Melissa Richardson Banks: The Consultant Championing the Democratization of Art
The democratization of art does not mean dumbing it down. It means increasing access for artists and audiences alike, an objective that today’s podcast guest, Melissa Richardson Banks, is super passionate about.
Melissa is an arts marketing specialist, podcast host, photographer, and the founder of CauseConnect, an art consulting firm that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of “doing business by doing good.” She specializes in creating strategic marketing partnerships and is known for designing innovative, cost-effective solutions that produce results, from raising funds to raising awareness. Known as Downtown Muse for her photography of the Los Angeles and Houston art districts, Melissa is also an independent cultural producer. She plans, creates, funds, and executes events and projects, from museum exhibits, community festivals, and virtual and in-person speaker series to classical music concerts, influencer dinners, and salons. To date, Melissa has produced, marketed, managed, or funded over 100 museum exhibitions and managed several national tours of traveling exhibitions and art shows.
In today’s episode, Melissa shares her observations on the legitimacy of so-called “real art” and offers some insight into her creative journey, from middle school artist to arts marketing specialist. We also touch on the dissolving divide between fine and commercial art, why what you call yourself as an artist matters, and the story behind her creative partnership with longtime comedian and art collector Cheech Marin. Tune in to the episode to find out how Melissa elevates and supports artists—then learn how you can do the same.
Listen to NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power’s chat with Melissa here, or catch the interview in the player above.
“Buy [art that] makes you happy and support artists in any way that you possibly can. That is the message that I would love to leave with folks.” —Melissa Richardson Banks
All photos published with permission of the artist(s). Featured photo credit: Eric Richardson; “We Hustle Harder” print by Raul Rene Gonzalez.