PROJECT #BEYOUROWN WOMAN: LILY ACKERMAN
Ackerman Studios is an art consultancy working closely with artists and galleries, connecting them to hotels, restaurants, and private spaces. Art is transformative in its power to change spaces, we’re looking to transform the way people interact with art and to make the spectacular part of the everyday.
Lily’s Les shares her story
I founded Ackerman Studios with no formal training in the arts but with a passion for creativity and people. Inspired by my unconventional upbringing and motivated by some incredible artists I created the consultancy in 2015.
Ackerman Studios is an art consultancy. We work on varied projects with a focus on hospitality spaces. We help people and places embrace creativity and use art to enhance their spaces and stories.
I’ve always been very influenced by my environment. Where I am and what I see changes how I feel and I knew this must be the same for others. I am attracted to the emotional power of art, the storytelling, but also the people element of the business. What drives me is working with artists to help them achieve their potential. Linking spaces and artists in a way in which they both benefit. To create a creative story and a meaningful relationship between the two.
The balance between the business side and the creative side is one that I love. One day I am pitching for business, the next I am in an artist’s studio surrounded by creativity and ideas! My goal is to work on bigger and more adventurous projects – to grow Ackerman Studios into a consultancy which can run multiple large scale projects simultaneously whilst also maintaining strong relationships with artists and supporting women in the arts.
A big learning for me was trusting myself and allowing myself to make mistakes. Being vulnerable. Ackerman Studios came out of a turbulent time in my life – it was created at the same time as the death of my dad.
On the one hand, his illness spurred me forwards, you only have one life, take some risks! On the other, I constantly imagined what he would do, how he would react and it held me back. I was paralysed with the fear of getting it wrong. While our businesses are not the same, I drew on the artistic consultancy side of his work. The contacts and people I turned to for advice were all linked. It has taken me until now to trust my instincts and to get the people I want around me. I love the history of my business and the link I have to his achievements but I’ve learnt that whilst it’s important to place value on the past the real focus should always be the future. To do this you need to find your own voice and your own values and that takes time.
I like to celebrate little things. It could be scheduling the first meeting after months of emailing or making a connection at an event I didn’t want to go too. I try and focus on the smaller wins with a bigger longterm goal in mind.
I’m working on a project at the moment that I’m really excited about. It’s a large scale commission consisting of two pieces of art for a new restaurant, Barbie Green by the Daisy Green Collection. This one feels special because the artist and client are both wonderful and their vision for the space is really aligned. The artist (she goes under the name Bonnie and Clyde) is one of the first artists I met who I felt really drawn too. I love her work and I love working with her. Daisy Green Collection is incredible too and very supportive of the arts. They really understand the power of art and the impact and story it creates in a hospitality space.
I want to see lots changed for women now and for future generations. These are five areas that need change, although this doesn’t take in inherent structural bias which needs addressing at every level. The five below are highlighted in the Alison Rose review on female entrepreneurship (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/784324/RoseReview_Digital_FINAL.PDF)
- A shortage of funding
- The psychological barriers and bias against women
- The fear of failure
- Lack of networks and mentors
- Juggling childcare and growing a business
As a female entrepreneur in the 21st century, I’m aware of the role my voice can have in changing the structural bias inherent in our society. The fact I have a voice and that I can use my position to champion other women in the arts and on a wider scale is an immense privilege.
I’m excited for the future of Ackerman Studios and for the future of female entrepreneurs. It’s going to take a lot of work but I know it’ll be worth it.
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