We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Silverio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nick, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As Penn alumni turned professional dancers, me and my co-founder have always been shocked by how challenging it is to pursue an arts career. The pain points are endless: job and income insecurity, disparate and low-tech tools, financial inaccessibility, limited support services, huge gaps in diversity, equity, and inclusion, gatekeepers of the top down structures that often define “success” – the list goes on. When COVID-19 shut down the arts and 94% of creatives lost their jobs, these struggles were only exasperated.

Our thought process behind starting Artswrk has always been to make artists’ lives better. After conducting market research and reflecting on our own experiences, we were transparently overwhelmed by the possibilities and unsure which solution would be the most valuable to artists. It is only recently that we have concluded that the #1 pain point is lack of security, which is why we have built a professional network and booking tool to hire Artswrkers. When artists have more consistent work, they have more consistent income, career satisfaction, and longevity in their field.

At Artswrk, our mission is for freelance artists to have the necessary digital tools to build sustainable livelihoods doing what they love. Our vision is for artistic industries to be innovative, resilient, equitable, and driven by a network of empowered artists. We are so excited for our business to grow and support as many creatives as possible.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Artswrk is a professional network for freelance artists. From dancers and singers to photographers and costume designers, our community of artists create their own custom and seamlessly integrated profiles, connect with each other to expand their circles, and share job opportunities, resources, and discussions.

Until now, there has literally been no one place to do everything that is required to be a working artist. We use Facebook and Instagram for just about everything, with costly personal websites and traditional casting sites to try and find work. Plus, in an industry where it’s all about “who you know,” referrals are more important than ever. Instead of informal texting or getting a Messenger request from a stranger, artists can now get booked on a legitimate platform and find more consistent work and income.

Building, in essence, a social network, is an extremely complex undertaking, and we’ve definitely struggled with determining which solution is the most valuable and how to deliver that in a product. The most helpful advice we get is always from our users: what do they want? What do they need? What is the most important thing to them? And how can we make something they already do significantly easier? These questions have been a guiding light when trying to understand how to build a scalable business to serve a demographic that has never experienced anything like this before.

We believe artists deserve SO much more than what has been normalized over the last few decades. We are well behind almost every other industry in income, benefits, innovation, resources – you name it, it’s probably a pain point for artists. It does not have to be this way, and Artswrk is here to finally provide artists the security and legitimacy they need and deserve.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
New York City is, in my opinion, the greatest city in the world, even when you’re drenched in sweat waiting for a subway train that will never come. The options are limitless, but my dream day in the city includes:

Coffee and breakfast at Electric Lemon in Hudson Yards
Shopping around Soho, probably getting an overpriced manicure
Lunch in the West Village, preferably outdoor seating (one of the few pros of COVID)
Afternoon [solidcore] class and a nap
A Broadway show, now that theater is finally back!
Drinks in Hell’s Kitchen and a 2am quesadilla from your local deli

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Behind every dancer is a dance teacher, and Lauren Mangano from Elite Academy of Dance in Shrewsbury, MA, truly changed my life with her mentorship. More than teaching me how to dance, she taught me discipline, professionalism, and how to know my own worth. As performers, we often get asked to work for free or for way less than we deserve, and we are thrown into situations that require a really specific skillset to do your job properly. At the end of the day, it does not matter how talented you are if no one wants to work with you, and Lauren instilled in me the understanding that being a good person and a good co-worker is as, if not more, important than being a good dancer.

Website: www.artswrk.com/NickSilverio

Instagram: @nicksilverioo

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicksilverio

Other: TikTok: @nicksilverioo

Image Credits
Christian Hopkins Raashi Desai Photography BNJ Portraits Miguel Aviles Photography

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