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Southwest Airlines Community

Community Stories: Periscope


THIS IS A GUEST POST WRITTEN BY LILY CLAYTON HANSEN, AUTHOR WORD OF MOUTH: NASHVILLE CONVERSATIONS AND ALUMNI OF THE ARTS & BUSINESS COUNCIL OF GREATER NASHVILLE’S PERISCOPE ARTIST ENTREPRENEUR TRAINING PROGRAM SPONSORED BY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES Pleasure to meet you. My name is Lily Clayton Hansen  and I am a writer, interviewer and curious creature located in Nashville, Tennessee. While I am a diehard, native Chicagoan, I have made Music City my home for the last three years. Since trotting down from the Windy City, this cultural epicenter has absolutely stolen my heart and embraced my passion for the art of conversation.  I’m writing to share a bit about my journey so far and my recent experience in the Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training program that was developed by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville in partnership with Metro Arts Commission, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and Southwest Airlines, a key supporter since its inception. In the world of journalism, as a mentor once told me, you either move to New York City to claw your way to the top or establish yourself in a smaller market. I chose the latter prior in 2012 when this little-big town was still flying under the radar. Upon first sight, I realized that the rock ‘n’ roll vibe perfectly matched my personality. I was charmed by the friendliness and support of the arts community. My desires and reality coalesced when my boyfriend, at the time, was offered a job that afforded us an excuse to relocate. In three weeks time, we took a total leap of faith, packed our bags and opened ourselves up to a new journey. Ever since, I have dug in my heels and documented this burgeoning culture. Straight away I began collecting interviews and black and white portraits of local movers-and-shakers for what has since been coined “the coffee table book of the year” by locals. Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations dives into how a smorgasbord of creatives have made a living by monetizing their talents. A year into the project, I applied for Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training, a program of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. Southwest Airlines generously sponsors Periscope by donating plane tickets and vouchers to help connect artists in the program with opportunities across the country. It is a testament to their commitment to investing in thriving creative communities. When I applied for Periscope, I had recently faced a major challenge—While I had a hundreds of beautiful images and interview text, there was no publisher. I also didn’t have the ability to pinpoint where my book stood in a hyper competitive marketplace. While I was an excellent saleswoman I had zero business savvy. If I wanted to distribute my passion project then I needed guidance in a different arena. This program changed the way I looked at my art and abilities. It allowed me to see myself as a brand and my book a business.  As artists we often focus so much on the craft, that it’s easy to neglect basic business guidelines like creating set prices and contracts to protect our work.  After a lifetime of working when I felt “inspired,” the idea of strategizing a game plan was revelatory. For the first time, through Periscope, I had mentors who cared about the wellbeing of my finances. After a lifetime of “winging it” I was challenged to create long-term career goals. I was finally on a track that instilled an incredible amount of confidence and respect within myself. I will forever be grateful to Periscope and Southwest Airlines for shining a light on the skills that needed sharpening and proving that even the most right-brained individual can maintain their checks and balances. It’s been an invaluable funnel for someone like myself whose brain is constantly churning out ideas. The program filtered and fine-tuned my visions into concrete action plans. By leaning more heavily on the pragmatic part of my mind, I also became clearer on what it is that I would like to contribute to the creative world. Whether it is bringing the Word of Mouth brand to other cities or writing a children’s book, I want to tie my talents to endeavors that move others and myself. Ideally, it will be something unique to this planet. Whatever sticks, I can promise you’ll be the first to know. Thank you to Southwest Airlines for partnering with the Arts & Business Council and other nonprofits to offer programs such as Periscope that redefined the way that I see the world. Creatives such as myself are indescribably appreciative of the opportunity you’ve given us to learn about the business world. Your altruistic investment in Nashville’s artistic community is one of the reasons that I look to your brand for inspiration.