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Strategies For Black Artists

The Why And The How In Three Parts

In partnership with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)

Founder of Olu & Company

Course Description

1. Introduction

“Protecting the Black Narrative is about creating new archives that properly canonize our place in time… We must end the cycle of compromising our identities to participate in wealth production.”  –Amani Olu

More than ever, cultural venues are rushing to associate themselves with the work of Black artists. While taking a step in the right direction, these institutions—primarily led by white individuals—do not always have the patience, language, and lived experience to contextualize the work as intended. As a result, many Black artists find that the people representing them often misrepresent or silence their ideas to move a sale forward, placate leadership, or make the viewing experience comfortable for white audiences.  

In this first of three videos, Amani Olu, founder of the marketing agency Olu & Company, introduces the idea of a toolkit and the initial steps for Black artists to safeguard their stories, beginning with identifying core values.

This lesson consists of a 5-minute video followed by worksheets that should take at least an hour of contemplation.

2. Tell Me About Your Work

In the second of three videos, marketing guru Amani Olu positions your five core values as the foundation for a powerful narrative toolkit. He walks you through several pieces of writing you should complete, from biographical information to artist statements to lists of words that people should or should not use when discussing your work. While you cannot control what other people do or say, you can provide thoughtful context to guide interpretation and ensure you and your work are more accurately represented.

This lesson consists of an 8-minute video, followed by several hours of worksheets that should be done over the course of several days and revisited periodically.

3. Out Of Your Head, Into The World

At some point, those carefully crafted documents need to enter the world! Now that you’ve compiled the necessary ingredients for a communications toolkit that accurately and authentically represents you and your work, Amani Olu walks you through the practicalities of storage and usage as well as the big picture reasons for why you need to share it with potential collaborators and partners moving forward.

This lesson consists of a 4-minute video and hours of research opportunity.

Course Contents


Amani Olu
Founder of Olu & Company
Dubbed the “King of multi-tasking” by Anthony Haden-Guest in The Art Newspaper, Amani Olu is a serial entrepreneur with a strong background in exhibition making and art writing. He is the co-founder of Humble Arts Foundation, a 501c3 that began to support and promote new art photography in 2005. From 2008 to 2012, he curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary photography, and spearheaded the four-part series Young Curators, New Ideas. In 2011 he joined Nadine Johnson & Associates as an art publicist for clients such as the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Marlborough Chelsea, and the Dallas Art Fair. Eighteen months later, he was named managing editor of Whitewall, having previously contributed articles on artists William Eggleston, Zoe Crosher, Elad Lassry, and Rashaad Newsome. He left to establish Olu & Company, a marketing and business consultancy for individuals, businesses and organizations in the arts. Amani makes art under the name "Scott Avery,” and is currently developing IMG SRVR, a visual cloud storage service for creative industries.Image © James Adams


While Amani is directly addressing Black artists with advice gained from his lived experience, BIPOC creatives will likely find the videos helpful. White administrators are also encouraged to watch the course to evaluate and update language and editorial processes they currently use, to respectfully facilitate and accurately reflect the stories of the artists they serve.

Course material: The video scripts for this course were written by Amani Olu with feedback from Heather Bhandari and Dexter Wimberly. Thank you to Alexis Callender, Julia Clark, Rice Gallardo, Onaje Grant-Simmonds, Mei Kazama, Deborah Obalil, Jay Payton, and Ann Tarantino for their additional support.

This series is made possible, in part, with the financial support of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).