It's been a while. Allow me to reintroduce ma' self on this lovely Monday right after a very magical 11/11, right before the ending of my tenth year as an independent curator (and exactly one week from my 29th birthday! WTF?!)
My name is Michelle Ivette Gomez, I am an artist turned curator turned artpreneur originally from Miami, FL with professional roots in Baltimore, MD. One day I was at the beach, and thought...why not curate art exhibitions for weddings?! Yep, pretty cool, right?! I gave myself 90 days to make it happen, outta nothin’ (well, really it came out of ten years of Curatorial and arts organizing experiences on top + an entire lifetime of art education, with a strong desire to get paid to do what I love beyond the traditional art gallery world). And here we are, 1 year and 8ish months later :)
This work is magical AF, and it requires a lotta work on top of event/wedding planning & design! How time flies when you are having fun doing what you love. But the path to where I am now was not always easy, cuz there's so many levels to this thing called #artpreneurship. With no formal education on business from art school, I had to learn a lot about running an arts biz on my own from the ground up, and with plenty of trial and error. This involved:
hiring my first Brand Strategist coach for a day long workshop that taught me how to talk about this weird and niche AF wedding planning business (heeeey Gaby Guzman)
learning about $ and sales
obsessively watching Marie Forleo’s Tuesday Q&A video series
countless free webinars
joining Tuesdays Together (the coolest group for wedding vendors #communityovercompetition)
reading articles and books left and right about entrepreneurship
and a lotta mind f*cks that came outta this emotional rollercoaster called “First Time Artpreneur”
@creativeunions was officially born February 25, 2017, beginning with the first (and still talked about) art exhibition, #Miamiisnice which opened in Baltimore in October 2017. This Golden Girls inspired exhibit featured a private gay wedding, and attracted over 1,800 visitors with public programming, viral and glitter filled photos from the artist couple's Pixilated photo booth art installation, and tons of press all in the span of a month, to inspire a world where love wins during such a politically turbulent time. It was pretty magical stuff that happened thanks to an incredibly creative neon family/team and a shoestring budget.
Creative Unions Event Design LLC quickly grew while I was dabbling in FT corporate event planning in Miami, and traveling between Miami and Baltimore to bring forth more styled shoots, and celebratory life events surrounded by art to launch businesses and celebrate reunions (coming soon)! I started to become more and more clear about who my ideal clients were.
Right after #MiamiisNice, I was hired by an incredible couple (you will get to meet them later this month) to design their upcoming Creative Union scheduled to take place in March of 2019, in Washington D.C! Hint: it’s about how the future is female (and intersectional AF).
I became exhausted! Well because, one woman can't run this ship alone. And to be honest, I was pretty good with the execution, branding, etc...but Creative Unions was not growing fast enough. Something was missing. Later, I learned...it was my mindset blocking me all along.
I always knew deep down inside, this wasn't the last thing I would launch. Honestly, I felt like there must be more, and that I HAD to learn more to keep it afloat... More impact. More ripple effects. More capital. More visionary shit beyond executing important and naturally politically charged events around art.
It’s August 2018 - I’m still working on the next Creative Union set for March 2019, but this “thing” was missing. Not sure what it was. I was depressed. I was anxious. I was regretful. I had to make major changes. Like ASAP.
I finally had some downtime to myself. I was alone, breathing, and I closed my eyes…I meditated. Just like I did on the beach when I came up with Creative Unions Event Design, the first event planning company dedicated to curating art exhibitions for life’s celebrations.
I thought, if I could do what I love, then shouldn’t other women artists & curators do the same too? Why was every artist in my circle still struggling to pay the basic bills while begging for more grants to fulfill dream projects? There’s a lot behind that question that I can rant about for hours...so lemme tell you how I took action instead of just asking myself WHHHYYY? WHHYYY ME?!
I woke up from my meditation. This subconscious voice said…COACH.
My ego was liiiike...Excuse me, TF what did you just say?
Mind you, this is the same voice that flat out said in 2016...Weddings as art exhibitions!...without much explanation. That voice...she’s feisty, she’s in command, and she does not like to explain. She is my higher self.
I immediately contacted the first coach that came to mind - Julia Ford-Carther, the one that I met two years prior at a “Love Lost” Miami exhibition talk about love, and protecting your nation state of love! After meeting and reconnecting, I knew that I had to protect MY nation’s state of love, and that I also had to learn HOW to share the tools/the template that I used to launch my arts biz and countless art exhibitions with other women artists like me.
I had to level up, so I hired my first business/life coach to do it all better, and share that knowledge as a now coach. MAJOR #levelup (and sorely needed in this arts industry).
Since this past summer, I went through so many difficult but empowering life changes.
9 days later, on August 15, 2018 - I “shook off” what was no longer serving me: co-dependent relationships, toxic friendships, and my old money/life mindset to then launch my own coaching business. With the guidance of my new coach, I quickly tapped into my highest self and became a Launch Strategist to launch Women Artists < Artpreneurs and empower them to find their highest selves. #artisttoartpreneur
Since September 1st, I have had the honor of coaching 30+ women artists, so they too can do what they love, independently. There’s so much I can talk about when it comes to this work, but I will save that for another blog post on my future coaching business website, coming soon during the Holidays. In the meantime, check it out at @michelleigomez! (And if you wanna subscribe to that future juicy mailing list all about coaching, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subj line: MAILING LIST)!
Creative Unions Event Design is not just about me anymore. It’s about WE. It’s about US. That’s right, I am expanding this company, so I can stay in my zone of genius, continue being a visionary, and continue to empower other artists and curators to do what they love in this company, while getting paid for it.
Creative Unions is not just an event planning company, it’s now quickly becoming:
An Incubator for other emerging artpreneurs to get paid to curate art exhibitions, make commissioned artwork for events, for future event planners to practice event coordination.
A Curatorial Framework that explores love as a political act, with a bit of a pop culture influence. (First came a Golden Girls themed wedding + radical joy, then a Dr. Who inspired wedding with a dash of intersectional AF feminism, see the patterns here?)
A Platform for love, creativity, and community. It’s a mirror for those who feel left out of the dominant and very hetero wedding traditions through the eyes of a socially conscious curator with a passion for art and love.
I look forward to working with Jessica Molnar of Odd Duck Press as my Assistant (aka fellow boss babe). I look forward to introducing you all to an entire team of artpreneurs who will help make the 2nd Creative Union wedding possible in March of 2019.
I look forward to continue making Creative Unions for those couples out there who appreciate art, and have a unique story to tell through art. Because with art, anything is possible.
I look forward to continue coaching women artists. Because if I can do what I love, they can too.
I’m in the driver’s seat now, and it feels so fuckin’ good.
Stay tuned. (And happy early birthday to me) :)
Con mucho, mucho, mucho AMOR y PAZ!
From the Creative Unions Event Design TEAM