I have known Katharine Carter for over ten years. She was recommended to me as someone who assisted artists in developing their careers. Having used Katharine’s advice successfully, I learned first hand how artists might benefit from working with her. My interview with her revealed an intriguing story about her path to becoming a consultant to artists.
Katharine was born and raised in Tampa, Florida in a family whose Florida history goes back five generations. Though there was no one person in her family who guided her path in the arts, she described her father as influential in that he was an“eccentric creative person, - a poet, and political activist who was a rebel by nature”. Katharine recalls that as a teenager, she had a natural interest in art, and created the artwork for her high school Pasco Pirates football team. She would also copy paintings by famous artists like Georgia O’Keefe and others she admired, as a way of teaching herself about drawing and painting. In college she went on to receive her BA in Painting and Photography at the University of Florida in Gainesville and then an MFA in Photography and Painting at the University of Florida in Tampa. While still an undergraduate, Katharine earned the distinction of being included in a group exhibition at the New Museum in New York City. During her training, two professors who were primarily painters, Nate Shiner and John O’Connor stand out as mentors who influenced her work. Carter described her work as abstract surrealism that eventually became more minimal over the years. During graduate school her work was exhibited at the Institute for Art and Urban Resources(PSI) in NYC, which was an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art. After a one semester stint teaching at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, Katharine moved to New York where she found adjunct teaching positions at Rutgers, Drew University and Middlesex Community College. She decided not to teach full time so that she could develop her studio practice.
Between her teaching positions, studio practice, and networking in NYC, Katharine was well on her way to cultivating a successful art career until one event changed everything. She was involved in a bad car wreck which left her with a serious neck injury and an inability to use her arms. The rehab for her injuries continued for three years. Friends and family tried to create ways of strapping brushes to her arms and other things that might aid in getting her painting again, but to no avail. The career she had been working to establish was at a standstill and Katharine who was sad and depressed needed to create a way forward. It was at that point that she came up with the idea of doing a lecture series for colleges and universities to connect art students and faculty with what was going on in NYC and in the art world which was difficult to navigate. Katharine used the cash settlement from her car accident to fund this project which became so successful it lasted for ten years. During the time she was doing the national lecture series, Katharine began receiving questions and requests for advice for artists as to how to get their work into galleries and be seen by the art community. Seeing the important need for helping artists, she left the lecture series behind and began doing one on one consultations.
Her lecture series helped Katharine develop a database of non profit exhibition opportunities and other
research information she accumulated. Her business, Katharine T. Carter and Associates, got off the ground in NYC but in the early 1990’s, she decided to move back to Florida to be near family and there her business tripled in size. From that point on, Katharine’s business developed organically. Years of working with artists directly, led to three day seminars in NYC where she began recruiting other experts including art critics and writers, curators, gallery directors, web designers, other successful artists, public relations and marketing professionals to educate artists at her seminars.
Katharine has been helping artists grow their careers for over 30 years, and in the process has booked a total of over 900 solo exhibitions for them. Though her art consulting services offer web design and other social media possibilities, the backbone of her approach is strictly old school – She recommends picking up the phone to follow up on mailed proposals, and insists on including a high quality color brochure in any marketing package, believing it necessary to place beautiful materials in the hands of decision-makers.
In 2010, Katharine Carter published her first book, Accelerating the Curves: The Artist’s Roadmap to Success. This book project was a labor of love that was ten years in the making – the goal of which was to be a comprehensive, complete artists’ bible for developing their art careers. The first edition is almost sold out and Katharine is currently working on new material for the second edition. Since I have read the book and used several of the suggestions, I believe it is a worthwhile publication for artists and a wonderful legacy for Katharine Carter.
**Katharine Carter will be on the west coast in the Claremont/Ontario California area for one on one consultations with artists on February 11, 12, 13, and then on February 25, 26, 27, and 28. She can be reached at: email@example.com or 518-758-8130 or www.ktcassoc.com