South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Artist Entrepreneur Incubator

Make a living with your art form.

New in 2021! The Artist Entrepreneur Incubator (AEI) is a series of monthly discipline-based interactive workshops for artists who are interested in transitioning their craft into a business.

Workshops are led by artists of all disciplines, arts consultants, and educators.  Workshops include information on basic business, licensing, marketing, contracts, and identifying resources for support and sustainability.

A partnership

One Columbia logoThe AEI is a virtual series is a collaboration between the SCAC and One Columbia for Arts & Culture available to artists across disciplines who live and work throughout South Carolina… not just Columbia.

One Columbia for Arts and Culture is a non-profit organization working to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for all residents, attract tourism to Columbia, and further build a vibrant and equitable cultural community. Learn more on

Registration fees

Each workshop costs $10 per artist to attend virtually. However, artists who are teaching artists, have received individual artist grants from the SCAC (e.g. Emerging Artist, Fellowships, etc.) at any point, and/or are currently included in the S.C. Arts Directory may attend free of charge.

The Series

**This workshop is a pre-requisite for attending future entrepreneurial training workshops in more focused fields of art.**

Better Business for Creatives is a “how to” workshop for starting/operating a scalable, profitable business.

With a focus on the arts/artists, Better Business for Creatives provides an overview of three critical disciplines necessary for a successful business:

  1. The functional BUSINESS MODEL
  2. MARKETING strategies/tactics for the presentation of your art
  3. ACCESS TO RESOURCES needed to fulfill the business model and the marketing requirements for success

Marketing for creative entrepreneurs will focus on communicating your unique value proposition finding and reaching your audience and measuring the success of your campaigns.

The city of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities will cover the resources it can provide to all business within our community. OBO also has a vast network of community partners with whom businesses can connect with depending on their specific needs.

  • 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Virtual format
  • $10 registration fee (see exceptions above)
  • Register here!


Tom Ledbetter is a management professional with 40+ years’ experience in the advanced manufacturing, technology development, small business management, and higher education sectors.  His experience includes line, staff, and executive management responsibilities across a broad spectrum of organizational disciplines, in both public- and private-sector organizations, and in launching and running his own businesses. Since 2003, Tom has been an employee of Midlands Technical College in Columbia, most recently as associate vice provost for entrepreneurship and educational support. His small business consulting business, Next Phase Management LLC, was established in 2002. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Dr. Kasie Whitener is founder of Clemson Road Creative and lecturer in entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina. She was named a 2021 Fresh Voice in the Humanities for her work with the South Carolina Writers’ Association and on the radio show “Write On SC.” She is the author of Practical Entrepreneurism (Great River Learning, 2020) and co-author of Redesign Work Volume 1: A Beginner’s Guide to Autonomy (Clemson Road Publishing 2020). “Write On SC” was a recipient of the 2019 Artists’ Ventures Initiative grant from the SCAC.


Ayesha Driggers is the program administrator for the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities. In her role, Ayesha provides, coordinates, and implements training, counseling, financial technical assistance, and other strategies for small, minority, and women-owned businesses to advance their economic growth and to compete in the market. With almost 20 years as a public servant in state and local government, she serves as an advocate for our small business community. Ayesha received both her bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina.


About the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities

The Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) is committed to supporting initiatives that benefit small, minority, veteran, and women owned businesses located in, or that want to do business with, the City of Columbia. This is accomplished by

providing creative financing,  technical assistance and capacity building opportunities that contribute to the economic growth of all communities. Learn more on


Being a musician is not just a matter of loving the music; it requires finding ways to create the music that you love while earning money! The modern successful musician has to learn how to capitalize on and exploit as many income streams as possible in order to pursue their passions. This session will cover the basics of how to create income streams as a performing musician.

  • 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Virtual format
  • $10 registration fee (see exceptions above)
Workshop Outline
  • Copyright Registration
  • How to Get a Performing Gig (and keep it!)
  • Live Performing Contracts
  • Remote Collaboration


Trumpeter, composer, educator, and technologist Dr. Matthew White is a curious musician, often blurring the lines between musical styles and conventions. Before entering academia, he was a freelance and session musician in Nashville and Miami. He holds degrees from the University of North Florida and the University of Miami and has appeared on numerous albums, radio broadcasts, and television shows, performing and composing music for artists as varied as: Rihanna, Becca Stevens, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Oscar DeLeon, Duranice Pace, Charlie Peacock, the Czech Republic Arts Ministry, the Mavericks, and Jeff Coffin, in addition to various other artists, ensembles, symphonies, and big bands.

As a composer, Matt’s music has been described as “rhythmically brash and invigorating” by the Washington Post, with “a knack for sweeping, cinematic statements” by Downbeat Magazine. While rooted in the jazz tradition, his music often draws on non-musical inspiration, such as local culture, literature, scientific phenomenon, or personal experiences. Matt is a Bach Trumpet, Aston Microphones, and Patrick Mouthpiece performing artist. He has two new upcoming albums – Lowcountry (featuring the St. Helena Island Singers), and Dolly (a reimagining of early Dolly Parton music).


Jeremy Polley has over 20 years of experience in the music industry. He has nearly 10 years’ experience in musical instrument retail, working clients and vendors such as Peavey, Fender, and ESP. Prior to moving to South Carolina, Mr. Polley ran a successful teaching studio in Decatur, Illinois, growing enrollment to over 50 students. He was able to utilize his teaching experience and relationships with local educators and administrators to build partnerships with area middle and high schools, establishing after school guitar programs. He is a co-founder of the Summer Guitar Camps at Millikin University, which were the spiritual predecessors to the very successful Rock Band U programs currently in place. Mr. Polley earned his bachelor’s degree in commercial music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois before arriving at the University of South Carolina. While attending UofSC, Mr. Polley earned a master’s in music in music history and performance – guitar.

There are many definitions and applications for public art and art in public places/spaces. Participants will learn about the fundamentals of public art. The session is designed to engage professional artists by sharing information and conducting a hands-on process for applying for and understanding public art opportunities.

  • 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Virtual format
  • $10 registration fee (see exceptions above)
Workshop Outline
  • Definitions of Public Art
  • Selection Processes
  • Managing Expectations
  • Contracts & Deliverables


Constance Y. White is an artist, consultant, and public art management professional from Dallas who works to activate public spaces and to provoke social change. She is a graduate of the Meadows School of Art at Southern Methodist University.

For over two decades, White has worked with both public and private organizations in Texas, the District of Columbia, Southern California, Alabama, and the Carolinas. White was the first public art coordinator for the city of Dallas. She launched the first comprehensive arts program at San Diego International Airport.

White has served as an advisor, presenter and panelist for numerous organizations including: the American Association of Airport Executives, the Americans for the Arts, the Public Art Coalition of Southern California, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, PechaKucha, the cities of Austin and Dallas, and One Columbia (South Carolina). She most recently joined the Arts + Health committee of the Dallas Business Council for the Arts and serves on the board of Inspire Art Dallas.

Currently, she is a partner consultant on other design teams and arts management firms. She is the founder and lead creative of her own consultancy, SLDcreative.

This course is designed to cover LLC basics, pricing and how to determine your ideal client. This workshop will cover some of the following topics dealing with multimedia businesses as it relates specifically photography, videography, and creative writing. Other areas of focus include pricing your service, multiple streams of income, identifying customers, Geographic area, attracting and retaining clients.

  • 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Virtual format
  • $10 registration fee (see exceptions above)
Workshop Outline
  • What you need to call yourself a business
    • Corporate structure and why you need it.
    • Insurance
    • Bank accounts
    • Credit accounts
  • Pricing your service or product
    • All money isn’t good money
    • People die from exposure
    • Multiple streams of income
  • Determining your ideal customer
    • Geographical area
    • Businesses or Consumers … or both?
    • How to attract the clients you want


Dr. Thaddeus W Jones Jr. is a writer, director, instructor and storyteller. Between 2011-2013 he earned a master’s in entertainment business and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Full Sail University. He earned his doctorate in business from Northcentral University in 2020.

Thaddeus is the director of programming for the Nickelodeon Theater in Columbia. His focus is on filmmaking and the business of multimedia. He began his career editing self-published books and converting other authors’ self-published works into screenplays. He owns a production company, Fanatik Productions, LLC., where he has produced several award-winning short films.

The organizations he works with include: 1 Million Cups, SC Inventor Forum, and the Hampton Arts Council, where he recently created a summer camp to help middle and high school age children embrace storytelling in rural communities.

Workshop information is being confirmed. Check back again soon!

Workshop information is being confirmed. Check back again soon!