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Individual Consulting

 
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Personalized project support for artists and writers

"You are helping me see how much I need to change my thinking and framing around my production. It's really crazy realizing how negative and hard I am on myself... After our meeting, Stanford contacted me with an updated offer and asked me to sign..."

Hello! & thanks for finding me here…

So the story starts like this: In 2017, an artist friend asked if she could hire me to be a coach and consultant for her budding artist practice. She wanted advice on grant applications, how to best use social media, how to propose exhibitions, and tips for meeting other curators, artists, and gallerists. She wanted a new website, and she wanted to work on strengthening the language she was using around her newest body of work. She wanted help setting boundaries with her family, so they understood how important her studio time was. And she wanted to work with me on all of these things.

It was a request that I had gotten from so many artist friends in the past, all of them looking for coaching on the parts of the practice that seem so important, but are often so tedious, mysterious, or inexplicable.

And so I told her, sure. Let’s do this on a trial basis and see how it goes.

Two years later—almost entirely through word of mouth—I find myself working with a group of impressive artists and writers across the U.S. at various stages of their careers and moments in their lives. They want encouragement, an extra set of eyes, some gentle nudging, an editor, new organizational strategies that fit their ways of living, and career advice. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love this work, or how much need there would be for it.

What this looks like on the ground is, well, hard to describe. Every single person I work with has different needs, different learning styles, different voices, different languages.

Together, then, we strategize and plan, brainstorm and make space for deep breathing and careful re-thinking. We talk about boundaries and saying no, we describe dreams and find ways to make them lived realities, and we get into the weeds of writing, editing, organizing, project planning, and public speaking. As your consultant, I work as your confidential ally, someone who can help and listen as you think through art-making, writing, exhibition development, and finding funding. You don’t have to do this alone.

Who am I? An art historian by training (M.A. and Ph.D., UT-Austin, 2005, 2012), I have worked extensively with curators, gallerists, artists, and writers for more than 15 years. I bring a range of experiences with institutions, individuals, and anti-institutions of all scales to my consulting practice, understanding that every project and every person has unique expertise and needs. I’ve won local and national grants for my writing, and have worked closely with artists from many different communities around the world. And, in a strange career twist, I also worked for many years as a Certified Personal Trainer. I know, I know… what is a Doctor in Art History doing at the gym?

(Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes, even the schmanciest Art Historians need to work it out).

In the end, somehow this odd mix of experiences and interests combined into a skill set suited to a different kind of coaching work, working with artists and writers to help them nourish and strengthen their voices, supporting them through their processes.

My working philosophy is premised on the idea that sustained collaboration is the most effective method of creative production. This informs my curatorial work, my writing, and now, also, my consulting. I believe in building long-term relationships with artists and writers to develop projects in healthy, holistic, and innovative ways. This doesn’t mean the work is easy. But it means that together we strategize to develop language that tightens your concept, refines its execution, and gets it to realization.

That is to say: I do not believe the cultural myth that successful artists must always be miserable and alone.

(Unless they want to be, of course….).

So. What does our work together look like?

With a careful assessment of your creative and professional plans and regular reviews of progress, ideas, and methods of work, we build a calendar and system for organizing projects, determining goals, and completing your book, proposal, exhibition, or grant in a healthy way. We do it in your timeline, and I provide an hourly rate, so you can decide how much consulting is right for you and your budget. I recommend two meetings a month, but some people need much more or much less than that. Flexibility is part of the process.

Still with me?

Great! Thanks for being here, for reading, and for being open to this wild idea:

To think and laugh and brainstorm and rework and practice and write and develop new projects together is absolutely the best way to face this challenging and enigmatic and wonderful and mysterious world.

Reach out. Be in touch. I’m here.

~Laura


 
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We walk through the conceptual, emotional, and material processes of creation, together.

"Just wanted to express how wonderful it is to have you both as a collaborator and friend. I would never have imagined that October 2019 would exist as an idea-in-execution. Just sitting back amazed.”


2019 Consulting Rates

Preliminary 45-minute consult, $125
90-minute session, $220
Editing, $85/hour (two hour min.)
Web/social media review, $85/hour (two hour min.)
*Activist / grad student rates are discounted by 20%.
All consultations are scheduled via email: ella@lauraagosto.com.

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Let’s get together.

"As processes go, and especially creative ones, they are messy and non linear, and you are someone who is willing and wanting to go through this with your artists... I know that surrounding yourself by intense artists is hard - and I am one of those - but it also means we intensely love you and appreciate the hard work you put in to developing relationships with us as individuals and community."