Frequently Asked Questions about Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training

Are you interested in the Arts & Business Council’s Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training? Perhaps you have a few questions about the program and what it entails? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post explains what the program is, who it’s for, how to apply, and what to expect if you’re accepted.

What is Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training?

Periscope is an intensive business development curriculum, training, and networking opportunity that empowers working artists to see their vision through an entrepreneurial lens. It’s designed to be a transformative experience for each artist, equipping them with the strategies, tools, and perspectives needed to jumpstart their creative business or artistic practice.

How long is the training?

Periscope consists of eight weeks of in-class training followed by six months of one-on-one mentorship with a high-caliber business professional. The program culminates at the Periscope Pitch + Artist Entrepreneur Showcase where all participants showcase their creative businesses and select artists pitch* live on stage for the chance to win cash prizes, attract investment, and reach customers.

*Pitching is optional and requires an additional commitment of time over the summer.

What are the program dates?

The training begins on March 25 with a kick-off event from 5–7 p.m. at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Half-day classroom sessions follow each week through May 14. Participants meet their mentors on the last day in the classroom and commit to meet for a minimum of one hour per month for six months. Those participants who choose to compete in the Periscope Pitch must attend two preliminary rounds over the summer. The Periscope Pitch + Artist Entrepreneur Showcase is planned for Sept. 2, 2020.

What is a day in the classroom like?

A typical session begins at 9 a.m. with in-class training led by a Nashville Entrepreneur Center advisor followed by small group work facilitated by local artists & arts leaders. The curriculum is cumulative, with each class building upon the lessons from prior weeks. Participants complete weekly homework assignments between sessions that help them contextualize and implement the concepts learned within the development of their individual creative business. The classroom session ends with a one-hour “lunch and learn” on a practical skill related to running a creative business.

Credit: Jennifer Deafenbaugh

Who can apply for Periscope?

Working artists of any discipline, who are residents of Tennessee and not enrolled in a degree-granting program, are eligible to apply.

When are nominations due? When are applications due?

Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 7 at Noon. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 13 at Noon. Note: Artists do not have to be nominated to apply.

How many artists apply each year? How many are accepted?

Each year is different, but we expect 125-150 artists to be nominated and/or apply for Periscope in 2020. The 2020 cohort is limited to 25 participants.

How many classes can I miss?

In order to ensure the best quality program, to build a collaborative and supportive network, and to be fair to people who weren’t offered a spot, we ask that Periscope participants attend all sessions during the eight weeks of training. Participants missing more than two sessions will not be able to graduate from the program. If you anticipate that you will need to miss a session, please indicate so in your application.

How do I apply?

Applying for Periscope is a two-step process. First, complete and submit the online application. Once submitted, email your resume/CV and work samples to us in accordance with the requirements listed in the online application. All application materials are due no later than noon on Thursday, February 13. Applications received after the due date may not be considered.

How are artists selected?

Applications are reviewed by discipline-specific committees comprised of local arts leaders, curators, artists, program partners, and alumni. Panelists evaluate application materials in several areas, including but not exclusively, as follows:

  • Is the artist’s work product of high quality? 
  • Does the artist offer a unique or compelling creative vision? 
  • Does the applicant demonstrate the level of motivation necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur? 
  • Does the artist’s creative practice/creative business fill a need in the community of which they are a part? 
  • Does the artist and/or their work represent a diverse perspective, discipline, or group?

Panelists also consider their overall impression of the application when scoring. After the scores are submitted, participants are selected and notified. Once all spots are filled, those not accepted are notified. Some applicants may be put on a waiting list, and if an artist declines before the first session, an artist from the waitlist may be invited to join the cohort.

Can I see an example of a successful past application?

We do not share participant applications publicly, so we are unable to share examples from previous years. There really is no “winning formula” for a successful application. The best approach is to answer the application questions as honestly and completely as possible in order, showcase your creative vision to the best of your ability, and to be sure that your application is complete before the deadline.

Can I apply again if I wasn’t previously accepted?

Yes, and we encourage you to apply again. While we wish every artist who applies could participate in Periscope, we only have a limited number of spots each year. Periscope is a competitive program, so it’s not unusual to have to apply more than once or twice to get in. This could be your year!

What if I have more questions?

If you have additional questions, we encourage you to reach out. Contact us at with inquiries or to schedule a call with a staff member.