming, rigourous process. In making this statement publically I am making myself accountable to those that follow, support and will ultimately become customers of art4u.australia.
Yesterday while @pausefest #Pause2019 in Melbourne i listened to a presentation from BCorp Australia and a panel of BCorp business operators. I was left with no illusion as to the magnanimity of this task. While listening to their presentations I went into the BCorp website and downloaded the free, trial assessment tool.
Five hours later, tired and discouraged I completed a draft assessment with a score of 74! Now that means nothing right now, its actally bullshit because as a new startup, with no staff, I fudged some of my answers to represent the dream more than the reality, and of course there are a number of questions I simply could not answer yet – BUT, I now know what needs to be done, I now have a baseline and I have a clear understanding of the gap. It is also the first iteration of this assessment over the next couple of years, and I expect each one to take even more time as the responses become more comprehensive.
At 2pm yesterday i was struggling to define my vision for art4u, and as a part of the assessment I was asked to do just that. By 3.30pm I had it nailed. This is version 46 and I’m sure it won’t be the final version –
Our mission is to contribute towards a sustainable and viable arts sector by promoting Australian artists, supporting Australian arts organisations and supporting disadvantaged people to gain independence through their creativity.
Now that is the easy bit! The real challenge is to do the things that achieve the vision. I invite you to join me on this journey, as an artist, as someone that purchases art, as a supplier of art products and services, as an arts organisation and as someone looking to explore their creativity.
My hope is that someone reading this blog will one day be working with me, as an employee, a subcontractor, a supplier or maybe even a partner.
John Coxon is founder of art4u.australia