Sell high

Peggy Borgman is a landscape painter who studied art in Santa Cruz and spent about 30 years running a day spa and teaching management skills to spa directors in the Silicon Valley area. Recently, she moved to Genoa. She’s hosting a four-session workshop series, Artrepreneurs, to teach business skills to artists, beginning May 3. To register, visit

What kinds of artists should attend your workshop?

It’s open to visual and performing artists—and literary artists too.

What are one or two of the points you’ll cover?

There’s a pretty extensive curriculum. … We’ve got a lot of different subject matter experts who’ll be part of the faculty. The impetus for this is to focus on helping artists learn some marketing and business skills. … Artists typically aren’t people who are attracted to the business side of things. Some are, and some tend to be more successful. We want to help artists understand not just techniques and tactics, but to understand what the artist’s brand is, what makes them unique and different. To help them start formulating the words they use to make them interesting and compelling to people. … Sales is intimidating to people. If it’s something that’s as personal as your own art, it’s 10 times harder. If someone says, “No, thank you,” it can be discouraging. Closing a sale is a very specific set of behaviors that you have to do. Some customers are super motivated, and they close themselves, but for the most part you’re in a situation where that customer is expecting you to extend that invitation to them. Unfortunately, a lot of the inculcation we get as artists is you should be creating art for art’s sake. There’s kind of a poverty motive, and that’s very silly. You should be well paid for what you’re good it.

How did you learn about sales and branding?

I owned a business in the Bay Area for about 30 years. It was not an art-related business, but I spent a majority of my time on marketing. In my Adams Hub I spend a lot of time on marketing.

That’s the Adams Hub in Carson City, right? Tell me more about that.

Adams Hub is a business incubator and co-working habitat in Carson City. It’s been open for about two years. Our work is funded by the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation. It’s a private foundation run by the people who used to own the Carson Nugget, to increase opportunities and employment. … I am the community curator, which is a nice, broad term. I do marketing and outreach, and I help with creating and running events.

If someone can’t make it to your workshops but they want to improve their art business chops, what’s the first thing they should do?

I thinks it’s always good to get other people’s feedback about what makes you different and special and better. Artists have a tendency to isolate themselves sometimes, and that can be difficult on your confidence. Bring together a small group of people you trust, and say, “What am I doing wrong?” Find out what your unique ability is, kind of like in a book called Now, Discover Your Strengths. The customer wants a sense of the story that goes along with what they are buying.