Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Stapleton.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I have long been passionate about art, racial justice, and LGBTQ+ liberation. When I graduated from college, I felt called to make the world a better place, so I spent more than twenty years working in advocacy communications and marketing. I worked largely in Washington, DC, to change public policy on various issues, from advancing workers’ rights to strengthening democracy to criminal justice reform. I got great at media and public relations, crafting marketing and communications plans, and branding.
But when the pandemic hit, I began to look at my life and what brought me joy. In addition to my wife and kids, art is what brings me joy–both creating it and helping other creatives advance their careers. So I launched Fire & Bliss Creative, a practice that connects artists to career-advancing artists, with a special emphasis on serving artists from all disciplines who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQ+.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have a strong background in marketing and communications, and I was wise enough to surround myself with a strong team and great advisors. So building the business has been great fun. And there are so many artists and creative folks with strong talents to share but no real sense of how to market their work or reach the audiences they want. So connecting them and helping them find success is a blast. However, we’ve learned some business lessons along the way. First, we started exclusively as an online art gallery. We quickly learned that we need to help artists build comprehensive brands and find different ways to get their work before audiences and not try and sell exclusively online.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Fire & Bliss Creative?
We are smart marketing professionals who specialize in connecting creatives to career-advancing opportunities. We work with musicians, visual artists, podcasters, documentary filmmakers, poets., etc., and especially serve artists who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, and who are LGBTQ+. Racial justice is at the heart of what we do. As a White woman, part of how I pay racial reparations is to offer a racial equity fee to artists of color. This is one of the ways I pay back the privilege I have because of the sweat, toil and labor of people of color in this country. We’ve helped some artists raise serious money to support their work. In the two years we’ve been in business, we’ve helped clients raise more than $100,000 and connected them to collectors, helped them win juried shows, sell concert tickets, secure residencies, and a host of other great opportunities. If you are a creative person who cares about racial justice and LGBTQ+ liberation, and there are so many amazing artists in Baltimore, we want to help promote and market your work! And, I wouldn’t be a great promoter if I didn’t mention some of our artists. Right now, we are representing the production company created by NBC’s Richard Lui (prisca.org), Nikki Brooks (www.nicoleibrooks.com), Liz Miller (LizMillerProductions.com), Jeffrey-Felten Green (idomythang.com), Drum Dr. Dot (www.drumetry.com), and the Gender Reveal Party Podcast (https://thegenderrevealparty.com) among others.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Covid was the wake-up call for me. It caused me to look at my life and say, “Do I like what I do? Is this really what I want to do with the rest of my life?” The time away from the daily commute gave me time to meditate, pray, read, cook, work out and ponder. And the answer for me was that no matter how high I had gotten in my communications career if my work didn’t involve creating art and being around creative people, I wasn’t going to feel successful. I was the senior communications executive at an international organization, but my soul longed for art. The Divine/The Universe then opened a way for me to make a great living doing all the things that light me up.
- Website: https://fireandbliss.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fire_and_bliss_creative/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FireAndBlissCreative/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/FireandBliss
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH2vjnQaLkivACFc0YhGzCg
- Other: https://fireandbliss.com/monthly-art-cards https://mailchi.mp/fireandbliss/consulting
Headshot of Jennifer Stapleton: credit Djenno Bacvic Photography