Growing Creative Careers blog series – Gulnaz Turdalieva

Growing Creative Careers: Windsor & Region blog series - an interview with Gulnaz Turdalieva, cohort 3 and 4.

This blog is part of the Growing Creative Careers in Windsor & Region blog series. WorkInCulture worked closely with the Windsor-Essex Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre and Arts Council Windsor & Region to develop and deliver Growing Creative Careers, a professional development training series for artists and arts workers/arts administrators in the Windsor-Essex region.

Gulnaz Turdalieva, a Windsor Essex visual artist, finds inspiration in diverse mediums, creating artworks that produce a contemplative or meditative response in the viewer. She has exhibited at various venues in Windsor Essex, including Artspeak Gallery (solo and group exhibitions), SB Contemporary Gallery (group exhibitions), Gibson Gallery (group exhibitions), and Mackenzie Hall (group exhibitions). Turdalieva is also the founder and creative director of Art Create Learn magazine. Motivated by her own artistic journey, Gulnaz embarked on a new venture in Spring 2022 with the launch of Art Create Learn magazine. This project aims to spotlight the talents of Windsor Essex artists by featuring their recent work, sharing their work habits, and capturing the experiences that shape their creative processes. Through this platform, Gulnaz seeks to promote local arts, foster artist growth, and create a space where artists and art enthusiasts can connect and collaborate.

Gulnaz Turdalieva is a participant from the third and the fourth cohort of our Growing Creative Careers: Windsor and Region program.

The third Growing Creative Careers cohort was focused on how to build creative projects and programs, from idea to execution, for artists and arts professionals. The training series covered how to create a project plan, structure roles and responsibilities, build a contact network, create a budget and understand funding sources and grant applications.

The fourth Growing Creative Careers cohort focused on a series of topics essential for any artist or creative professional looking to build their capacity, and to create or refine an interdisciplinary strategy to support their career. These core topics were marketing, project management, data collection and analysis, and creative entrepreneurship.

Growing Creative Careers – Cohort 3 and 4 reflection

by Gulnaz Turdalieva

The final cohort provided a deep dive into four major topics, which were marketing, project planning, data analysis and business skills. After taking this program, how important do you think it is for an artist/arts worker to have all these skills? Why?

Being an artist, I’ve realized how crucial skills like marketing, planning, data analysis, and business knowledge are for successful art projects. These abilities form the foundation for both running a creative business and bringing art projects to completion. Marketing introduces more people to my work, while planning keeps my ideas organized. Examining data reveals preferences, helping in my choices. Business skills are crucial for managing finances, contracts, grants, and sustaining my art practice. I’m still learning a lot in this area. Mastering these aspects isn’t just about improving my art; it’s also about excelling as a professional artist.

The workshops I attended not only shed light on what I was missing in my project planning, but also emphasized the importance of networking and active participation in the art community and collaborations. Now, equipped with this learning resources, I feel more prepared to navigate the art world successfully.

What were some of the benefits of being a part of two cohorts? Could you please elaborate on the different learnings and takeaways?

Being part of two cohorts has brought numerous benefits that have helped my artistic growth. Cohort 3’s training was invaluable, teaching me how to generate project ideas. The introduction to tools like Gantt charts proved especially helpful. Networking with creatives beyond the visual arts sphere was interesting. However, Cohort 4 stood out to me, resonating more due to its high practicality (I really appreciated the depth of resources packed into each workshop).  The workshop format and real-life examples, like reviewing participants’ websites with Nadja’s feedback, were particularly useful.

Across four focused workshops—covering marketing, project planning, data analysis, and business skills—I learned a lot and was provided with priceless insights. I’ve realized the significance of effective self-promotion and connecting with my audience.

Firstly, I’ve grasped the importance of defining my artistic offerings and identifying my target audience. Secondly, project planning has set me to streamline and complete creative projects. Thirdly, how to use data analysis for finding my audience preferences, guiding smarter marketing strategies. Lastly, mastering business skills clarified the financial management, how to collaborate, to approach contracts, forming the basis for a sustainable art career.

These workshops equip artists with an essential toolkit vital for navigating creative paths and achieving professional success. Every aspect I’ve learned from these experiences has inspired me and gave me steps to take for thriving artistically and professionally.

I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the cohort team. Your presentations and overall organization have truly impressed me. Stephanie, your presentation skills are inspiring; observing you, Nadja, and Naomi present and efficiently manage workshop materials was a lesson in itself. Your expertise and support have been invaluable. This has been a practical learning opportunity for me, showcasing how to conduct presentations, prepare materials, and handle workshops. Thank you for being exceptional role models and for your guidance.

What is one major takeaway or piece of advice from the program (and/or your experience) that you’d like to share with others who are trying to advance their artistic careers/creative careers/creative projects?

An essential lesson I’ve gained from these immersive workshops is the importance of adaptability. It’s crucial to make careful decisions, prioritize effectively, and remain flexible during project work. Embrace changes in your plans and approach challenges with an open perspective. Striking a balance between work and personal life is vital. Keep in mind that the creative journey often holds more significance than the final outcome. Continuously evaluate each stage and adhere to your plan while staying receptive to adjustments.

In the ever-evolving landscape of artistic and creative careers, adaptability is paramount. Embrace innovative marketing approaches, tweak project plans as needed, and refine your strategy with data-driven insights. This flexibility helps an artist to progress, nurturing creative growth and artistic development. One invaluable advice I received for my art project was about scalability. It’s crucial to prioritize what truly matters for your career, as it’s not always possible to do everything. For instance, in my art magazine, inadequate initial planning led to later overwhelm. This guidance taught me to adapt, scale back when necessary, proceed step by step, and always be open to rethinking and restructuring.

What are some of the needs you see when it comes to improving career development for artists, creative professionals, and/or arts and culture organizations in the Windsor-Essex Region?

Being part of the vibrant art and cultural community in Windsor-Essex, I’ve noticed some needs that could enhance career development for artists, creative professionals, and arts organizations. A stronger collaboration among various art and cultural groups, along with more networking events, would be fantastic. Additionally, there’s a definite need for more career development workshops tailored for creatives, as well as sharing resources among different organizations.

Elevating career growth for artists, creatives, and arts groups in Windsor-Essex involves strategic improvements. Firstly, offering workshops covering marketing, project planning, data analysis, and business management equips individuals with essential skills for success. Secondly, organizing networking events and mentorship programs would foster connections and collaborations. More networking opportunities encourage artists to unite and present their creations collectively.

Conducting career development workshops could provide organizations with shared resources and ease access to funding for art spaces and community projects. Tailored financial literacy training is vital for effective money management. Exploring partnerships between artists and businesses can benefit both parties while enriching the community. By implementing these steps, the artistic community in Windsor-Essex can thrive and contribute significantly.

What are you looking forward to next (professionally)?

Looking ahead in my career journey, I’m thrilled about two main goals. With the insights I’ve gained from the cohort workshops, I’m determined to reshape my creative paths and make them lasting. First, I’ll focus on refining my identity as a visual artist and building up my body of work. The second goal is to maintain momentum with magazine publishing and explore ways to connect and benefit both avenues.

As I shift my focus towards planning and adaptability, I’ll put more emphasis on my art. This means enhancing my magazine project and discovering more efficient ways to create art. With the new business skills I’ll acquire, I’m confident I can keep my creative projects strong.

Guided by the four topics I’ve learned about in the cohort—establishing my artistic identity, defining my creative offerings, and identifying my audience—I’m genuinely excited to begin down this path. Simultaneously, I’m looking forward to sharing my newfound knowledge with fellow artists through my Art Create Learn project. I hope this online platform will foster connections and shared learning. I’ll also be dedicated to improving my personal website to showcase my artwork. These pursuits, along with my fresh business skills, will foster personal growth and enrich the artistic community I’m a part of. These are the goals that hold deep meaning for me, all about evolving and creating a positive impact.

Our partners, the Arts Council Windsor & Region and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, were present to provide an overview of their resources during the fourth cohort. How has finding out about their services helped you with your artistic process?

Having the Arts Council Windsor & Region and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre with us during the program was truly valuable. I was already familiar with the Arts Council’s comprehensive offerings, which include grant support, networking opportunities, and exhibition space. Their grant consultations and insightful advice from the staff have proven really helpful. Additionally, I received extra support from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, which provided me with more resources for financial management.

Knowing that their support is ongoing and that I can always reach out to them is reassuring. I’m excited about using their resources to fine-tune my marketing strategies, enhance project planning, and connect better with my audience. This is a promising step forward in my artistic journey, made possible by these valuable partnerships.

You can reach Gulnaz through the following channels:
Email: [email protected]
Art Create Learn Magazine:

If you are an artist or creative professional looking to build your capacity or refine an interdisciplinary strategy to support your career, you can find the following downloadable templates provided to participants of the program below:

  • Project Timeline & budget chart
  • Variable Income Planning
  • Project Management for creatives and art professionals
  • Data Collection & Analysis

To download these templates and learn more about the Growing Creative Careers: Windsor & Region program, please visit