Smith: RADInc is a needed space for local artists



Lindsay Chastain of Sauvaged Jewelry conducts a fitting with Emma Liebe Hart in preparation for the Flyover Fashion festival on Thursday May 4, 2017. Chastain's designs will be featured in the TRVE VVILL show Friday at 10pm at RAD in Iowa City.

Wylliam Smith, [email protected]

In a society of ever-changing memes, five-second fame, remakes, and quick fads, it can be hard to get noticed for original content. Especially when you are in the art industry, where networking and relationships can be more important that natural ability, skill, and talent.

That’s where the Retail Art Design Incubator, or RADInc comes into the picture. RADInc has opened in downtown where the college-apparel store called The Den used to be. Since opening, RADInc has hosted several events, including film screenings and concerts, but its main purpose is to provide venues for local artists, in the shape of a place for artists to work on projects and present and sell that work to the public.

The second floor of RADInc is a shared studio space that local artists can rent for $100 a month, which is relatively low compared to other studio spaces in Iowa City. The Iowa City Press Co-op, for example, costs $10 per four-hour session. If people wanted to use that space for a full month, they’d be looking at close to $300.

RADInc also provides artists a place to display and sell their work, which for many can be a huge launching point in their careers. I know this struggle to stay relevant in today’s society. As a writer, I came to Iowa City as an English major at a university that is well-known for its writing program, hoping to gain an advantage in the competition of writing careers.

Although I understand that a writer is not always considered a traditional artist, I am still personally invested in the founding of RADInc. As I stated previously, the key to being a successful artist seems to be as much about networking as it is about talent. Artists must know how to sell themselves and make the right connections in order to get noticed.

RADInc, along with many other places in Iowa City such as Public Space One and the Iowa City Press Co-op, offer opportunities to all kinds of artists. RADInc in particular provides a space for local fashion designers to sell their clothing on the first floor. On top of this, there is a space for screening films, places for sculptors to place their work, and a spot for graffiti art to be showcased. RADInc will surely also provide another venue for local musicians, as it has the space to host small concerts. RADInc is really just full of rad opportunities for all types of artists.

By using the opportunities it provides, artists can begin a process that has the potential to soon become their careers. This could be something especially useful for college students, as RADInc has made its space affordable for someone on a budget to use.

Many people look down on liberal arts and arts majors, saying those careers are pretty hit or miss. This is not completely untrue, given these careers can be hard to get off the ground. But those who know how to reach out, network, and promote themselves have a better chance of being successful.

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