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STLCC-Florissant Valley Professor Helps Connect Arts and Entrepreneurship

Neko Pilarcik-Tellez teaches graphic communications at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, and is preparing to present all the hard work of her involvement in a program coordinated by the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) that helps partner artists with entrepreneurs.

The RAC offers a program that provides six selected artists an opportunity to partners with local start-ups and entrepreneurs at the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET) and the Cortex Innovation Community. Each artist has plans to start or grow an art-related business in the St. Louis area.

For Pilarcik-Tellez, it’s a chance to meet with people who can help her have a better understanding of the business aspect of art.

“I was extremely honored to be chosen to participate in this program,” said Pilarcik-Tellez. “Being selected was very validating and it gave me encouragement to continue to work toward my professional goal of continuing to grow as an artist.”

The goal of the program is to provide professional development experiences to help artists start and grow their businesses through mentorship. Working at the CET, which is mainly populated by science and technology start-ups, gives unique access to a community of entrepreneurs with whom the participating artists might not otherwise interact.

“For the past nine years, I’ve had a business doing animation and illustrations for clients in the entertainment industry; however, that has always been working on other people’s projects. This has given me the opportunity to finally work on something all my own,” she said. “My project is the development of a new kind of animated series designed specifically for online viewing. I can’t get into too many specifics at this stage, but working on it has been very exciting and rewarding.

“This experience has given me the opportunity to further grow my own business in animation and illustration. It’s given me the resources and motivation to take the leap and produce something of my own,” Pilarcik-Tellez added. “My team and I are in the process of animating the pilot episode of the series.”

The pilot will premiere at the ARTrepreneurs: Designing Bridges for Creative Innovation.

In addition to learning and growing as an artist, Pilarcik-Tellez is sharing her experiences with her students.

The program has given Pilarcik-Tellez a chance to connect with John Launius, vice president of Vidzu Media, a St. Louis video production company. Through the connection, Pilarcik-Teller and her students visited the company to see first-hand the process of producing video and animation work. They met with Vidzu’s animators and producers, and observed a commercial shoot.

Pilarcik-Tellez knew going into this project that creating an animated series would take more than just herself. She selected a diverse group of very talented recent graduates who are working as apprentices to help with the art and animation on the series.

Her work, along with the other artists in the program, was showcased to the public at an event called “The ARTrepreneurs: Designing Bridges for Creative Innovation” on Jan. 12 at the Cortex Innovation Community.