Jennifer Keller, Sacramento artist coach

What does it mean to be an artist coach?

An artist coach is coaching visual artists on how to be more successful in their art careers. … There’s a lot that artists aren’t familiar with as far as the business aspect, and that’s what I deal with mostly. I also just kind of help them figure out where they’re at and where they want to go. … Then we figure out the best possible way to achieve their goals.

Is artist coaching an established career field?

It’s a growing career field. There are artist coaches out there … and there are lots of books out there on how to become more successful as an artist. … It’s kind of a collective field of interest that I’m condensing into a service. I did develop a lot of my own material, and I’ve been doing a lot of research. I’ve been in the field for a while, so I know what a lot of [galleries and museums] are looking for from artists.

What’s your background?

I have a B.A. from Humboldt State in studio art. My focus was museum and gallery practices, and I’ve been working in art galleries ever since. … I worked in Eureka at the First Street Gallery. In San Francisco, I worked at the Black and White Gallery … then at Solomon Dubnick for two-and-a-half years. Then I opened CoolCat [Gallery]. … I was getting blue in the face telling people, “This is how you submit your work to the gallery.” There’s a lot to it and I think that many art schools—not all of them—don’t prepare artists for that aspect of what it means to be a professional artist.

Why do you want to be an artist coach?

I want Sacramento to see these really great artists and to take them seriously. And [the artists] have to take themselves seriously first.

There’s a lot of Generation X artists coming up with really innovative stuff. … I like to encourage them and help them work through some of their artist’s block. And to get confident about networking and promoting themselves. Confidence is key. On the first meeting, I tell them that confidence is the word of the day.

Are any of your artist clients showing in May’s Second Saturday?

Rachel Miller is having a really great show at Deep Yoga Studio during May Second Saturday. … She’s come a long way, I’ve known her for a few years. And there’s gonna be fire dancing and tarot reading.

When you’re not coaching, what are you doing?

I just got a lot more free time now that the CoolCat is closed and looking for a new space, so I paint, I work at KVIE [Art Auction] and I do the coaching and I’m hanging out in Midtown.

Sounds like a nice ecosystem.

Yeah, I’m thrilled.